Vice President (VP) of Marketing
5 min read
What Are the Responsibilities of a VP of Marketing?
The VP of Marketing is a senior manager who offers guidance for the whole marketing team. In some cases, the VP of Marketing works with a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), who represents the Marketing department at the C-suite level. In contrast with the CMO, the VP of Marketing will often oversee the actual day-to-day execution of the big-picture marketing strategy.
In other cases—most commonly at startups—the VP of Marketing may be in charge of the entire Marketing department themselves and report directly to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company.
But regardless of where a VP of Marketing sits in the organizational structure of the company, their responsibilities will generally be similar. These responsibilities may include:
- Developing branding and marketing strategies
- Conducting or managing market research to gather customer insights
- Working with the Product department to manage a go-to-market strategy and answer ongoing customer needs
- Helping set prices for new products
- Leading project status meetings
- Interviewing candidates for positions in the Marketing department
- Analyzing marketing drives to optimize future campaigns
- Creating, tracking, and reviewing marketing budgets
- Monitoring the branding and marketing efforts of any competitors
- Working with the Sales department to ensure that the strategies of the two departments are aligned
- Preparing marketing reports for the CMO, CEO, or other executive officers
What Skills Does a VP of Marketing Need?
The skillset a VP of Marketing requires will depend somewhat on how their company is structured. But once again, there will usually be some similarity in the skills and qualities needed to perform their duties.
Most of the time, the VP of Marketing will be held responsible for the success or failure of various marketing initiatives. This can make it a stressful role. It isn’t a job for the timid or shy. VPs of Marketing must be determined to keep going no matter how much weight they feel on their shoulders.
Interpersonal & Management Skills
Most VPs of Marketing have to be ready to leverage every resource at their disposal to meet the company’s objectives. This involves plenty of collaboration with colleagues at all levels, from top-level executives down to assistant copywriters.
Marketing standards and consumer preferences can change rapidly. A VP of Marketing must be able to adapt to these changes without interrupting the growth of the business. That means continually optimizing marketing strategies to stay in front of new trends.
All branding and marketing success rests on the ability to put yourself in the shoes of the target audience. A VP of Marketing will need to be able to understand the needs and preferences of the company’s prospects in order to convert them into paying customers.
While effective marketing requires creative input, it still has to operate within the bounds of business. VPs of Marketing need a solid grasp of business principles to make their strategies mesh with the overall goals of the company. In the business world, return-on-investment will always be more important than artistic inspiration.
A VP of Marketing needs to be the brand champion at a company. It’s their job to see the full potential of the product and communicate what makes the product so great. This will shape how they approach every marketing strategy.
VPs of Marketing don’t need to be data scientists, but they do need to know enough about tech to use marketing analytics to create reports and strategic plans.
At the end of the day, the VP of Marketing is there to drive sales. Full stop. All of their efforts will need to revolve around generating revenue for the company, increasing profit margins, and supporting long-term growth.
What Education Does a VP of Marketing Need?
Companies hoping to hire a VP of Marketing will typically look for candidates that have at least a bachelor’s degree in marketing or a related discipline. However, most will prioritize applicants that have a master’s degree. This might mean a Master of Science in Marketing or an MBA.
If you’re considering pursuing a career as a VP of Marketing, you might consider a combined degree, such as the MBA in Marketing Management degree offered by the University of Chicago.
What Is the Career Path of a VP of Marketing?
The first step to becoming a VP of Marketing is getting a master’s degree. This will greatly increase your chances of securing a job.
After this, you’ll need to spend some time accruing relevant experience. Most companies won’t even consider you for a VP of Marketing role until you have 10 or more years of marketing experience—with at least five of those years spent in a management position.
Many VPs of Marketing start out in:
- Content marketing
- Graphic design
- Digital marketing
- Product management
…before moving on to a Generalist Marketing Associate or Marketing Specialist role. Then, they tend to advance to management positions, such as Domestic Marketing Manager. (For a better understanding of how these job titles work, check out this guide.)
In other words, by the time you’re ready to become a VP of Marketing, you’ll have a proven record of success in the marketing world.
If you think you’d make a great VP of Marketing, one of the best ways to plan your career journey is by using a public organizational chart. This will help you see where you stand and how you could progress toward your long-term goals.