Career Spotlight: Advertising and Promotions Manager

Advertising and promotions managers boost a company’s offerings and ultimately sales.

A company may have great programs and products, but what good does that do if no one knows about them? Getting the word out is a full-time job that falls to professionals called advertising and promotions managers.

Several jobs fall within the realm of advertising and promotions. They have different titles and slightly different emphases, but all have the same ultimate goal: to boost awareness of a company’s offerings and ultimately sales. Titles include:

Advertising manager. These professionals create interest among potential buyers of a product or service for a department, for an entire organization, or on a project or account basis. They work with sales staff and others to generate ideas for an advertising campaign. They oversee the staff that develops the advertising. They work with the finance department to prepare a budget and cost estimates for the advertising campaign. Often, advertising managers serve as liaisons between a client and an outside agency that develops and places the ads. In larger organizations with an extensive advertising department, different advertising managers may oversee in-house accounts and creative and media services departments.

Promotions manager. Promotions managers direct programs that combine advertising with purchasing incentives to increase sales. The programs may use direct mail, inserts in newspapers, internet advertisements, in-store displays, product endorsements, or special events to target customers. Purchasing incentives may include discounts, samples, gifts, rebates, coupons, sweepstakes, or contests.

Marketing manager. Marketing managers estimate the demand for products and services that an organization and its competitors offer. They identify potential markets for the organization’s products. For example, a marketing manager may monitor trends that indicate the need for a new product or service, then oversee the development of that product or service. They also develop pricing strategies to help organizations maximize their profits and market share while ensuring that the organizations' customers are satisfied. They work with sales, public relations, and product development staff.

A great deal of crossover exists between these 3 areas. The skills needed and the job duties are very similar. Professionals can prepare for any one of these rewarding careers with the appropriate course of study, which is available through programs such as Washington State University’s Online Master of Business Administration. Offering a top-quality Online MBA course curriculum that opens the door to many MBA career paths and opportunities, WSU’s Online MBA degree program offers a solid foundation for success.

Job Duties

On its site, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) summarizes advertising and promotions managers’ job descriptions. According to the BLS, advertising, promotions, and marketing managers have these duties in common:

  • Work with department heads or staff to discuss topics such as budgets and contracts, marketing plans, and the selection of advertising media
  • Plan promotional campaigns such as contests, coupons, or giveaways
  • Plan advertising campaigns, including which media to advertise in, such as radio, television, print, online media, and billboards
  • Negotiate advertising contracts
  • Evaluate the look and feel of websites used in campaigns or layouts, which are sketches or plans for an advertisement
  • Initiate market research studies and analyze their findings to understand customer and market opportunities for businesses
  • Develop pricing strategies for products or services marketed to the target customers
  • Meet with clients to provide marketing or related advice
  • Direct the hiring of advertising, promotions, and marketing staff and oversee their daily activities

To accomplish these tasks, advertising managers commonly work with art directors, advertising sales agents, and financial staff members. Also, because the work of advertising, promotions, and marketing managers directly affects a firm’s revenue, people in these occupations typically work closely with top executives.

The Right Personality

Although having the right skill set is crucial for an advertising and promotions manager, having the right personality goes a long way toward ensuring success in this position.

“As a promotions manager, you must be a talented critical thinker who is great at problem solving and analyzing data,” according to Graphic Design Degree Hub. “As an advertising manager, you must be able to use your creativity to develop campaigns while still being a critical thinker who uses data and response rates to make changes to plans when they are not working as planned.”

This website points out that while advertising and promotions managers are in charge of campaign development and advertising materials, they may also be in charge of managing people and deadlines, which can be very stressful.

“Be sure that you are ready to work with several different teams, like creative directors, designers, copywriters, and executives if this is the role you want to play,” the site says.

Long hours, too, are a possibility in this type of job, and candidates should be prepared for this eventuality. According to Truity, recent surveys reveal that 2 out of 5 advertising and promotions managers—40 percent—worked more than 40 hours per week. This reality may be due partly to the fact that many promotional events take place at night and on weekends, making a traditional 9-to-5 workday impossible for the professionals in charge of these events.

Truity breaks out the specific qualities that are important for advertising and promotions managers:

  • Analytical skills. Because the advertising industry has changed with the rise of digital media, advertising, promotions, and marketing managers must be able to analyze industry trends to determine the most promising strategies for their organization.
  • Communication skills. Managers must be able to communicate effectively with a broad-based team made up of other managers or staff members during the advertising, promotions, and marketing process. They must also be able to communicate persuasively to the public.
  • Creativity. Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers must be able to generate new and imaginative ideas.
  • Decision-making skills. Managers often must choose between competing advertising and marketing strategies put forward by staff.
  • Interpersonal skills. These managers must deal with a range of people in different roles, both inside and outside the organization.
  • Organizational skills. Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers must manage their time and budget efficiently while directing and motivating staff members.

 Salary and Job Outlook

The median annual wage for advertising and promotions managers was $117,130 in May 2018, according to the BLS. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $57,150 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $208,000. Most advertising and promotions managers were employed in the fields of advertising, public relations, and related services.

The median annual wage for marketing managers was $134,290 in May 2018. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $69,840 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $208,000. Most marketing managers were employed in the fields of professional, scientific, and technical services.

The BLS projected that overall employment of advertising, promotions, and marketing managers would grow 8 percent from 2018 to 2028, which is faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is due partly to the fact that advertising, promotional, and marketing campaigns will continue to be essential for organizations as they seek to maintain and expand their share of the market. Demand for talented professionals to run these efforts is expected to continue unabated.

About WSU’s Online Master of Business Administration Program

One way to learn the skills necessary to succeed as an advertising, promotion, and marketing manager is pursuing advanced education in the field. Washington State University’s Carson College of Business delivers one of the top-ranked MBA programs in the nation. WSU offers an Online MBA course curriculum designed to equip students with the tactics, knowledge, skills, strategies, and other resources utilized by today’s high-profile business leaders.

WSU’s Online MBA degree program offers several MBA concentrations—marketing, finance, hospitality business management, international business, and general MBA. For more information, visit WSU’s Online MBA website.


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Definition of advertising/promotions/marketing manager – Truity

Job duties – U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

The right personality – Graphic Design Degree Hub

Long hours – Truity

Qualities needed for advertising and promotions managers – Truity

Salary and job outlook – U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics