What does an Online Marketing Manager do? [Job Description]

“Online Marketing” is such an elusive term that can mean everything and at the same time nothing. Does it mean internet marketing? What exactly is the internet? Does this term include more than just advertising, search engine optimization, and writing emails? How does it differ from all the other professional fields, such as SEO or Content Marketing Manager?

Fields of activity and tasks of the online marketing manager – a job description

To put it simply, an online marketing manager various marketing measures on the Internet. So something like:

  • Content Marketing (planning, production, promotion)
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Search Engine Advertising
  • Social Media Marketing & Communication
  • Email Marketing
  • Direct & Affiliate Marketing
  • Conversion Optimization (CRO), special in e-commerce
  • Platform & Asset Management (e.g. Web CMS)
  • UX & web design (conception, design, programming)
  • Brand & Marketing Strategy
  • Monitoring & Controlling

But to be honest: “All-around marketers” who are well-educated in each of these areas are very rare. In most cases, online marketing managers have one or maybe two specialties and otherwise have more basic knowledge in other areas.

Each of us studies a topic in-depth and climbs the career ladder over time. It is not uncommon for us to have to strive for further training independently, while at the same time we are entrusted with more and more new areas of responsibility.

So it’s no wonder that online Marketing Marketers typically work in teams; A team that unites people with individual expertise and different qualifications. Depending on the application and special area, the Online Marketing Manager can be used as an interface for all marketing areas or as an expert in one discipline.

Differentiation of an online marketing manager from other professions

Especially search engine optimization has changed a lot in recent years and has evolved from a “specialization” into an independent “department”. The goal is no longer just to generate backlinks and improve placement in the search results.

It’s also about optimizing page load time and other on-page factors that affect user experience. To achieve this, SEO experts automatically close ranks with, for example, social media managers, content designers, content marketing managers and copywriters, UX designers, and conversion optimizers.

These specialists also differ from online marketing generalists. The former is above all in their area of ​​activity, the latter two also in their basic training – design instead of marketing. Copywriting, to complete the list above, is, in my eyes, one thing above all else: practice.

But let’s take a closer look at the requirements placed on those responsible for online marketing :

Online Marketing Manager Requirements

There is no more extensive and demanding position in marketing than that of an online marketing manager as a jack of all trades (e.g. in start-ups or companies that are entering new digital territory – often traditional family businesses where a generation change causes changes). Of course, it always depends to a certain extent on what your passion is and where you want to apply it. Nevertheless, there are various requirements and skills that you should definitely have:

  • Experience in dealing with analysis and evaluation tools (starting with web analytics tools such as Google Analytics to social media monitoring tools or tools such as Tableau for data visualization).
  • Well-founded knowledge in the field of SEM (SEO/SEA) and performance marketing – i.e. paid media in general.
  • A high degree of technical and graphic understanding in order to either write good briefings or to be able to implement individual ideas directly yourself.
  • A high solution and result orientation and entrepreneurial thinking. You often have budget responsibility and pursue economic, in most cases directly sales targets.
  • A high affinity for digital media, especially social networks, and a keen sense for trends and innovations.
  • Very good communication skills and text security – in addition to your national language, above all English.
  • A high degree of team and leadership skills, because the responsibility for personnel is only a matter of time …

For smaller companies whose online marketing is in its infancy, an ambitious online marketing Manager is extremely valuable. Because these operate holistically and at the price level of an employee in order to collect the experience necessary for “promotion”.

And where we already talking about money… how about the salary?

What is the salary of Online Marketing Managers?

In this position, I wouldn’t call it a “manager’s salary”, but the step up to the executive floor as chief marketing officer is the goal for many. The previous salary expectations and demands are correspondingly ambitious. But as we all know, that’s debatable and has a lot to do with negotiating skills.

If we look at various platforms, we see an average range of 30.000 USD (Junior Manager) to more than 100.000 USD (Senior Manager) gross annual salary. A look at LinkedIn Salary confirms this assessment. You also find the differences depending on the size of the company, industry, training, and region.

Top salaries for online marketing managers are mainly in large cities.

Salary differences in marketing become clear depending on company size, industry, and education

The explicit (especially disciplinary) management positions such as team leader, head of, or marketing director are actually more highly paid. Here the salary sometimes rises to 150,000 or more USD per year; Depending on the company, the actual responsibility, the size of the team, the size of the budget, and, above all, the current economic situation. When it comes to job interviews, you need to have a sure instinct! Also, as far as a possible bonus is concerned.

Don’t sell yourself short in the beginning because in order to make big salary increases within a company (10% and more) you feel like you have to achieve impossible goals. After all, you want to avoid changing companies every year, mainly out of financial frustration, in order to finally reach the level at which you feel fundamentally valued for your work (and eventually your experience). Agree on “SMART” goals and define clear perspectives with your employer. It definitely feels better.

Also, In my opinion, companies should not outsource their marketing to agencies. First of all, a competent contact person is needed internally who can at least evaluate the agency’s efforts, if not directly control them.

And secondly, we have to be aware that agencies manage their own pockets first. This often leads to undetected compromises in strategy and operationally, for example in campaign design. The results are usually suboptimal. In addition, companies do not develop their own competence in the long term outside but make themselves dependent.

Are companies really looking for the jack of all trades? Or do they “restrict” potentially capable people to a few jobs as part of a larger team? How much are companies actually willing to invest?

Just looking at the LinkedIn job search is really exciting:

There are many advertisements for “Online Marketing”. About a third of advertisements are aimed at young professionals, a third at experienced professionals, and the rest are divided between apprenticeships and management positions.

This does not include specific roles like “Performance Marketing”, “Email Marketing“, “SEO/SEA Manager” or “Affiliate Marketing”.

Of course, the more knowledge and experience you have in specific areas, the more valuable you are to a company. So basically you can’t blame them for looking for an all-rounder who can handle everything for the business including supporting business development in the (international) market launch of products and services, handling competitive observations, establishing benchmarks to drive sales, or the maintenance, optimization, and further development of the website.

But don’t let all these requirements scare. Because just as you have “desires and ideas”, so too do companies. In the end it is a question of finding a compromise. The decisive factor is whether you bring the core competencies with you, which in my opinion consist more of soft skills such as communicative and analytical skills, empathy, a growth mindset and language skills, especially English skills in many cases.

So the common denominators are above all growing interest in this dynamic field of activity as well as the professional Prospects both in employment and in self-employment.

A look at online marketing managers of the future

As in the last few years, the automation and increasing integration of artificial intelligence are not just in our life, but also continue to influence online marketing. In addition to the way we consume, produce or sell, digitization will also create new exciting fields of activity. The online marketing manager of tomorrow will increasingly deal with data, technology, corporate culture, and growth processes and actively help shape them as part of the team.


Online marketing is a collective term that encompasses the various facets of marketing in our digital economy. Of course, “offline marketing” still exists, but probably more as a marketing channel analogous to SEM, social media, or e-mail and thus more as a specialization and less as an independent profession.

Marketing should be represented in the form of a CMO in management and should be taken into account in corporate planning.

If you want to become an Online Marketing Manager, then don’t just look at the job advertisement when choosing your next job. Get to know the rest of the team and the structural anchoring of this topic in the company. That often says more about the appreciation of marketing and marketers than the nice conversation with the HR manager.

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