Marketing managers are essential to growing organizations as businesses compete to position, price, and promote their products. Marketing managers play a universal role in almost every industry, including retail, real estate, consumer packaged goods, technology, and finance. The role is responsible for identifying market segments, developing pricing strategies, and coordinating cross-functionally to plan and execute marketing initiatives.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 240,440 marketing manager jobs in the U.S. The field is growing at an 8% rate, which is faster than the average growth rate across other professions in the nation. But where exactly are the best opportunities for marketing managers?
Our study at AdvisorSmith ranked 258 U.S. cities to determine the most attractive cities for marketing managers to pursue their careers in. We list the top 50 cities for marketing managers below, and we also break down the top small, midsize, and large cities for this profession.
Our analysis found that most of the best cities for marketing managers are large cities. Of the top 50 cities, 74% of them are large, 18% are midsize, and only 8% are small cities. A majority of the top cities are located in the midwest and east coast, accounting for 36% and 38% out of the top 50, respectively. Large cities won out in our study, with 37 out of the top 50 cities having metropolitan area populations greater than 500,000.
Top Cities for Marketing Managers by City Size
Our study segments cities into different sizes based on population, listing the top 10 small (population under 150,000), midsize (population of 150,000-500,000), and large (greater than 500,000 population) cities for marketing managers.
Best Cities for Marketing Managers
1. Fayetteville, AR
With a metro population of 550,000, Fayetteville is the third largest city in Arkansas and came in number one in our study. The city is in the northwest corner of the state and is home to the University of Arkansas. Fayetteville is also just 20 miles south of Bentonville, which is home to the corporate headquarters of Walmart.
The area produces more than $26 billion in gross metro product, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. This is due in large part to the focus of economic growth in the area and low employment rate compared with the rest of the nation. Because of Walmart’s hub in Bentonville, there are hundreds of companies nearby, including Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, and Hershey. The proximity of all these suppliers near Walmart makes the marketing relationship and role even more important. Companies supplying into Walmart and relying on the retail giant as a primary distribution channel require close coordination of marketing events and initiatives. With the retail sector heating up because of competition between Walmart and Amazon, recruiting and retaining top talent in this area is even more critical for Walmart’s growth.
Fayetteville hosts 100% more jobs for marketing managers on a per-capita basis compared with the U.S. average. Marketing managers in Fayetteville also earn on average $172,920 per year, 17% higher than the national average, while the cost of living in Fayetteville is 13% lower than the rest of the nation.
2. Bridgeport, CT
Bridgeport is traditionally known as a seaport city in the southwest end of the state. With a metropolitan population of 944,000 people, the city has the largest population in the state. This population includes Stamford, Norwalk, and Danbury areas, which are part of Fairfield County.
There are a dozen Fortune 500 companies based in the Bridgeport area, including Pitney Bowes, Xerox, and Charter Communications. Stamford is home to a number of financial companies such as Synchrony Financial, RBS Securities, and Legg Mason, making Stamford the second-largest financial center within the New York metropolitan area. Norwalk, a city with numerous opportunities in a variety of industries, boasts being the headquarters of many large companies like Pepperidge Farm, Emcor, and Booking Holdings.
The variety of industries in the surrounding metro make Bridgeport an ideal center for multiple marketing opportunities. For example, Booking Holdings, which owns Booking.com, Priceline, Kayak, Agoda, OpenTable, and Rentalcars.com, needs a strategic marketing division in each business to position and promote its products. Moreover, consumer packaged goods companies like Pepperidge Farm need marketing managers to plan and improve its partnership distribution and drive consumer demand.
Marketing managers in Bridgeport earn an average annual salary of $176,790, which is 20% higher than the national average. The city also hosts 277% more marketing manager jobs per capita compared with the U.S. average.
3. Trenton, NJ
Trenton sits along the western border of the state with Pennsylvania and is just 30 miles away from Philadelphia. The greater metropolitan area is known as Trenton-Ewing and hosts 370,000 people. Trenton has a rich history in America dating back to the American Revolutionary War, and the city once briefly served as the nation’s capital in 1784.
Trenton is situated between two major areas that have several employment opportunities for marketing managers. In the northeast are cities such as Princeton, Edison, and Newark, and Philadelphia sits nearby in the southwest. Within an hour drive northeast of Trenton are several large corporations like Johnson & Johnson, Prudential Financial, and Bed Bath & Beyond, and to the southwest of Trenton are companies such as Burlington and Campbell Soup Company. The economy within Trenton has shifted over the decades from manufacturing toward more service industries. Currently, the top industries in the city are healthcare, public services, retail, hospitality, and education.
Trenton has 92% more jobs for marketing managers per capita compared to the U.S. average. Marketing managers in Trenton earn an average annual salary of $196,130, which is 33% higher than the national average.
4. Minneapolis, MN
Minneapolis is located near the southeastern region of Minnesota and is the largest city in the state. The city sits along the banks of the Mississippi River and is known for its prolific arts and music scene.
The Minneapolis-St. Paul metro region is the third largest economic center in the Midwest and home to many well-known companies. The region plays host to eight Fortune 500 company headquarters, including Target, U.S. Bancorp, and Ameriprise Financial with a variety of industries from financial services to consumer packaged goods, Minneapolis enables individuals to select different marketing paths from a palette of choices.
Marketing managers in Minneapolis earn an average salary of $142,450, which is in line with the national average. The city also hosts 128% more marketing manager jobs per capita than the national average.
5. Durham, NC
Durham is the fourth-most populous city in the state and sits in the central part of North Carolina. The city is home to nationally recognized universities such as Duke and North Carolina Central University (part of the University of North Carolina). Additionally, the larger metropolitan area is known as Durham-Chapel Hill and has a population of more than 566,000 people.
Research Triangle or “The Triangle” encompasses three research universities: Duke, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University. The Triangle is known by both its geographic region and high employment population through both research initiatives and large corporations. Historically, the area has served as an attractive region for talent for businesses. The region has a significant technology scene with companies such as IBM, SAS Institute, and Cisco Systems. Healthcare is also a large sector in the area with companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, Biogen Idec, and Pfizer. These industries offer numerous opportunities for marketing managers to practice their craft, from technical product marketing positions to brand marketing careers.
Marketing managers in Durham earn an average salary of $148,730, which is slightly higher than the national average. The city hosts 81% more jobs for marketing managers on a per-capita basis compared with the U.S. average.
Top 50 Cities for Marketing Managers
Below, we list the top cities for marketing managers. We include data on the total number of jobs, the number of jobs per capita, average annual salaries, and the cost of living.
|Rank||City||City Size||Average Annual Salary||Total Jobs||Location Quotient||Cost of Living|
|10||San Jose, CA||Large||$197,130||6,170||3.32||242|
|16||State College, PA||Midsize||$156,610||140||1.21||104|
|19||Kansas City, MO||Large||$142,920||1,730||0.98||94|
|22||New York, NY||Large||$189,620||24,300||1.54||146|
|25||San Francisco, CA||Large||$182,580||11,020||2.74||218|
|34||Las Vegas, NV||Large||$146,800||1,520||0.93||105|
|47||Cedar Rapids, IA||Midsize||$112,410||270||1.14||93|
|48||Salt Lake City, UT||Large||$115,410||1,710||1.45||107|
|49||Boise City, ID||Large||$115,020||610||1.14||98|
AdvisorSmith’s study examined three key variables in determining the best cities for marketing managers to pursue their careers in.
1. Average annual salaries for marketing managers
For the purposes of this study, we focus on marketing managers, which excludes promotions managers and advertising managers. Promotions managers focus on specific purchasing incentives and channels to increase sales. Advertising managers generate campaign ideas, work with financing on the advertising budget, and bridge the relationship between the client and promotion agency serving to develop and place ads.
We considered the average annual salary earned by marketing managers in each city in our study. The higher the average salary, the more highly we ranked a given metro area. The average salary for marketing managers in our study was $147,240.
2. Density of jobs for marketing managers in each city
Our study leveraged a location quotient, which represents the number of jobs available to marketing managers, relative to the national average. Cities with a higher location quotient have a higher concentration of jobs for marketing managers, which means more career opportunities and more demand for marketing managers in those cities. Cities with higher location quotients ranked more highly in our study.
In 2018, there were 240,440 marketing managers employed in the U.S. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment for marketing managers will grow at an 8% pace over the 10-year period of 2018-2028, which is faster than the national job growth outlook.
3. Cost of living index for each city
We adjusted the salaries earned by marketing managers in each city by a cost of living multiplier. The cost of living, including necessities such as rent, transportation, and groceries, varies by city, so it is important to normalize the salaries so that the cities can be compared fairly. Cities with more affordable lifestyles were ranked more highly in our study.
 Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook
 Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics
 Sperling’s Best Places Cost of Living Index