Marketing can be a wonderful career path. It requires a blend of creativity, communication, and data savvy that is unique to marketing work. Additionally, it’s a skill that is in-demand, meaning that there are lots of job opportunities out there. And if you ultimately decide that what you want to do with your life is to work for yourself, a skillset in marketing will be invaluable.
Within this post, I’m going to walk through the most common marketing interview questions based upon my over ten years of experience within the industry. I’ll also provide tips about how to answer the questions well and prepare well for a marketing interview. Let’s get started.
Common Marketing Interview Questions
Common Questions Across All Marketing Roles
There are a variety of different roles within a marketing team and I’m going to walk through common questions for each one. However, the place to start is to prepare for the common questions that you’re going to receive regardless of the specific role that you’re applying for.
Rather than hash all of those out here, we’ve written a separate post called How to Ace an Interview, which covers the most common interview questions that you should expect to get across any interview, marketing included. I highly recommend that you start your preparation by reading that article, as it will help you to prepare for your interview and for questions that you are very likely to receive that are not specific just to marketing.
Types of Marketing Roles
Next, I’d like to break down the types of questions that you’re likely to receive based upon the most common types of roles on a marketing team. One of the things that’s frustrated me about other marketing interview question articles out there is that most of them are too general and group marketing interview questions together regardless of the specific position you’re applying for within a marketing team.
In my experience, the types of questions that you receive, and practice exercises that you’re asked to go through, are going to be very different depending upon the unique requirements of the marketing role to which you’re applying. To that end, I’ve broken out the questions by role below.
Also note that the question and answer guidance are written for roles that are at the senior manager level or below. Executive-level questions can be different and are beyond the scope of this article.
Demand Generation / Performance Marketing / Digital Marketing Interview Questions
I’ve grouped three types of roles together in one bucket, which is essentially the demand generation role. This is the person responsible for orchestrating your various marketing programs in such a way to drive measurable business results from your marketing, like pipeline or revenue. At a high-level, you’ll need a blend of creativity and analytics skills to thrive in this role, as you need to be able to dive in and say what channels and activities the company should we be investing in to hit its goals, as well as analyze on an ongoing basis what’s working and what’s not.
Here is a good example of a sample job description for a demand generation marketer role.
Common Exercises for a Demand Generation Role
In addition to the question and answer portion of the interview, there’s a good chance that you’ll also have to go through a practice exercise to demonstrate how you would approach achieving an objective or solving a problem that’s tied to the role .Here is an exercise that you’ll likely need to complete for this type of a role:
How Would You Approach a Plan to Generate X Revenue Goal?
As mentioned above, the nature of a demand generation marketing role is to create a mix of marketing programs and activities to achieve a business outcome for the company — generally pipeline or revenue.
To demonstrate your ability to think through how to do this, the company will likely have you go a short exercise to create a plan for how you would do that.
These are the high-level things that you’ll want to demonstrate as you’re going through that exercise:
- That you’re able to work backwards from an end goal to create a mix of activities to hit your number
- That you can project out what activities may be likely to generate and how those tie together to achieve that goal
- That you can create a mix of activities that span multiple channels
- That you can think through what channels are going to make sense to invest in based upon the financials of the company (i.e., how much they can spend to profitably acquire a customer…hint: you’ll likely need to hit the 3:1 CAC:LTV ratio)
Common Questions for a Demand Generation Role
Tell Me About Your Experience with X, Y, OR Z Marketing Channel
As a demand gen person, you’re going to own the plan for how you hit your marketing sourced opportunity or revenue number across channels. As a result, in general, you’ll be dictating where your company invests time, effort, and advertising dollars for the segments that you own.
That said, going into the interview, the company is likely going to have a pretty good idea about where they’d like to invest as a starting point, or they’ve seen some success in certain areas on their own and they’d like to continue to invest there.
For example, if you have a lower priced product, say <$50 / month, out of necessity the company will likely need to invest in things like SEO, organic social media, or other platforms that require limited or no up-front spend to make their numbers work. In that case, you’ll need to be prepared for the company to ask you about your experience with those specific channels.
Note that in many cases, if you’re required to have experience with specific channels to get a particular job, it will be called out in the job interview. You’ll need to be prepared to speak to your skillset in those areas.
You’re Behind Plan…What Do You Do
If you work in demand generation, get used to being stressed out about being behind plan. Revenue targets go up every year and investors are hungry for fast and massive growth.
With the above being the case, you’ll need to demonstrate that you’re able to assess a situation where you’re behind targets and what to do about it.
The big thing that you’ll need to demonstrate here is the way that you analyze a problem to get to the root cause and develop countermeasures.
Here are the high-level things that I would recommend as you approach this question:
- Mention that from the start, you’ll have created a bottom-up plan across channels to get you to your goal
- You’ll then need to analyze which channel fell short of goal and why that is
- You’ll then need to assess why that channel fell short, if you can fix that channel, or if you need to pivot elsewhere to close your gap
If you demonstrate the thought process above, you’ll do great.
What Are the Best and Worst Marketing Programs You’ve Ever Run?
When you’re running a variety of different marketing programs over the years, you’re going to have a lot of hits and misses. The key is to understand why something worked and why something didn’t and then to pivot to doing more or less accordingly.
What you’ll need to demonstrate with this question is:
- That you’ve run previous marketing programs in the past
- How you’ve structured and thought through them
- What you learned from them and did as a result
Content Marketing Interview Questions
Content marketers are responsible for creating various forms of educational and product-related content that can be used in the sales and marketing process. In most cases, written content is the predominant responsibility of this role and content marketers are responsible for things like managing the blog, writing guides, writing sales materials, etc. However, the scope of the role can also span beyond just written materials, and include things like hosting webinars, creating video content, or creating visual content like webinars.
Here is a good example of a sample job description for a content marketer..
Common Exercises for a Content Marketing Role
As previously mentioned, writing is often a primary responsibility of this role. With that being the case, there is a good chance that you will need to do one or both of the following:
- Provide examples of content that you have created for other roles or other contexts (blog posts, guides, infographics, etc.)
- Write a short blog post as a part of the interview process
In both cases, the interview team will be looking at your ability to write well, write persuasively, and ultimately create quality content that is going to reflect well on their company and the team.
Common Questions for a Content Marketing Role
What is the Best Piece of Content That You’ve Ever Created
Companies are very likely to ask you about the piece of content that you’ve ever created and what made it so great. The interview team will use this question as a means of assessing the types of content in which you have demonstrated proficiency, and your ability to assess what made a piece of content resonate in the marketing place.
Here is what you’ll want to demonstrate in your answer to this question:
- That you’ve created a popular and well regarded piece of marketing content
- That you can articulate what made the piece of content so great and how that applies to other pieces you would created
- That you understand why your content resonated in the marketplace and you can connect it with customer needs
Tell Me About Your Experience with X, Y, or Z Types of Content
While writing is likely to be the primary responsibility of a content marketing role, there’s also a good chance that you’ll be responsible for other forms of content creation as well. Heading into the interview, you should be prepared to be asked about content ranging from written, to video, to visual, to presentations, and beyond.
A good way to know what types of content you may be asked about is to thoroughly review the job description. If you are expected to heavily work on certain types of content, they will most likely be specifically mentioned within the job description.
In your response to the question, you’ll basically need to demonstrate that you can competently create the different types of content that the company will need from the role. If you don’t have direct experience with the different content types, you’ll still need to inspire confidence that you can hit the ground running with the types of content they need.
What is Your Process for Creating Different Types Content From Beginning to End
This question is a follow-up to the previous one about your experience with different types of content and simply goes into a little bit more depth. Even if you are managing the creation of a variety of different types of content, it’s unlikely t0hat you’ll know how to write, and design, and edit videos and so on.
But what you will need to know is how to manage the process of creating content in different mediums, and how to work with specialists that do have those various skills.
What you’ll need to show in your answer to this question is:
- That you know how to manage a project
- That you know how to work with different types of content production specialists
- That you know how to specify the requirements for creating different types of content
Have You Managed an Editorial Calendar Before
As a content marketing person, you’ll need to create content that is delivered on a regular basis. As such, you’ll likely need to manage an editorial calendar that illustrates what needs to be created and when.
Here is what you need to demonstrate in your answer to the question:
- If you’ve managed an editorial calendar
- If so, what your process to managing that calendar what
- The tools you used to manage your calendar
- If you haven’t managed one before, you’ll need to illustrate how you would go about it
Marketing Operations Interview Questions
Marketing operations professionals are responsible for managing the marketing technology stack, key performance indicator tracking, and data flow between tools. In general, a person that is going to be successful in this role is going to be technology savvy, detail oriented, and have some ability to work with spreadsheets, numbers, etc. For the most part, a marketing operations professional is not going to be doing the creative work of marketing, but acting as a builder in support of marketing campaigns and initiatives.
Item number ten in this post from HubSpot has a good job description for a typical marketing operations manager role.
Common Exercises for a Marketing Operations Role
There are a couple of major exercises that you should be prepared for to demonstrate your proficiency as a marketing operations manager — data analysis and tool usage.
For a possible data analysis exercise, you should be ready for an exercise where you’re given some marketing performance data, like level of spend, leads generated across different channels, how those leads turned to pipeline, etc. and conduct an analysis of that data to recommend where spend should be invested and cut, based upon performance.
For the tool usage exercise, you may be put in front of a computer and given access to one of the marketing team’s commonly used tools and asked to complete a common task like set-up an email, or build a landing page. If you’re not put in front a computer itself, you may need to write out step by step what you would do to complete a task in the different tools.
Common Questions for a Marketing Operations Role
Tell Me About Your Experience with X, Y, or Z Tool
As mentioned, the marketing operations role will be responsible for managing the marketing tool stack and building out various campaign elements in the different marketing tools that the company uses. As a result, the interview team will want to feel comfortable that you have experience with the tools that you’ll need to manage. Or, at the very least, that you’ve had experience with similar tools and/or that you’re tech savvy enough to figure it out.
The tools that you’ll need to work with will likely be mentioned in the job description, so take a look at anything that’s specifically called out and make sure you’re familiar with that tool and can speak to it intelligently, even if you don’t have direct experience with it yourself.
Tell Me About a Time Where You Conducted a Data Analysis and Offered a Business Recommendation
The marketing operations person will also be responsible for most of the reporting tasks on a marketing team. At the most basic level, you’ll need to set-up the tracking system to be able to capture marketing data. That said, a truly great marketing operations person has the ability to go beyond just reporting on the data, but can take that data and offer strong business recommendations for where to increase vs. cut investment.
What Are the Best Practices for Maintaining Marketing Data Integrity
One of the challenges that you face as a marketing team is that you have multiple tools for multiple tasks that need to communicate with one another about the way that a client may be interacting with your website, emails, etc. It can be a challenge to ensure that you’re capturing all of that information effectively and that the data that you have on a person in your database is up to date.
A good marketing operations person can set up an effective data capture system and ensure all of that information is being consistently and accurately passed across tools.
What is Your Process for Setting Up a Marketing Attribution System
The last major question a marketing operations candidate is likely to face is around marketing attribution. Attributing each of your marketing touchpoints to revenue and pipeline creation is a universal challenge across marketing. How do you know how much an ad impression may have influenced an eventual order? How do you measure how much an individual email contributed to an opportunity being created? How do you credit the impact of a Google Search if what led to that Google Search was multiple interactions with your brand beforehand?
Marketing teams are being asked to measure their activities to a greater degree than ever before, and each dollar of spend and activity is being scrutinized in great detail by the executive suite.
That is the reality that marketing operations professionals and marketing teams face, and a great marketing operations person has a consistent philosophy and approach to consistent marketing data capture, measurement, and approach to attributing how each of the different marketing activities contributed to the end result that you’re trying to achieve.
Product Marketing Interview Questions
Product marketing is a relatively new field within marketing and many people within the industry are still trying to figure out exactly what it is and how to define it. Here is the simplest definition that I’ve found — product marketing sets the strategy around how to take products to market.
So a product marketer would be responsible for figuring out how to position a product in the marketplace (messaging, potentially pricing, etc.), how the sales team should pitch the product, etc. They will also set the strategy and manage all new product launches for a company.
This article provides a good overview of a product marketing manager’s roles and responsibilities.
Common Exercises for a Product Marketing Manager
The exercise that you’ll need to be prepared to do is putting together a sample launch plan. You’ll likely be given some high-level details of a new product that the company is planning to announce, a timeframe when it will be announced, and some context on the market.
From there, you’ll need to put together a combination of deliverables as a part of the exercise, including things like a positioning statement and launch plan.
Common Questions for a Product Marketing Manager
Walk Me Through Your Process for Planning for a Product Launch
The product marketing manager will be responsible for the launch plan for new products. Not all of the details of every aspect of it, the demand generation person would own the specific mix of tactics to help hit the goal for the launch, for example, but the product marketer would own the overall launch plan. So the interview team is definitely going to want to know the steps that you would take to plan for a product launch. Certainly how you think about planning for a successful launch at a high-level, but they’ll also want some depth as to how specifically you rally an organization for a launch and details of that nature, so make sure to appropriately dive into the weeds.
What is Your Process for Creating a Positioning Statement
Done as a part of a product launch, or potentially done retroactively for products that don’t have a positioning statement and/or that are struggling in the market, product marketers will spend a lot of time working on positioning statements.
As a result, you should expect to have to walk the interview team how you would approach market positioning. Similar to your launch plan, you’ll need to balance demonstrating your high-level thought process and strategy with the depth that would show the nitty gritty of how you’ll actually build out the statement.
One other point on this — just because you created a positioning statement for a product, that doesn’t mean that you’ve positioned or messaged it correctly within the market. So you’ll need some way of assessing how your product messaging is resonating after launch, as well as on a longer term ongoing basis. Be prepared to speak to how approach that aspect as well.
How Do You Effectively Price a Product
Pricing may or may not be owned by product marketing. Sometimes it’s owned by finance. Other times, it’s owned by the product team. And at times it’s owned by product marketing. Regardless of who has the final ownership on pricing, how you price a product plays an important part in how it is positioned and perceived within the market, so product marketing is likely to influence this decision. Given product marketing’s influence on pricing, you’ll need to be ready to speak to how you would approach it. At a high-level, be prepared to talk through a specific process for how you would approach pricing a product, as well as how pricing fits into an overall product marketing strategy.
Tell Me About Your Most Successful and Unsuccessful Product Launches
Launching products is probably the most important and tangible deliverable of a product marketer. As such, you’ll need to be ready for lots of questions around product launches (and I already provided one example).
The most likely one that you’ll get will be around the most successful and unsuccessful product launches you’ve ever managed. Similar to answers to previous questions, you’ll need to walk the line between strategy and tactics, talking through what made previous launches successful at both levels. On the flip side, if you’ve launched a lot of products in the past, you’ll likely have launched some duds as well, so you’ll need to speak thoughtfully and humbly about what you learned from those experiences.
If you haven’t managed launches in the past, the way you’ll need to approach it is to share examples that you’ve seen from other companies and what, in your view, made them successful and unsuccessful. As a matter of fact, even if you have launched a variety of products on your own, you’ll likely be asked about your favorite and least favorite launches from other companies, so you should go ahead and prepare for that one as well.
Marketing Specialist / Marketing Generalist Interview Questions
The final marketing position in this post is the marketing specialist position. This role is generally the entry level position that you would have on a marketing team. It is fairly broad-based and you could have a diverse array of responsibilities — from organizing marketing campaigns, to creating marketing collateral, to conducting events, etc. The exact responsibilities are going to depend upon the needs of the company that you are joining.
Here is a sample job description for a marketing specialist role.
Again, the responsibilities for this role are going to vary based upon the company, but the job description that was previously linked is fairly open ended so a good example of the responsibilities of the position.
Common Exercises for a Marketing Specialist
For the marketing specialist role, being that it is both entry level and broad based, the interview team will probably want to get a sense of your thoughtfulness, organization, and soft skills. So a common exercise that you’ll have to go through is putting together a sample campaign plan.
Even if it’s your first job out of college, and you’ve never done one before, the big thing that you’ll want to show is how you think through and organize the process. You’ll need to show a basic level of marketing and thoughtfulness about customer needs, plus some ability to organize tasks and manage a project. Those basic skills will be the biggest things the interview team wants to see at this stage.
What are the most important aspects of successful marketing
Again, being that this is an entry level role, you may not have a ton of personal experience to go off of here. So in this case, you’ll likely need to speak to successful marketing more generally, and cite examples from other companies that you’ve seen do marketing well. Also, if you went to school for marketing, this is a good example to talk about some of the basic principles of marketing and show off your knowledge.
The big things here are that you want to show a basic level of knowledge about good marketing at a high-level, and be able to back that up with supporting examples.
Where and how do you learn about marketing
If you’re new to the marketing game, an interviewer will want to know if you’re serious about marketing and on mastering the craft. Hopefully, you’re actively learning about marketing, either via school, reading about it, podcasts, or some other source. If not, you should be. You’ll need to be ready to speak intelligently about marketing within the interview and show that you’re committed to your craft by answering a question like this.
What are your experiences or skills with X
As mentioned above, the marketing specialist role is fairly broad and could consist of a variety of responsibilities. That said, each company will probably have different areas that you’ll be expected to focus on more than others, like campaign management, writing blog posts, organizing events, etc. Those areas will be more prominently mentioned in the job description, and you’ll need to be ready to speak to your skills and background in any areas that you know you’ll have to do as a part of the job.
And even if this is your first job out of school and you don’t have tangible experience with something in a work context, you’ll need to speak to your general skill in that area, like writing or event management, and support your points with tangible examples.
Marketing can be a wonderful career path. It’s fun and creative. It’s an in-demand field. And if you ultimately decide that what you want to do with your life is to work for yourself, a skillset in marketing will be invaluable to help you grow your business.
Another nice thing about marketing is that there are a variety of different roles within a marketing team that you can work on, depending upon what you like best. You’ll just need to pick your focus area within marketing, start applying for positions, and then prepare well for the interview. Good luck!