When many people think of marketing, TV commercials, billboards and internet ads come to mind. That’s because on the surface, marketing is all about getting people’s attention. And there is no shortage of ways to do that in today’s tech-driven, connected world. But there are countless companies competing for eyes and ears.
The best marketing not only rises above the noise. It’s able to convince a person that your product or service will solve their problems and improve their life before something else catches their attention. As marketing expert Seth Godin says, “Our job is to connect to people, to interact with them in a way that leaves them better than we found them, more able to get where they’d like to go.”
This challenge makes marketing an exciting career endeavor for people with a distinct array of skills. If you’re some combination of analytical and creative, with the ability to tell a story and understand human psychology, marketing may be the job for you.
Let’s explore what marketing is all about, the type of jobs and career paths available and the skills it takes to thrive in this field.
Different types of marketing and roles
Every company goes about marketing in its own unique way. A small, local business tries to let people in the community know where it is and what it offers. A large, global company strives to find leads from anywhere its sales team can sell to.
Since there are stark differences in how companies do marketing, there are different directions someone seeking a career in marketing could take. Let’s start by defining the two main segments of marketing, then we’ll outline some common marketing roles.
B2C marketing vs B2B marketing
The two overarching categories of marketing are B2C (business to consumer) and B2B (business to business). As the names suggest, B2C is the marketing individuals are exposed to and B2B tries to convince another organization to make a purchase. Here are the main differences between the two:
- B2C purchases are often inexpensive, while B2B purchases are often more costly.
- Consumers tend to make quicker buying decisions with less consideration than a business.
- B2C marketing often targets the masses, whereas B2B marketing involves building close relationships with potential buyers.
- B2C businesses tend to have more potential customers than B2B businesses.
Because of these differences, B2C marketing mostly entails promotion and branding (getting the word out). B2B marketing has those aspects too but also focuses on finding potential customers and establishing a connection with them.
Types of marketing roles
There are a lot of different marketing roles organizations have on staff. The right one for you depends on what you’re good at, what you want to do and the type of company you hope to work for. Here is a small sampling of the different types of marketing roles that are out there:
- Marketing Director/Manager – The leader of the entire marketing department or a specific team. Usually in charge of defining long-term strategy and meeting departmental/team goals.
- Digital Marketer – An online marketing specialist. Some digital marketers do it all, while others focus on a specific area (e.g. SEO, SEM, analytics, social media).
- Media Buyer – Negotiate ad buys for their company or clients. Media buyers are in charge of allocating a budget for commercials, billboards and print ads, to name a few examples.
- Public Relations Specialist – Tasked with preserving and elevating the brand’s reputation. PR specialists communicate with the media with the goal of getting positive coverage.
- Content Marketer/Copywriter – Write the company’s marketing messaging. In recent years, content has expanded into a variety of formats such as video, webinars and podcasts.
Marketing career paths
Every company with plans to grow participates in some type of marketing. That means there is an opportunity to work in any industry that interests you. There is also an opportunity to find employment that suits your lifestyle. Below are examples of a few paths available to aspiring marketers:
- In-house marketer – The majority of marketers work as full-time employees for a company’s marketing team. It’s the most stable career direction since salary and benefits are guaranteed and you can gain on-the-job experience that leads to professional advancement.
- Agency marketer – Some companies outsource their marketing needs to agencies. Working for an agency also guarantees a consist salary, while giving you the chance to work with a variety of companies. However, agency marketers often focus on a specific specialization and rarely have the chance to take on projects outside their skillset.
- Freelance marketer – Marketing is one of the few careers that allows you to work on your own as a freelancer. While it offers the most freedom, it also comes with a lot of instability. Getting benefits and finding clients to pay you will be solely your responsibility.
Many marketing professionals work in-house, for an agency and as a freelancer at different points in their career. When starting your career, find the job that best suits your needs at that time.
Education required to get a marketing job
A bachelors in marketing or even a business administration degree will best prepare you for a career in marketing. But unlike other professions, marketers come from all kinds of educational backgrounds. In fact, communications, finance and liberal arts degrees are commonly listed on marketing job descriptions as acceptable fields of study.
It’s also important to point out that marketing is always evolving and many universities don’t teach the latest best practices. In fact, college marketing classes tend to focus on high-level marketing theory since it’s hard to know which trends are the future and which are passing fads.
Regardless of major, your college studies won’t prepare you to be a fully-productive marketer right out of school. Like any profession, much of the skills and knowledge will be acquired on the job and the more experience you have, the better marketer you’ll be.
That being said, the internet is rich with resources where smart marketers share their secrets. There are numerous blogs, podcasts, YouTube channels, message boards and social media influencers worth getting familiar with. Find ones that focus on the specific field of marketing you’re interested in and produce content you like to consume.
Skills required to get a marketing job
Marketing is a career that requires many secondary skills to be successful. You first and foremost need to know how to accomplish your job responsibilities but also possessing these personality traits will set you apart from all the average marketers.
- Analytical – Marketers need to be skilled at crunching data to identify opportunities and make the best possible decisions.
- Creative – While being numbers-oriented is important, marketers also need to come up with cool ideas that strike a chord with potential customers.
- Team player – Marketing teams are often made up of different specialists. It’s important each person collaborates to accomplish common goals and works well with other departments.
- Strong communicator – Being able to articulate what you’re doing and what you hope to accomplish is a must for any marketer.
- Constant learner – As we mentioned earlier, marketing is always changing. The best marketers keep up with the latest trends so their company stays ahead of the competition.
- Goal oriented – Marketing teams have defined goals they need to accomplish. It’s crucial to do work on a daily basis that helps achieve long-term objectives.
Good luck on the job hunt
If you’ve come away from this article ready to launch your career in marketing, best of luck on the search for an ideal job. Remember that marketing one year, five years and a decade from now will be vastly different from the marketing of today. Always embrace new ideas so your future employer does a better job of capturing a customer’s attention than everyone else.
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