Marketing Jobs and Careers
Marketing can be defined as "the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably" (Chartered Institute of Marketing). It can be applied to the production and sale of any manufactured product or a service. However, in the non-profit or voluntary sector, it can involve satisfying the organisation's mission statement by meeting recognised needs and breaking even in doing so, rather than making a financial profit.
Marketing covers every aspect of promoting and selling a product or service in the marketplace: market research; establishing a price; creating packaging that sells; devising and running advertising and promotional strategies; communicating via the press; etc. The range of responsibilities varies from position to position, with the mix depending on the company or organisation involved. The team of marketing personnel is usually headed by the marketing manager or director, who may have executive status. Below, we look at some of the key roles in the marketing team.
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Roles in Marketing
This head of the marketing team is responsible for planning the entire marketing process. This will usually involve creating strategies to market the particular brand, as well as individual products or services. The strategic planning process includes forecasting and budgeting, research for new products, as well as all the diverse elements of the marketing plan. The manager ultimately oversees execution of the plan, while monitoring, measuring and evaluating the success of the whole process.
Marketing executives - also known as officers or co-ordinators - are members of the team who focus on specific marketing tasks in smaller businesses or take responsibility for particular products or services in larger businesses. In this varied role, they contribute to the creation of a marketing plan with ideas, assisting with advertising, public relations, event organisation and distribution.
Public Relations Executive
A public relations (PR) officer or executive is primarily concerned with the media and ensuring a brand has a positive media presence. Working for and solely on behalf of a company, or within an agency with multiple clients, the PR executive works on managing the organisation's reputation, building support and client loyalty by creating a positive image. This role is important in all sectors, to ensure a consistently positive public image is developed and maintained.
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Advertising Account Executive
These executives work in advertising agencies, liaising with clients while feeding back to the creative team they work with. This ensures smooth running of campaigns or ongoing accounts with client companies and organisations. The executive oversees the campaign work and administration, ensuring deadlines are met and completion occurs within budget. They may handle up to four accounts at one time, or fewer in a large agency with major clients.
A copywriter is usually a position within an advertising agency. They are responsible for writing 'copy' - i.e., promotional text - that is persuasive and encourages the consumer to buy a service or product, or concur with a particular viewpoint. The writing may be used in emails, social media, websites, documents, catalogues, brochures - indeed, any text that is produced by the organisation or business.
Market Research Manager
A market research manager is ultimately responsible for co-ordinating a business or organisation's market research projects, ensuring that sufficient data is gathered to support decision-making as to future directions. They may work within businesses or non-profit organisations, or within consultancies. They contribute to research and development proposals by planning and formulating the techniques whereby statistical and qualitative data will be secured through established research methods. They then ensure that the adopted research projects deliver the information reliably and as required.
Market Research Executive
Working within or closely with the marketing personnel, the market research executive is responsible for researching the marketplace to support development of a new service or product. This frequently involves analysing consumer viewpoints and gathering data to inform executive decisions within the business or organisation. They undertake quantitative research, using techniques such as questionnaires to gather data, before analysing that data. They combine this with qualitative data, gathered from methods such as interviews or focus groups, to arrive at informative conclusions.
Would a Career in Marketing Suit You?
Marketing is a varied and interesting field of work, which suits people who can work to long term goals while responding to short term needs and immediate situations that arise. Creativity is important and an energetic approach is essential, combined with a strategic approach. Here are a few more qualities that are generic to marketing - individual roles will also require particular strengths in addition to these.
- A commercial awareness is essential. You need to be able to think strategically and contribute to marketing plans that will help move an organisation forwards.
- You need to understand all areas of marketing, even if you're not directly handling them all. It's vital to understand how the marketing actions fit together.
- Interpersonal skills are important, with the ability to interact with other team members and staff within the organisation, as well as clients if working in an advertising agency.
- Interacting with external suppliers and service providers is also important, so professionalism and the ability to nurture good working relationships is critical.
- Verbal and written communications skills are essential, whether creating and writing a campaign, or preparing proposals, reports and white papers, etc.
- The ability to work accurately and to high standards under time pressure is essential.
- Market researchers need to be highly numerate, with the ability to recognise how statistical data can translate into actionable recommendations.
- Market researchers also need the ability to think conceptually and in abstract terms when considering proposed ideas and the means to research them.
Marketing positions are much sought after and there is great competition for good positions. It's possible to enter certain positions with any qualification at degree level, but others may specifically request a marketing or business qualification or degree.
Direct entry to higher level marketing positions is frequently possible only with a business or marketing degree. Alternatively, many people start out in an assistant or officer role, before achieving promotion. Postgraduate courses in marketing are available for graduates with non-business degrees who wish to work in this field.
Some large employers offer graduate training schemes in marketing, which final year undergraduates can apply for. It's worth researching these early in the final year of study, as competition is fierce.
If you're already working in a field such as sales, purchasing or distribution, it's possible to move to more marketing oriented positions in the same or other organisations - a sideways move may be necessary to start with.
If you're not studying at college or university and wish to enter the marketing industry, it's worth considering a course with the Chartered Institute of Marketing. This training is widely recognised as being the industry standard, so studying in your own time can help you attain a marketing position. The CIM also provide continuing professional development training for those who already work in marketing and wish to develop new specialisms.
Marketing Job Sites
- Simply Marketing Jobs - simplymarketingjobs.co.uk
- Thousands of media, marketing and advertising jobs can be found - www.campaignlive.co.uk/jobs/
- Find the latest marketing jobs on the Guardian Newspaper's job board jobs.theguardian.com