If you are creative and have good business sense, a career in marketing might be the perfect fit.
Marketing is everywhere. No matter where you turn, you see it – that ad in the newspaper, TV commercial, jingle on the radio, grocery store poster, bumper sticker, email ad, and web site are all created as part of a marketing campaign intended to do one thing: compel you to buy a product.
There are many different areas of marketing, and while some professionals in this field have one specialty area, others handle multiple areas.
Marketing Career Paths
- Advertising Sales - Also referred to as Account Executives, these individuals seek out businesses to purchase advertising space with their company. They typically work for a radio or TV station, newspaper, magazine, or Internet publisher. Sales can be conducted by phone or in person, which may include traveling and socializing with potential ad space buyers. Professionals in this area usually work on a base salary plus commission, and overall earnings can be very good.
- Media Planning - There are many different ways a product can be marketed. Some are more traditional, and others are more innovative:
Booth at conference
Donation to charity
Internet pop-up ad
Patterns in a corn field
Media planning identifies where the product should be advertised, based on who is likely to buy the product. For example, Oscar Mayer might advertise their kid-targeted Lunchables product on a billboard at a little league field since they know parents of children will be there to see it, and children will be reminded to ask their parents to buy it. It may be the Media Planner's duty to purchase advertising spots. Like other careers in marketing, this area of employment will also continue to grow.
- Market Research Analysts - The main purpose of marketing is to sell a product. To determine if the product will sell, how/where to advertise the product, and whether or not the product actually did sell, marketing research must be done. For example, before a product is developed or launched, market research is conducted to find out:
After the product has been introduced, marketers must do more research to find out what worked…and what did not. By analyzing those answers, marketers will be better prepared for their next product launch.
- Who is going to be interested in this product?
- Where should it be advertised so they see it?
- What will the buyer most want to know about this product?
- Does a similar product already exist? How will this product be better?
- How much are people willing to pay for this product?
- Should an incentive be used to introduce this product (e.g. coupon or sweepstakes)?
- Public Relations - Public Relations (PR) professionals are the spokesperson for their company. They are in charge of getting the word out to the public about a product, company, event or news item. They are also responsible for making sure the correct message is getting across and managing the public perception of the product. Duties of PR include:
- Writing and distributing press releases
- Finding bloggers to write about a specific product
- Engaging in social media such as Facebook and Ning
- Monitoring what people are saying about the company in newspapers and online
- Pitching story ideas to newspaper and internet reporters
- Survey Researchers - Whereas Marketing Research Analyst sort through all types of data, Survey Researchers focus solely on designing and conducting surveys. Companies in all types of industries use surveys to find out if their customers are satisfied with a product and the experiences they've had with that company. Survey Researchers must determine how to best reach the group they wish to question, and what will entice that group to respond (and respond honestly). They may use mail, phone, internet or in-person techniques.
Advancement Opportunities for Marketing Professionals
Opportunities for growth in marketing careers typically include greater accountability for marketing decisions and supervision of department employees. Certifications are offered by professional organizations for some marketing specialties (such as public relations) and may require a certain number of years working in the field. Companies and agencies that offer management training programs can put new grads on the fast-track to career growth. Advanced education (such as an MBA) can help accelerate both responsibilities and salary of marketing professionals.