Where Can Marketing Take You?

Where Can Marketing Take You?

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Marketing courses are increasingly popular. But once qualified, what jobs are available? We take a look at possible career paths open to you with a marketing qualification.

With a marketing qualification under your belt, you will find several career pathways open to you. It is career choice with many different faces and activities, possibly the reason why you chose marketing in the first place.

Understanding the needs and desires of a client or brand and producing the results that allow them to communicate with their customers is incredibly satisfying.

It is a creative profession too, where no two days, clients or campaigns are the same. Aside from looking for employment with companies and organisations, or branching out on your own to offer certain services, what areas could you find yourself working in?

#1 Market Research

This branch of work under the marketing banner involves research the ‘intended target’ or understanding the customer demographic of a certain product, service or brand.

To capture a market, a company must first understand it. By knowing who their customers are, they can create a customer persona.

And from this, they can determine what kind of marketing message will work. It informs everything about a marketing campaign from the language used, the colours, the brand and the slogan.

It also helps to define where their customers are at, meaning which traditional and online marketing tactics will be the ones that successfully reach them.

There are many ways in which market research is done and could include;

  • Surveys
  • Focus groups
  • Reviewing studies and data

A large company may choose to use an in-house team to carry out market research but it is not uncommon for it to be outsourced to a specialist company.

There are various positions under the heading of market research including manager, analyst and director.

Is this the right career choice for you?

To be a successful market researcher, you need to enjoy both the qualitative and quantitative side of things. You will also need to be an analytical thinker, able to identify key trends and to understand what the data is telling you.

It is also a career choice that can see you work directly with the public, something that many people find enjoyable.

#2 Brand Management

Brand management is often the focus of the consumer products industry.

Brand managers have often been likened to ‘small business owners’ within a business. This is because they are responsible for a product or family of products under the brand umbrella.

Larger companies such as Unilever are a large company who employ brand managers to look after their family of products.

For example, Unilever produces well-known brands such as Domestos, Dove, Surf, Magnum and PG Tips to name just five of their extensive brand portfolio,

A brand manager would look after the promotion and marketing of a brand in many ways including;

  • Creating the brand’s essence – that is, how we view a product or the impression we get when we come across it. For example, Magnum is promoted as being decadent and a luxurious ice cream.
  • Map their competitors – by understanding what their competitors are doing, a brand manager could either replicate and improve it, or take the opposite tack.
  • Identify marketing opportunities – fresh ideas mean that potential customers remain drawn to and excited about a product.

To do all of this, brand managers will often work closely with the market research team, guiding them as to the information they need from customers to inform their next promotional campaign.

From this information, they will have the bigger picture from which they can create a marketing strategy.

This strategy may call for a new ad campaign or extend the vision and essence of a brand further so that it targets the right customers.

It is also the brand manager’s job to ensure functions such as promotional campaigns, market research and development alongside manufacturing are implemented along the pathways highlighted by the marketing strategy.

Is this the right career choice for you?

If you are well-motivated and a visionary, as well as possessing managerial and organisational skills, then this could be the career choice for you.

Large global companies frequently advertise brand manager posts and travelling the globe may be something you do as part of this role. Starting salaries are good with the opportunity to progress within the company also high.

#3 Advertising

Advertising and marketing are often two terms that are used interchangeably but they are actually two different things.

Marketing has many different moving parts, so to speak, and is the systematic approach to highlighting the benefits of a product or service to customers.

Advertising is part marketing and can be defined as;

Any ad (no matter what format it takes) is a paid, public (meaning non-personal) announcement that is a persuasive message made by an identifiable sponsor of a company, organization, or person to existing (or potential) customers or a non-profit member base.

The Balance Small Business

There are various positions open to anyone with marketing qualification including account manager, account planner and media buyer.

An account manager would liaise between the advertising agency for whom they work and the client.

Their job is to ensure that the adverts are created and distributed within the allotted time schedule and budget. They focus their work on the client and their needs.

And account planner focuses on the consumer but conducting research into the customer demographic. They are people who get to understand the motives of why people would buy their products and what lies behind the purchasing decision.

The media buyer is the person who finds the places where the ads can be placed. They work closely with the account planner who will have all the information on customer demographic. This way, they make sure they place the adverts where customers will see them.

Is this the career choice for you?

Advertising jobs are usually found in advertising agencies, media organisations and market research firms too. It is a varied career choice but can be competitive. For anyone studying online marketing courses, it can be a great start to their career.

#4 Promotions

Many companies and organisations, no matter how big they are or which industry they dominate, understand the value of continually promoting their products, services and brand.

And this is why they will often have an in-house promotional team.

Coming up with fresh ideas and new ways to promote and generate sales, the promotional team will create all kinds of purchasing incentives including discounts, coupons, samples, gifts with purchases and more.

They will use a range of promotional methods such as offline marketing tactics like direct mail and in-store promotions.

Increasingly, there will be people on the team who specialise in online marketing and promotions too.

Working together, they are the team that will make a difference to a brand.

Is it the right career choice for you?

There is a job in marketing for everyone and for many newly qualified marketing students, this is the role in which they gain a lot of experience, practice the marketing skills they have been taught and understand how the ‘real’ marketing world co-exists.

Businesses large and small will often seek new promotional people to join their team and this kind of work is something that many marketing professionals will offer on a freelance basis.

You will need to be creative, concentrate on the small details as well as appreciate the bigger picture. An understanding of modern society, its values and outlook are important too, essential in stopping promotional campaigns that offend or miss the mark considerably.

#5 Public Relations

Publica relation people manage the company’s or organisation’s communication with media, customers, employees, stakeholders, the general public and investors.

The phrase ‘it was a PR disaster’ refers to when something goes wrong for a brand and as a business, they have to work hard to recapture the good faith and trust of the public or consumer.

PR disasters paint a dull picture but there are times in which brands have responded to PR disasters with compassion, shining a light on how to come back from something negative.

Working in PR isn’t just about fire-fighting when things go wrong. It is a varied role in which PR managers and executives are constantly speaking on behalf of the company, liaising with the world at large to maintain a positive spin on the company and what it offers.

Is it the career choice for you?

It could be if you enjoy writing and being creative. PR managers will often create press releases for events and product launches, as well as deal with any negative issues that may crop up.

PR managers are just employed by private companies, but charities and other organisations, including government and local authorities.

It is an important part of marketing and you will need to be a team player, but also have a professional ability to deal with the media and the public.

Marketing qualifications – opening doors

A marketing qualification certainly presents you with many opportunities. From working with start-ups to help them become a success to being employed by a large company, there are many pathways. Which one will you choose?

Nick Cooper
Nick is NCC's resident blog author and covers a range of subjects, including teaching and health & social care. NCC is an international learning provider with over 20 years’ experience offering learning solutions. To date, NCC has engaged with over 20,000 employers, and delivered quality training to over half a million learners.
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