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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.