Choosing a career in marketing can lead a person in many different directions within the defined roles of marketing. Composed of many facets and activities marketing careers offer a variety of avenues for the career minded to explore while offering growth and opportunities for advancement. A common denominator for many who choose a career in this field is the sense of ownership, or entrepreneurial spirit with regards to the products or services that they are working to market. Marketing requires that an understanding of customers' needs and desires be acquired and then translated into both product development as well as communications as part of the marketing strategy. This paper will explore what is entailed in a career in marketing, as well as what the future holds for the profession. Because marketing professionals are needed by every company and in every industry, the career potential and chances for finding ones niche within the career field are virtually unlimited.
Basics of Marketing
A good definition of marketing is the process of the intermediary function between product development and sales. (Reddy ) The field of marketing entails taking a generic product or generic service (the product or services do not have to be "generic" they may be actually unique to the marketplace) and associating the generic product with a brand name (Petty 2001). Under this generic concept are the activities of advertising, public relations, media planning, sales strategy and so on.
Marketing professionals create, manage and/or enhance brands in order to create or bolster demand for the product. A successful marketing plan will help assure that consumers look beyond just the price or function of a product when making a purchasing decision, in part, a well planned marketing effort will create a "feel good" association about the product the consumer is about to purchase (Petty) A key part of a career in marketing is to understand the needs, preferences, and constraints that define the target group of consumers or the market niche corresponding to the brand. This is done by market research. This is accomplished through market research, essentially using survey techniques, statistics, psychology and social understanding to help gather information on what consumers want and/or need, and then designing products, or services, to hopefully meet those needs. (Hills 1994)
Career tracks in marketing are numerous and make use of a range of personalities, academic specialties, and talents. (Beckman & Davidson 1997) A short list of some of the categories that fall under a career in marketing are:
Each relies on a combination of similar and decidedly different individual talents, knowledge and strengths to be effective in the job. An examination of each sub-field above will give a better insight into what each entails.
Market Research involves researching the intended target. That target can be companies or individuals. (Petty) In order for a company to capture a market it must first be able to understand that market. Research involves the first process of understanding the consumer, what their needs are, what their purchasing habits are, and how they view themselves in relation to the rest of the world.
Market research is conducted by using surveys, focus groups, and reviewing studies. Doing this enables researchers to collect data on a specific brand's target. Market research can be done in-house, or a company may hire a specialized firm to conduct the research.
People who might find market research a desirable field often possess both qualitative and quantitative analytical abilities, because the job depends on the ability to gather data from human subjects, crunch numbers, and interpret the results accurately. Within the field of market research are research director, research manager, analyst, interviewer and supervisor.
Brand management is the career track probably most familiar to those who are aware of the marketing profession. It is the key function in the consumer products industry. (Locke 2001) Brand managers can be likened to small business owners because they assume responsibility for a brand or brand family. They are always focused on the big picture. (Locke) It is their job to distill the brand's core, map out their competitors in their brand's category, identify marketing opportunities, and be able to effectively communicate the unique benefits of that product or service.
Brand managers are also responsible for guiding the market research team by setting the agenda and criteria and also selecting the stimuli, such as product-benefit statement, pictures, product samples, and video clips. Once the research is complete it is the brand manager's job to analyze the data that's been collected then develop a marketing strategy.
This marketing strategy can call for a new ad campaign, development of new products, or drawing out a new vision for the brand. It is also the brand manager's job to ensure that other functions such as promotions, market research, research and development, and manufacturing are orchestrated to implement the strategy that they have developed.
Careers in product and brand management tend to attract high potential, well motivated individuals who can accept broad responsibilities easily and with little supervision, communicate well with other people, are willing to do some traveling, and thrive on constant change. Starting salaries are good, with career and compensation advancement based on achievement. (Reddy 1998)
It is not uncommon to find a dedicated promotions team in marketing firms. (Reddy) This team works on creating programs that unite advertising to purchase incentives such as special discounts, coupons, samples, and gifts with purchase, rebates, and sweepstakes. In order to promote these programs the promotion team will often use direct mail, telemarketing, in-store displays, advertisements, product endorsements, or special kick-off events. The nature of promotions means that traits like creativity and judgment are highly valued.
In advertising, you will work with all aspects of marketing from strategy to concept to the execution of the strategy. Although many think of advertising as a creative person putting together
Perhaps you’ve thought about pursuing a career in marketing but you’re not quite sure if it is right for you.
You need additional information so that you can make an informed decision.
A career in marketing can mean many things.
Some who work in the field of marketing are focused on advertising and for others it is more closely related to sales jobs. A marketing job may require you to be heavily involved in creative design or instead, place you in the role of analytics and research.
Why marketing? Well, why not? Marketing has such a wide range of positions, there’s likely to be one that will suit you!
From management to consulting and large corporations to small businesses, there will always be a need for marketing professionals. How can businesses find buyers for its products otherwise? Remember, even churches ring their bells!
Why Do You Want to Work in Marketing?
If you find you are interested in promotion, branding, selling, communications, creative design, or research, then you are probably well-suited to a marketing career.
Marketing can be a stimulating job where you have the opportunity to be creative.
Marketing is interactive and you may find yourself working with interesting people on exciting campaigns.
You can also incorporate your personal interests into your career by targeting a marketing career with a specific focus. For instance, say you are very involved with and interested in environmental issues. You can steer your education and career in that direction.
Become a marketing specialist in the area of your choosing!
The Marketing Career – Things to Consider
As we’ve discussed marketing jobs come in many different shapes and sizes, the nature of your work and the demand for your skills will depend on the industry in which you are employed.
The good news is Internet use and the growth of social media has played a significant role in the need for marketing professionals. Internet presence is extremely important to business success these days and they also must communicate effectively through the use of social media.
Strong communication skills are essential marketing. Keep in mind, many marketing professionals work under tight deadlines.
In some marketing careers extensive travel is required, in others, none at all.
If you are considering a career in marketing, take the time to research different professional areas and the requirements for each. Weigh the pros and cons of working in different environments and industries. Once you’ve done this you can target your marketing career and then do what it takes to market yourself to the hiring organization!
Lynn Mattoon is a Content Editor & Career Writer for Beyond.com career communities. You can follow her on Twitter at BeyondCareers.
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