Thinking of working in marketing? Here is a list that shows you what you really need to know if you are considering a career in the field:
1. Don’t be afraid of numbers.
I can’t tell you how many students we’ve come across who say they avoid taking any classes that involve quantitative analysis or statistics. We hate to break it to you but in reality, marketers need numeracy skills every day. Soz.
Marketing is far from pretty pictures and viral video campaigns. It’s about making money for the company you work for. So, you need to be prepared to analyse everything you do otherwise you’re wasting a whole lot of time making decisions without proof that they work or are adding benefit to your business in some way.
Even a social media marketer will spend nearly every day looking at and interpreting charts and graphs. You need to be able to glance at a spreadsheet of numbers, make the proper calculations, and analyse what they mean in regards to engagement.
The good news is that these processes will become second nature quite easily. After a while, it won’t even feel like math but just ‘doing your job’.
2. Forget about pretty pictures and the concept of ‘going viral’.
Effective marketing campaigns focus on creating content that benefits your audience. You can’t spend your whole marketing career creating humorous videos in the hopes it will – aside from going ~ viral ~ draw attention to your brand. You need to be prepared to think critically and analyse the needs of your target audience by asking questions like:
- What do they want?
- What are they confused about?
- Do you have a problem that you are trying to solve?
- How can you best serve them while serving your business?
Answer one of these questions correctly, and your content will naturally reach larger audiences. This is what marketers do. They don’t start out by asking, ‘How can we make this viral?’. It’s all about how they can best serve their brands.
Remember that marketing is about revenue and reputation. So this should be at the heart of what you do.
3. Don’t obsess over the 4 P’s of marketing.
The 4 P’s certainly introduce you to the core concepts of marketing, the chances of you brainstorming how you meet price, product, place, and promotion in the a real-life marketing situation however is unrealistic to say the least.
Your classroom experience wont necessarily mimic an actual job. This is why experience is such an integral part of landing a role and working out which part of marketing suits you.
On that note:
4. Work experience is great on your resume but what you actually learn on the job is better.
An internship is about gaining experiences and perspective in your chosen industry. Having endless internships listed doesn’t make you an expert but it will certainly teach you what you do and don’t like in the industry and where your strengths and opportunities lie.
A prospective employer will be more impressed when they look at your resume and see one or two internships with listed projects you’ve worked across as it shows real engagement, learning and involvement.
5. Having a standard resume doesn’t exemplify modern marketing.
Is your career advisor handing you a template for your resume to adhere to? While we cannot deny that you pay attention (there are certain things like structure and clarity you should always have) it’s important to understand that the job-scape (see what we did there) is changing.
That means your entrance into this evolving industry should be changing too. Have a go at an online resume to highlight your uniqueness, knowledge of the digital field and show, not tell, what your value is.
6. There are endless avenues for employment.
Yes, you can work at a marketing agency. And yes, you could work for a big brand like Coca Cola, Nike, ASOS etc. But there are so many other avenues out there. Have you considered working in-house at a technology company? A small business? In construction? Just because your professors only talk about the campaigns and big brands, doesn’t mean those are the only marketing jobs out there.
7. Get familiar with tech.
You don’t need to be a coding expert, but you do need to understand the basics.
What happens when your web designer goes on holiday? What happens when you need to make a quick fix on your website? Or even just talk to your web designer (and understand the response)? If you end up in a product marketing role, this will be even more crucial.
8. Understand the difference between B2B and B2C.
This is more important than you may realise.
To summarise, B2B = business-to-business, and B2C = business-to-consumer.
Look up the differences; they’ll teach you a lot about different forms of marketing, and possibly where you want to work one day.
9. Consider a job in sales to start with.
Many graduating students want to have a career at a company where they can plan promotional campaigns, study consumer behaviour and buy media time – the skills they’ve learnt at university – straight away. But many of the best marketers around began their career in sales, and this is something you should consider.
Sales teaches you the commercial model of a business, and everything that a marketing team does is leading up to the final product sale – so it is a great skill to have.