Marketing is one of most popular and diverse creative sectors to work in.
There are a multitude of roles that fall under the term 'marketing', so with an abundance of options it is hard to know where to begin. Marketing enables you to promote goods or services, connect with companies, and satisfy customer requirements, but there are various occupations that mean you will be completing different tasks.
Why work in marketing?
If you are in the early stages of your researching possible careers, it is always worth considering the benefits. These are some of the reasons that a role in marketing might appeal to you:
- Travel opportunities
When thinking about what role you would like to have in the marketing sector, there is a wide variety to choose from. However, there are various structures to consider as both create different working environments and demands.
This would mean that you are embedded within a broader company and the marketing department is solely for this one organisation. In-house marketing departments are more focussed and consistent in project work. You will become more familiar with the company that you are marketing for rather than numerous external customers. However, this is likely to lead to repetitive tasks.
This differs in that everyone who works around you will have a likeminded job that focuses just on marketing tasks. You will work more with external companies. Working in an agency will give you more creativity and control over the campaigns that you will be assigned. Agencies
tend to have a more highly-pressured environment but there is a greater selection of projects available that you are able to work on, which allows you to enhance your team working skills.
It is also possible to work freelance but this tends to be not as common with freelancers taking up 23% of the number of employees. Freelancers are always in demand as many companies need those in the marketing profession for short-term projects. This might be to promote their brand or product but at your own rate. Starting off as a freelancer is always hard as you have to start somewhere in order to build up your name and reputation. However, once achieved you will be more likely to grab the attention of possible clients and gain regular customers. Freelancing can
mean that work is unpredictable but is a great opportunity to work with a wide range of companies.
Depending on the type of career you are interested in, there are many different roles advertised throughout the whole year. These include:
Account managers liaise with clients to administer the campaigns that have been assigned. They also coordinate the work of their staff. Account managers are responsible for planning proposals and monitoring the work progress.
Advertising is just one element of marketing and is necessary to persuade a target audience to use their product or services. This is a highly creative role, especially due to the expansion of advertising platforms.
Brand management is similar to account management in the tasks it entails but is less inclined to involve economics.
Communications and public relations (PR)
Public relations is a sub-component of marketing and focuses on maintaining the reputation of the company. This would involve writing press releases to share information of the organisation. Those who work in public relations act as the representatives of the company when they engage in public events.
Content marketing centres on distributing material online to stimulate a consistent interest in a product or service to a particular target audience, consequently encouraging them to act. This usually works alongside branding as this is what is used to retain public interest.
With the growth of online media, digital marketing has seen a rapid increase over recent years. This is a fast-paced industry due to the speed of information being shared, therefore it is more essential than ever to stay up to date online.
Conducting market research involves collating information, both qualitative and quantitative, once consulting with their clients. They are also in charge of researching in accordance with the company’s techniques policy.
Sales promotion centres around achieving a short-term increase in sales. These employees are tasked with devising promotional techniques to ensure profit is maximised.
Social media marketing
Social media marketing may get confused with digital marketing as the two work in similar ways. The difference is that this career focuses purely on using social media to share content in order to achieve the set targets by the company.
Web design and development
A job in web design is also quite a tailored role to a particular area of the overall process, but most certainly is essential. The main focus here is
to keep the website of the company up to date but communicating across the departments such as sales promotion and digital marketing to ensure the most efficient techniques are used to deliver the correct messages to the public.
Due to the variety of jobs in this sector, it is important to research into what choices are available as each require different experience and skills.
Due to the scope of options within marketing, it is important to consider the skills needed for the roles you are interested in. It is essential to think about how and where you gain these as not all of the required skills may be attainable through your degree. Ways to enhance these skills may be to get involved in the Law society to participate in competitions, join the student newspaper Concrete, or a sports clubs. Throughout the year, the Student’s Union hires a new wave of employees for
their different venues, such as the bar and shop, which would be an excellent way to broaden your experiences whilst develop skills desired by employers.
If you want to pursue a career in marketing then these are important skills to develop:
- Ability to work under pressure
- Analytical skills
- Commercial awareness
- Confidence to present and explain ideas
- Customer service skills
- Digital skills
- Team work
Remember that the key to gaining such a broad set of skills is engagement and participation.
‘’You need to be very self-motivated as Marketing is often at the very heart of a network of departments, all focused on delivering the best possible product and experience to the customers.’’- Adam, BA English Literature, European Marketing Director, OnePlus
It is important to stress that you do not always need a degree in marketing or any related subject to start out in the sector, as employers simply call for a 2.1 grade in any discipline. There are various ways to demonstrate your flair and enthusiasm for marketing by showing your initiative to get involved through work experience alongside your Arts and Humanities degree. Employers are more inclined to favour relevant skills, attributes and the work experience you have gained.
In addition to obtaining a degree in any discipline, many employers ask for additional marketing qualifications. This will make your application more appealing, as it shows the motivation and desire you have to work within this sector. Moreover, it allows you to put into practice and develop the required skills before you enter or while you work in the sector.
You can check links on the Professional Bodies for more information about additional qualifications at the end of this page.
‘’On top of my degree in American Studies, I also completed a marketing qualification and internship. Without these additional experiences and qualification, I know I would have struggled to get my first job in this field straight after graduation.’’- Nick, BA American Studies, Marketing Manager, Exo Investing
‘’Experience, experience, experience is the number one thing you need after leaving university to get into PR! Get as much work experience and apply for internships, and you will get all the new skills you need.’’- Sarah, BA Society, Culture and Media, Fundraising Press & PR Officer, Breast Cancer Care
Nothing is more vital before entering the marketing sector than getting work experience. This will set you apart and allow you to gain first-hand experience of what the work will be like, as well as provide you with a useful understanding of the roles you are interested in before you start applying to them. Moreover, it will make you more desirable by employers as you have taken the initiative to gain work experience before entering the sector. When taking on work experience, it is likely that you will be able to shadow a current employer and assist with tasks such as managing social media, contacting clients, conducting researching as well as other admin roles.
Work experience opportunities are advertised repeatedly throughout the year, but when formal vacancies are not advertised then it may be appropriate to send a speculative application. This will show your eagerness to work in this sector or for a particular company, as well as enhancing your networking skills. Experience can even be in a related field of purchasing, distribution or sales for example, as these broaden your skills and will make your application unique.
A good way to get work experience is through an internship. These typically run over the summer to enable you to fully commit to the role and get the most out of the experience. Internships are highly competitive but are certainly a valuable approach to develop the necessary skills that are
required for this sector. Applications tend to open from January to April so this is the time to be considering whether this is a route you would like to pursue. Frequently check the Career Central vacancy page to research what internships are available.
Any experience is better than no experience, so make the most of your time while at UEA as well as the resources available to you. By booking an appointment with Career Central, you can receive help from the application process to the interview stage.
- Gain an awareness of the sector.
- Research the roles within the sector and see what is on offer and what appeals to you.
- Using university and work experience, try to develop some of the skills that are often required on job applications. Think about how you can gain these transferable skills through your chosen experiences.
- Attend careers fairs, either at university or further afield, as this is where opportunities will be promoted.
- Browse for further opportunities online. Some job offers may not be advertised on vacancy sites so check various platforms such as social media.
- Enhance your networking platforms, such as LinkedIn, to connect with those already working in the sector.
- Gain work experience!
- Research graduate schemes. Companies such as EE, Morrisons and Sky are some examples that offer graduate schemes. Remember that these are in-house marketing departments.
- Consider whether professional qualifications are necessary and how you may go about
Names to familiarise yourself with
Companies currently running market graduate schemes (this does change year-on-year, but using the search function in Prospects.ac.uk allows you to look for Marketing schemes,
Well-known digital marketing, advertising, and communications agencies
- AMV BBDO
- BD Network
- Leo Burnett
- Publicis Worldwide UK
- We Are Social
- Global employers in marketing
- B2B International
- Ipsos MORI
- Kantar Millward Brown
Important: Some schemes only accept graduates with Business and Marketing qualifications – something we think is short-sighted!
Questions to consider
- Would you like to work for an in-house marketing department, a marketing agency, or even work freelance?
- Who would you like to work for? Do you prefer a bigger or smaller company?
- Where would you like to work?
- Do you need to undertake extra marketing qualifications?
- Does the marketing department or agency provide on-the-job training?
‘’I got my first job in marketing through the UEA internship website. The position taught me about the industry and gave me the skills to move to the world leading marketing agency Fountain Partnership.’’- David, BA History, MA Early Modern History, Digital Marketing Consultant, The Fountain Partnership
General websites like Prospects and Target Jobs are useful as a starting point. They will provide you with an overview of the sector and other information such as skills sought after, and action to take before graduating.
Professional bodies and associations
The Direct Marketing Association
Chartered Institute of Marketing
The Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing
Institute of Promotional Marketing
Marketing Agencies Association
Chartered Institute of Public Relations
The Institute of Internal Communications
Content Marketing Institute
Use professional association sites to discover about qualifications and training on offer. Moreover, this will provide you with detail of what the sector will be like when you enter it.
Local marketing employers
These sites listed are excellent tools to conduct research into which jobs are currently being advertised. Make sure to check more than one site as not all jobs will be shared everywhere. Each site will have different search filters also which may be helpful if you are finding a job in a particular
area for example.
LinkedIn is a good way of researching local Marketing, Communications and PR Companies. By following organisations you will be informed of opportunities, and it helps to research any speculative applications for work experience or internships.
If you would like any careers advice, ranging from applications to further study, CVs and interviews, book an appointment through Career Central with your Careers Adviser. Career Central also offer a wide variety of events throughout the year, and repeatedly update their vacancy page for
volunteering, part time and graduate jobs across the country. Mentoring and internships are also available through Career Central, so make sure you look online or visit them on The Street to find out more.