So you want to build a career in Marketing?
Marketing jobs involves a very broad field in which many different tasks might be required of you, depending on the company and what they decide is included in the marketing department of their business. It’s closely intertwined with almost all departments of a business, and heavily involves customers more than any other department.
In general, it involves understanding the needs and wants of customers, and finding ways to provide a service or product to them, based on their needs. It requires you to identify customers’ needs, anticipate when and how they will need it, and then providing them with the supply when they do need it. But ultimately, marketing jobs entail providing customers with what they need in order to make a profit for the company. Marketing and sales jobs produce revenue from the products that the company makes. In other words, they create the customers for the company.
They can vary so much because they consist of almost all activities needed in order to get a product off the drawing board, into the public, and into the hands of customers.
Professor Neil Borden of Harvard University identified what is known as the “Marketing Mix” consisting of four elements: Product, Pricing, Placement, and Promotion. Some marketing jobs are in research, figuring out what is desirable to customers (Product). Another dimension to marketing involves pricing strategies, and setting a price that makes it appealing to the customer due to cost and function that is expressed to them through advertising efforts (Pricing). Other jobs involve deciding which channels to utilize the get the already price product out to market, be it retail, wholesale, mail-order only, or online (Placement). Finally, there are jobs in which you are solely responsible for the promotion of a product, using tools such as public relations, advertising and “marcom” or marketing communications to enable people to know about a product that has been produced, priced, placed and now available.
But with marketing jobs needing to focus on the customers’ needs, some state that the Marketing Mix above is inside-out, with companies needing to build a product that customers want, not the other way around.
To further complicate the already muddied clarification of marketing, there are many more specialty areas under this field. With the advent of social media, social media marketing jobs are in high demand. There’s global, international, political, product, direct, database, and nowadays, mobile marketing jobs which are very popular with the mobile applications leading modern technology. With the latest boom of search engines, scrapers, and spiders for search engines, Search Engine Marketing is also a very popular position within this field.
Having a successful career in marketing, therefore, involves a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience in various facets of business. For one job, you may be involved in product creation and development where a company has found a need in “society” (customers) and is performing all research and development (R&D) in order to bring the product to life. For another, you may be involved in brainstorming how to take a product that already exists to market, by researching which stores to place your product in, which to leave it out of, which channels to use (Internet? Wholesale? Direct mail? Retail?), and which to avoid for your particular product. Marketing jobs must associate with all other departments in the company, including business development, research and development, sales, and customer service in order to complete many assigned tasks.
While it may be the most ambiguous division in a company, having a marketing position enables one to gain a very broad range of experiences and will open the door to many other positions in your career.