A career in marketing can be extremely rewarding, both financially and professionally. That’s because marketing is a dynamic and rapidly-growing industry, which offers many opportunities for those with the right skill set.
However, it can also be a very competitive industry to get into. There are lots of marketers with highly sought-after skills, so it’s important that you know how to stand out from the crowd.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the key things you need to know about how to start a career in marketing and give you some top tips to get you started.
So, if you’re interested in a career in marketing, read on to find out everything you need to know.
What is marketing?
Before we dive into the details of how to start a career in marketing, it’s important to have a basic understanding of what marketing is.
In its simplest form, marketing is the process of creating and delivering messages that promote the sale of products or services. Marketing also includes the planning and execution of advertising and promotional campaigns.
However, marketing is much more than just selling and advertising. It’s also about understanding your target audience, researching their needs and wants, and then creating a unique offering that meets their needs.
It’s also important to understand that marketing is an extremely dynamic and ever-changing industry. This means that there are always new opportunities for those with the right skill set.
Why start a career in marketing?
There are many reasons why you might want to consider starting a career in marketing.
Firstly, marketing is a very creative industry. If you enjoy coming up with new ideas and thinking outside the box, then marketing could be the perfect career for you.
Secondly, marketing is also a very strategic industry. This means that those who excel in marketing are often good at planning and executing campaigns that achieve specific objectives.
Thirdly, marketing is an extremely fast-paced and ever-changing industry. This means that there are always new opportunities for those with the right skill set.
And finally, marketing is a very competitive industry. This means that those who excel in marketing often have very high earning potential.
The difference between working in-house vs agency
One of the first decisions you’ll need to make when starting a career in marketing is whether you want to work in-house or at an agency.
There are pros and cons to both options, so it’s important that you weigh up the different factors before making a decision.
In-house marketing teams are usually responsible for the marketing of a specific company or product. This means that they have a good understanding of the company’s products and services, as well as its target audience.
In-house marketers also have a good understanding of the company’s brand identity and how to communicate this to their target audience.
However, working in-house can also be very limiting. In-house marketers usually have less freedom to be creative, and their campaigns are often more closely monitored by senior management.
Working at an agency gives you the opportunity to work on a variety of different accounts, which can be both exciting and challenging.
Agencies also tend to have more freedom when it comes to creativity, as they’re not restricted by the same brand guidelines as in-house teams.
However, working at an agency can also be very demanding, and you may often find yourself having to juggle time between clients and deliver projects with tight deadlines.
To learn more, check out our article on in-house vs outsourced marketing.
Choosing a specialism
For in-house marketers, your skills will often be more general. However, when starting a career at a marketing agency, you’ll need to choose a specialism.
There are many different marketing specialisms, including graphic design, social media, email marketing, copywriting, web development, and video/animation.
Each specialism has its own unique skill set, so it’s important that you choose one that matches your skills and interests. You’ll also need to be prepared for ongoing learning and development as new technologies and trends emerge in relation to your specialism.
However, working on multiple accounts at a marketing agency often requires you to wear different hats, so it’s important that you’re able to be adaptable and have a good understanding of the different marketing channels and techniques.
That’s why working towards becoming a ‘T-shaped’ employee is well worth your time.
A ‘T-shaped’ employee is an individual with a deep understanding of one particular specialism, as well as a good knowledge of other marketing disciplines.
This means that they’re able to provide valuable insights and contributions to projects that require multi-disciplinary teams.
Being a ‘T-shaped’ employee can be extremely valuable to marketing agencies, as it allows them to offer a more comprehensive service to their clients.
It’s also worth noting that many of the most successful marketers are ‘T-shaped’ employees. So if you’re looking to start a career in marketing, it’s well worth your time to develop a good understanding of different marketing disciplines.
Key marketing skills
There are a number of key skills that you’ll need to succeed in marketing. These include:
- Communication: Marketing is all about communication, so it’s essential that you have strong written and verbal communication skills. You’ll also need to be able to present your ideas in a clear and concise way.
- Creativity: To be successful in marketing, you’ll need to be able to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions to problems.
- Teamwork: Marketing is a team sport, so it’s essential that you’re able to work effectively in a team. This means being able to collaborate with others, as well as being able to take direction from senior team members.
- Time management: Marketing is a fast-paced industry, so it’s essential that you’re able to manage your time effectively. This means being able to prioritise tasks and work to tight deadlines.
- Adaptability: Working on multiple accounts and the fact that the marketing industry is constantly changing means it’s important that you’re able to adapt to change quickly. Be open to new ideas, and be willing to try new things.
- Resilience: Working in marketing can be challenging, and sometimes you may need to change your approach on your journey towards success – so it’s important that you’re able to deal with setbacks and continue working towards your goals.
Creating a portfolio of work
When you’re starting out in your marketing career, it’s useful to have a portfolio of work on hand to showcase your potential to employers.
Your portfolio should demonstrate your skills and highlight your successes. It can include anything from creative pieces to your analysis of past campaigns.
If you don’t have any previous work to showcase, there are a number of ways you can create a portfolio.
One option is to create mockups for potential projects. This could involve coming up with concepts for ad campaigns or designing social media posts.
Another option is to write blog posts or articles on marketing-related topics. This is a great way to demonstrate your understanding of different marketing concepts.
Getting started in digital marketing
If you feel ready to take the plunge into digital marketing, you’re in good company – digital marketing is one of the most popular career choices for marketing graduates.
There are a number of ways to get started in digital marketing. One option is to find a graduate job with a digital marketing agency. Just under a third (32%) of marketing graduates are working as marketing associate professionals, so this is a good place to start your search.
Another option is to complete an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are a great way to learn on the job, and they’re becoming increasingly popular in the marketing industry.
If you’re not sure you want to commit to a full-time job or apprenticeship, another option is to start freelancing. This can be a great way to get your foot in the door and build up your experience.
Digital marketing is a fast-paced and constantly changing industry, which means there are always new opportunities on the horizon. As you develop your skills and experience, you may find yourself moving into management or taking on more responsibility for digital strategy within your organisation.
Or, if you’re feeling ambitious, you could start your own digital marketing agency. This is a great way to be your own boss and build a business around something you’re passionate about.
If you’re thinking about starting a career in marketing, working with an agency is a great option to consider. You’ll gain the broad range of skills and experience it takes to thrive in the digital marketing sector as a whole, and there are plenty of opportunities to get started, whether you’re looking for a graduate job, an apprenticeship, or a freelance project.
And, with digital marketing skills in high demand, you can be sure that there will be plenty of opportunities for career progression in the years to come.
If you’re interested in launching your career in a digital marketing agency, get in touch about our apprenticeship opportunities today.