Career Close-ups - Marketing

Here at GradTouch we want you to get passionate about your future! But this can be tricky if you don't know what you want to do. That's why we've created our Career Close-ups series. We'll be putting common graduate career paths under the microscope so you can see what they are all about, and ultimately decide if they are right for you. Here we're taking a look at Marketing.

What is Marketing?

Marketing is the principal by which companies use strategies to encourage consumers to choose their offering over their rivals. Essentially, it's how goods or services move from a concept to the customer.


Entry into Marketing can be tricky due to it's popularity amongst graduates. Employers may favour graduates Entrywith a degree or postgraduate qualification in a relevant subject such as business, marketing, statistics or economics, however, don't be dismayed if you haven't got a directly relevant degree. Work experience and internships in marketing tend to be more important in securing graduate jobs in this sector. Common entry level roles include:

Marketing Executive - Involved in developing marketing campaigns to promote a product, service or idea. The role includes planning, advertising, public relations, organising events, product development, distribution, sponsorship and research. They may also be called Marketing Coordinators/Officers.

Marketing Assistant - Marketing Assistants support the work of Marketing Executives/Managers to promote a product, service or idea.

Marketing Graduate Trainee - Marketing Graduate Schemes will vary considerably depending on the company. Most will involve a higher level of more structured training than typical Marketing Assistant/Executive roles.

Market analyst/Researcher - Market analysis or research helps to identify what people do, think, buy or believe and why. The Market researcher provides the information on which an organisation will base or evaluate it's marketing campaigns.

Other entry routes are possible through junior branding or advertising positions.


Typically, a career path in marketing might involve rising from a marketing assistant or graduate trainee to executive, after one or two years perhaps; followed by marketing manager at the two to five year point.

Increasingly, further qualifications, such as those offered by the CIM, are desirable for more senior marketing positions.

The pros

Marketing positions offer a lot of variety in day to day work and can be fast paced and exciting.
Another advantage is that marketers will get to see the results of their work having a direct impact on performance of a business, which can be extremely satisfying.

The cons

One of the main difficulties with a career in marketing can be the entry process itself! It is extremely competitive, particularly for those much coveted graduate schemes.

The fast paced nature of marketing can be a disadvantage as well as an advantage.  Working to tight deadlines, reacting at short notice to  external events and the need to keep up with new marketing methods and trends, can make for a stressful environment.Cons

There is a common misconception that marketing is solely about coming up with really creative ideas. In fact there is another, perhaps less glamorous, side to it- analysis. It's probable you'll have to analyse data to both plan and evaluate marketing campaigns you undertake.

Key skills required

You will need to be:

Analytical - You'll need to be able to digest data and infer conclusions from it.

Creative - Depending on your role, you may be required to write copy for marketing materials and press Skillsreleases or help with the layout and design of media.

Inquisitive - You always need to be looking for the 'why', e.g. 'why did/didn't this work?'

Able to communicate your ideas -  If you are unable to communicate information clearly with colleagues, it’s doubtful you'll be able to create effective communications for clients or customers.

IT competent - It's essential that you have adequate IT skills as marketing is increasingly conducted online.

Commercially aware - An understanding of the market, consumer wants and needs and the business requirements of the client are essential for success in a marketing role.

Jargon buster

Brand - a product or service that has been refined and given a registered name to distinguish it from other products/services.
B2B - business-to-business (providing products/services between businesses).Question markB2C - business-to-consumer (as above but products/services are between business and the end consumer).
CIM - the Chartered Institute of marketing - the leading professional body of the marketing industry
Copy - written material for printing, the text of an advertisement, a press release or an article (before it has been published).
Copywriting - the production of text for marketing materials, such as advertising leaflets, publications and websites.
Digital Marketing - is the promotion of brands, products and services using online, mobile and other interactive channels.
Direct arketing - making direct contact with existing and potential customers to promote your products or services, through emailing, mail, texting or face to face; rather than advertising to a wide audience.
Marketing campaign - a coordinated series of steps that can include promotion of a product/service through different mediums

 Pay scale

Here are the median salaries of the most common marketing positions in the UK: Marketing Pay Scale

Want to learn more about careers in Marketing? Read our interview with Centrica Marketing Graduate, Farrah, here.


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