The field of marketing is extensive, and so are the opportunities for someone graduating with a marketing degree. While one person may seek out the excitement of an advertising agency that serves multiple clients, another might prefer to focus on brand management at a single organization. For someone else, working as a buyer for a retail chain is appealing. A few people might want to get into marketing research. Others might have an aptitude for supply chain management or logistics management, the aspect of supply chain management that focuses on the flow of products between suppliers and customers. Many people are attracted to sales positions because of the potential financial rewards. Let’s look more closely at a few of your options.
If you’re interested in advertising, you’ll probably start out at an advertising agencyMarketing consulting firm that develops and executes promotional campaigns for clients.—a marketing consulting firm that develops and executes promotional campaigns for clients. Professionals work on either the “creative” side (developing ads and other campaign materials) or the business side (acting as liaisons between the firm and its clients). If you’re new, you’ll probably begin as an assistant and work your way up. You might, for example, start as an assistant copywriter, helping to develop advertising messages. Or you could assist an account coordinator, helping in the management of accounts, including the planning and implementation of marketing campaigns.
Brand and product managers are responsible for all aspects of the development and marketing of assigned products. They oversee the marketing program, including marketing research, pricing, distribution, and promotion. They track and analyze sales, gather feedback from customers, and assess the competition. You’d probably join the company as a brand assistant assigned to a more senior-level manager. After a few years, you may be promoted to assistant brand manager and, eventually, to brand manager. At this point, you’d be given responsibility for your own brand or product.
Marketing researchers meet with company managers to determine their information needs. Then they gather and analyze relevant data, write reports, and present their findings and recommendations. If you want to get into this field, you’ll need to acquire some skills in disciplines outside marketing, including statistics, research methods, and psychology. You’ll start out as an assistant, but you may advance comparatively quickly.
Effective supply chain management is vital to success in today’s business environment. Those who start their careers in supply chain management typically work in one of the following areas: purchasing and supply management, transportation and logistics, operations management, or inventory management and control. If this field appeals to you, you’ll need to take courses in several disciplines: management, marketing, operations management, and accounting. If you want to specialize in logistics management, you’ll be happy to know that many organizations—manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, service providers, and transportation carriers—are looking for people interested in physical distribution. If you want to go into this field, you’ll need strong quantitative skills in addition to a background in business with a specialization in marketing.
Retailing offers all sorts of options, such as merchandise buying and store management. As a buyer, you’d select and buy merchandise for a department, a store, or maybe even an entire chain. Store managers display merchandise, supervise personnel, and handle day-to-day operations. Graduates looking for jobs in both areas generally start as trainees and work their way up.
Many marketing graduates begin their careers in sales positions, often for service organizations, such as insurance, real estate, and financial-services companies. Others are employed in the wholesale and retail trades or enter the manufacturing sector, selling anything from industrial goods to pharmaceuticals. To succeed in sales, you need a thorough understanding of customers’ needs and an extensive knowledge of your product. You should also be able to communicate well, and you’ll need strong interpersonal skills. Bear in mind that experience in sales is excellent preparation for almost any position in business.
Do you find a career in marketing interesting? Why or why not? Which of the following marketing career options are most appealing to you—advertising, brand and product management, marketing research, supply chain and logistics management, retailing, or sales? Why?