Marketing is an exciting and fast-growing profession. The evolution of traditional advertising into today’s multi-channel, technical powerhouse of a profession is nothing short of inspiring. The speed at which marketing has exploded in the digital world has opened many doors for would-be marketers with a variety of skill sets.
According to the Australian Government’s Job Outlook, the Department of Jobs and Small Business indicates projects strong growth in the marketing and advertising industry over the next five years. Currently in Australia there are 74,800 marketers – and counting.
If you’re considering a career in marketing, here are our tips on how to best apply your skills to the industry, decide whether marketing is right for you and get that foot of yours into the digital door of the marketing industry.
What does marketing involve?
Simply put, marketing bridges the divide between a business and their customers. We are master dot-connectors bringing people together by creating and delivering strategic campaigns.
In today’s digital world, marketing has many moving parts and piecing a campaign together successfully can be quite the process.
Marketers are always analysing data for patterns to predict future consumer trends. We are responsible for the planning and implementation of advertising campaigns which meet specific goals and objectives, typically revolving around brand awareness and sales.
Where does a marketer work?
We become deeply entrenched in the marketing world typically via one of three avenues.
Employed by a marketing agency
A marketer employed by an agency would usually be required to work consistently across many different clients who have engaged the services of the agency. An agency marketer generally needs to demonstrate the ability to adapt to, and drive successful outcomes for a wide variety of industries, unless the agency specialises their services to a particular niche.
The main advantage of working with an agency is that you learn FAST, and can become familiar with a wide variety of marketing functions; both digital and traditional. Usually you will be required to work closely with writers, strategists, developers, account managers, designers and other talented creatives. The agency environment is fast-paced and competitive but all the while rewarding. As a newbie to marketing you might have the opportunity to get your foot in the door via work experience or an internship to gain valuable real-world experience and skills.
Work in-house for a business or Organisation
Many companies prefer hiring an in-house marketing team over engaging the services of an external agency. As an in-house marketer you would be required to get to know the operation of the business very quickly and have a sound understanding of the business goals, objectives, current position in the market and competition. A background in the industry would be seen as advantageous, and many companies will be looking for solid marketing experience. A business or company may still recruit marketers by way of an internship if you possess the skills they are looking for. You would work closely with management, senior staff and sales teams to ensure your marketing efforts assist and align with the day-to-day running of the business.
Freelance or Independent Marketer
Prefer to run the show as a one-person marketing band? Freelancing is considered by many as the ultimate freedom and lifestyle choice…work from home and be your own boss, what could be better? In a perfect world you would be able to pick and choose the companies you work with, which in some cases could include marketing agencies if they outsource, and/or with businesses and companies.
Beginning your marketing career as a freelancer is challenging. To entrust your services from a distance, most companies will be looking for proven experience and raving customer testimonials. You may be able to get your foot in the freelancing door if you have a business or sales background, or have another particular set of skills a client is looking for. It’s just a matter of finding the right clients!
What qualifications do you need to get into marketing?
Given that this is a fast growing industry that shows no sign of slowing down, there are many courses you can take both on and offline to gain formal qualifications.
Bachelor of Business (Marketing)
Offered by most Universities, the bachelor’s degree is usually earned over three years. If you plan to study online or part-time, it could take up to six years to complete. With a bachelor’s degree under your belt you’re pretty much guaranteed to gain employment in the marketing industry, whether via graduate programs or full employment. If that sounds too hard don’t be discouraged!!
Fun Fact: Only half of the marketers employed in Australia have bachelor’s degrees. The rest got in via internships and work experience, and/or business acumen, hard work, talent and creativity.
Other Marketing Qualifications
Diploma of marketing and communication
This diploma usually takes 6 – 12 months to complete. Offered both on and offline by many Universities and Tafes, you will develop creative and business communication skills, learn how to identify and interpret market trends, and implement marketing strategies. A Diploma of Marketing and Communication is a lovely addition to your resume.
Certificate IV in Marketing and Communication
If you’re not quite ready for a diploma, a Cert IV is a great way to discover if marketing seems like the right career pathway for you. Offered at Tafe and by many online learning organisations, this qualification will develop your skills and prepare you for finding some guidance in the big wide marketing world.
Other qualifications for consideration
Diploma of Social Media Marketing
If you’re particularly social savvy and want to clearly define your niche this will prep you on your way to becoming a social media professional.
Certified Digital Marketing Professional (CDMP) Course
Offered by the Monarch Institute the course will give you a digital marketing qualification that is world recognised.
A short course offered by Skillsoft which will give you a foundation in core marketing principles like product, price, place, promotion and people.
Getting into marketing without a formal qualification
If the academic pathway is not your cup of tea, you can still find your way into marketing. There are a plethora of soft skills and personality traits that many employers and clients will look for, often-times glazing over a candidate’s formal qualifications in preference for the following:
- Exceptional communication skills
- Interpersonal skills and the ability to relate to people of all walks of life
- Versatility, adaptability and resilience
- Research and analysis skills
- Problem solving abilities
- Business acumen
- Creativity and imagination
- Positive outlook and sense of humour (where appropriate)
If all or any of those describe you… make sure you add them to your CV! In marketing they can be just as valuable as a formal education.
Culture is a HUGE thing in a digital marketing agency. We work to tight deadlines, need to be agile and think on our feet. Each facet needs to work together like a well-oiled machine. Being a sound cultural fit is a major advantage as you need to cooperate and get along with your fellow colleagues.
Marketing Internships and Work Experience
Many marketing companies LOVE interns. They often bring a lot of energy, raw talent and a fresh perspective to the office. We have seen many a talented intern go on to BIG things very quickly in marketing.
Applying for an Internship
Since there are so many internship variables, there is no one way to apply. Organisations with established and structured internship programs can be easily contacted, and candidates need only to send their application to the relevant authorities (whether by mail or online) before the “closing date”.
However, many organisations (particularly SMEs) may not specify whether or not they offer internships. In these cases the student must be proactive, and approach the organisation (usually by email), respectfully asking whether they would consider offering an internship.
You should detail the reasons you’re interested in their company, and pitch what you can offer their business should you be accepted. If the organisation shows interest, you should follow these steps:
- Forward your killer CV (there are tons of awesome templates on free sites like Canva)
- Follow up all communications in a timely manner
- If you’re invited to an interview, demonstrate your interest in their organisation, and honestly outline your abilities, experiences and relevant qualities.
Other ways to accelerate your marketing career
All of these initiatives look positively sparkly on a marketing CV.
Attend as many marketing workshops, seminars, conferences and webinars as you can! Make learning your favourite hobby.
What better way to learn than from the best in the business! By attending marketing events you get to rub shoulders with potential employers and learn brand new marketing tips, strategies and trends. You’ll walk away with all the handy marketing lingo and the confidence (or maybe not) that you’ve chosen the right career path.
Take short courses on areas of interest to you
You can take courses on sites such as Udemy for as little as $10! You might apply this to upskill in an area you already have talent in, or to learn the tricks of the trade from an industry professional. Just make sure whatever courses you take are SUPER current (like literally only months old) marketing is a fast-moving vessel and you don’t want to begin your journey learning old news.
Get yourself a mentor!
Mentoring expert Bob Proctor said “A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you than you see in yourself.”
Get yourself onto LinkedIn to find and connect with leaders in the marketing field. Who inspires you and makes you want to be like them? Or even better, who fills you with confidence in your abilities to pursue a career in marketing?
Sure, most of us can’t afford to engage the actual coaching and mentoring services of these power-people; but you can read their books, listen to their podcasts, and take their courses. Engage with influencers posts and surround yourself with marketing professionals and materials. You’ll be surprised at how much you learn just through observation alone.
Other handy skills looked upon favourably in Marketing
- Web Development
- Writing Skills
- Film and Camera Experience
So What’s it Like Working in Marketing?
In one word…EXCITING! This is an industry that is always changing. The next day is never like the last. Aussie businesses and their entrepreneurial owners are doing amazing innovative things out there, and it’s a pleasure to help showcase their offerings to the world.
It can be a demanding and stressful job at times, and we are only human. If you think your life is going to become an episode of Mad Men, then you might be slightly disappointed. If you’re looking for something cruisy, marketing is probably not for you. We need to think, pivot and dance on our feet to get the desired results for our clients; but when we set their brand sailing and help them achieve their goals, the reward is hard to beat.