How to get into marketing

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How to get into marketing

Think you could create the kind of message which gets people talking or rushing to the nearest shop? If that sounds like you, marketing might be just the job you’re looking for.

In this guide, you’ll find out what marketing is, how to get into marketing and what qualifications you’ll need to get there.

'It’s all about getting a message across. If you’re a brilliant communicator with great ideas, maybe marketing’s for you.'

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Is it easy to get into?

Marketing comes in all shapes and sizes, so there’s no straightforward answer to that. A lot of jobs sit under the umbrella of marketing, so before we look at how to get into marketing let's take an overview of the main ones:

Digital marketing

Girl listening to music using headphones

Marketing increasingly happens online these days - with

companies reaching through our smartphones and computers

Nearly 2.5 billion people are glued to their smartphones each day, which is great news for business. Billions of potential customers are up for grabs, so companies have started to recognise the importance of digital marketing. Employing people to create, research and sell products online is now an essential role in many companies.

Even better news is that many jobs sit under the umbrella of digital marketing, so if you weren’t interested in one, there are plenty more to choose from. Digital marketing jobs include:

  • Online marketing manager
  • Social media manager
  • SEO specialist
  • Digital brand manager
  • Digital community specialist

Market research & analysis

So, you’ve got a product and you need to sell it. Do you a) try selling it to everyone and anyone, forever? or b) Research who your customers are, what they want and when they want it?

You could take the A approach but a lot of companies prefer the B approach. By being more specific, companies can zoom in on their target audience and discover information which can help them to sell more. For instance, market research and analysis can tell you whether customers are mostly men or women, where they like to shop or what they like to eat, for example. It can also tell them if customers are getting what they want, if they’re satisfied or even how they feel about the price of the product.

If you’re interested in market research and analysis, look out for these job titles, too:

  • Consumer insights analyst
  • Business intelligence analyst
  • Business development strategist
  • Advertising data analyst
  • Survey research analyst

Traditional marketing

This is how things used to be done in the olden days, and still is. Traditional marketing includes areas like news, magazine, television and radio adverts, letters, and telephone calls. You might be wondering why anyone would still market this way but it’s still pretty important. If you’ve looked at a billboard for more than 10 seconds or laughed at an advert at the cinema, it means that traditional marketing is still doing its job.

If you’re interested in traditional marketing, look out for these job titles, too:

  • Marketing specialist
  • Community marketing coordinator
  • Brand manager
  • Promotions director
  • Marketing and design coordinator

In this video, Nodreen breaks down how to get into marketing:

What skills do I need?

If you’re still wondering how to get into marketing, there are a couple of skills that you’ll need to really get ahead:

Good communication

If you can write a sentence that sells and you don’t mind speaking in public, this might be the job for you. Some areas of marketing thrive on having brilliant written and verbal communication skills.

Try: Joining debating, public speaking or drama club if you can. It’ll really help to you see what works (and what doesn’t), when you’re trying to get your point across.

Analytical thinking

If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t bore easy and likes to get to the bottom of problems using strategy and logic, marketing was pretty much made for you.

Try: Logic problems and cryptic crossword puzzles might give you a good way of seeing whether your mind works in analytical way

Creativity

Young woman doing graphic design work

Getting to grips with software like Photoshop will help you

contribute to marketing campaigns

You don’t have to be Picasso but a creative, artistic approach really matters in marketing. It can make the difference between a striking media campaign which catches the eye and boosts sales, or not.

Try: Art classes, photography clubs and online Photoshop courses will help but also look at adverts around you and people on social media with lots of followers. Get some inspiration from what they’re doing.

Negotiation

An ability to get what you need while keeping everyone happy is a real skill. Whether you’re talking money or designs, sometimes you need to drive a hard bargain.

Try: Negotiation begins at home. Think about how good your negotiating skills are at home and how they can be improved.

Calm

If you're easily stressed, marketing may not be for you. Tight deadlines and last-minute changes means you should be the kind of person who doesn’t panic.

Try: Learning techniques to help you manage stress better. Check out this guide to dealing with stress and our blog listing 8 tools that could improve your mental well-being.

Technologically minded

You’ll need to love learning about new technology and seeing how it works. Some marketing campaigns rely on an ability to use specific software to create content.

Try: If there’s a computer club at school, join it. If you’re interested in it, it’ll be fun and you’ll learn things you might not anywhere else. There are lots of computer and technology magazines and websites out there, written for people just like you.

And what about qualifications?

GCSES to A Level

The good thing about marketing is that you don’t need specific GCSEs and A-levels, but the following subjects will give you the kind of transferable skills you’ll need:

Post-16 evening at Thomas Tallis School

Choosing your subjects with a career in mind could help you

gain relevant skills

Computer science – This is useful for many careers, but marketing increasingly depends on good computer and IT knowledge about computer management systems, apps and software. This is especially useful for marketing roles like web and mobile development. But remember, if you can’t communicate your ideas to people, it might be a bit of a waste.

Languages – Only 6% of the world speak English as a first language, so this is a real plus point, especially if you’re aiming to work for a global company. Learning a language also means learning about different cultures, attitudes and values, which is handy for nearly any marketing role.

Science – Science and marketing might not sound like they go together, but science teaches you how to write reports, solve problems, be inquisitive, work as a team and think outside the box. These are skills many marketing roles consider essential.

Art & design – This subject teaches you how to think creatively, solve problems and become organised, three skills which particularly important when you’re working in brand marketing, for example.

English & humanities – Whether written or verbal, a lot of marketing roles depend on being able to make points clearly, win people over and communicate effectively. Many marketing roles involve being able to write reports, create presentations or come up with messaging.

Maths – There’s more to maths than meets the eye. This subject teaches you how to solve problems, think analytically, and research things thoroughly which is much of what you need for the market research and analytical side of marketing

After A-levels

If you’ve done A-levels, a degree isn’t essential, but skills like good communication, numeracy, flexibility and organisation are. If you have those skills, you could try getting into a small company and working your way up.

That said, it’s a really competitive market, so getting a degree or marketing qualification may help, while you should also consider other routes such as apprenticeships when thinking about how to get into marketing.

Student in lecture

A marketing degree or other relevant qualification could help

you develop the tools of the trade before you start work

Marketing degrees - You’ll need A-levels (or equivalent) in any discipline to get onto a degree course, although business studies and media studies are pretty useful, as this interview with a business management and marketing student testifies.

Marketing qualifications - The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) is the official body providing marketing qualifications, from a foundation course through to an advanced marketing leadership programme qualification.

Graduate scheme - Some of the larger companies offer graduate trainee or assistant schemes. Use Success at School and Google to find schemes that might help you.

Apprenticeships - Apprenticeships are an increasingly popular way of getting into a number of fields, including marketing. Find out more about doing a marketing apprenticeship.

Market yourself! - Marketing yourself is a great way to get noticed. Try writing a blog or getting yourself known on Twitter or Instagram - in a positive way of course.

Extra-curricular activities - There are loads of activities you could do out of school hours which looks impressive on your CV and could really help your marketing career.

What’s the salary like?

On average, a marketing graduate can expect to start on £20,000 and earn more with experience.

Now you know how to get into marketing, learn more about the newest field in the industry in our article on the truth about digital marketing jobs.

Image credits

Lead image, girl with headphones and smartphone via Pexels, Young woman using Photoshop via WorldSkills UK Flickr account, Post-16 event via Thomas Tallis School Flickr account, Students in lecture via Gerald R Ford School of Public Policy Flickr account

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