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Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations

Learn the art of persuasion with a career in marketing and advertising, from the latest digital techniques to good old-fashioned word craft.

What is advertising, marketing and PR?

A career in marketing is all about selling products and ideas in creative and innovative ways.

Every business that has something to sell – whether it’s a mobile phone company or a cookery school – needs to inspire people to buy it: that's marketing. Marketing jobs cover lots of different areas, from researching the customers and what they want to buy, to writing 'copy' that encourages people to make the purchase. 

Advertising is one (big) part of marketing. We come across adverts every day - from TikTok and YouTube to radio, billboards and magazines. 

A career in public relations (PR) is all about raising the profile of an organisation. For example, planning a campaign to highlight how eco-friendly your company is, or organising press releases and events to introduce your new business to the world.

What advertising, marketing and PR jobs are available?

The great thing about marketing is that you can work for any kind of organisation, from a charity to a fashion label or even your favourite TV channel. There are heaps of different marketing, advertising and PR job roles to choose from, including:

  • Art director: Dreaming up creative ideas for ads that will boost sales and creating artwork, from posters to producing storyboards for TV adverts.
  • Copywriter: Thinking up the snappy phrases and dialogue that goes with a product or an advertising campaign.
  • PR officers and managers: Running publicity campaigns and working with news and media to make sure a business gets the right coverage.
  • Events planning: Organising all kinds of events from product launches to fundraisers and glitzy parties.
  • Account manager: Working directly with clients and overseeing their marketing needs, from planning out activities to managing a team delivering an advertising campaign.
  • Media planning and buying: Planners use research to work out who to target with your product and the best ways to reach them. Buyers ensure you get the right space to showcase your ad, from a primetime TV slot to billboard space.
  • Research: Market researchers find out how consumers tick, from what motivates them to buy toothpaste to what makes them trust a company.
  • Digital marketing: using websites, social media and other online tools to talk to customers and sell the company's products. Read: The Truth About Digital Marketing Jobs

All these jobs can be done "in-house" at the company whose product you’re selling, or as part of an agency which takes on different clients. You can also go solo and work on projects as a freelancer. Many copywriters choose to do this.

Is a career in advertising, marketing and PR for me?

It’s a fast-paced industry with lots of deadlines, so you’ll need to enjoy quick thinking and working as part of a team.

If you’re artistic or have a way with words, you’ll enjoy working on creative content.

More analytical folk may be interested in a career in media planning or research.

If you managed to negotiate an extension on your last essay and you have great time-management skills, you might enjoy account management and events planning careers.

How can I start a career in advertising, marketing and PR?

What you should study depends on what you want to do. As with all career paths, you should aim for at least a 4 in GCSE English and maths.

If you want to go down the design route you should study art and design at A-level or an NVQ in design and a related degree.

For research jobs, it’s handy to have a degree and to study maths at least at A-level.

If you want to direct and oversee marketing campaigns, and see yourself as more of an all-rounder, you can study A-levels in marketing and business and do the same for your degree.

When you have completed your A-levels, there are two main pathways you could go down:

  • There are loads of apprenticeships in marketing, including the marketing assistant advanced apprenticeship, marketing executive higher apprenticeship and options at level 6 as well. Through an apprenticeship, you could also become a digital marketer or market research executive.
  • You could do a degree in a field related to business, marketing or sales. Marketing professionals also study university subjects such as English, sociology or psychology, which provide many of the skills needed in the industry.

How to boost your chances

Experience is often more important than what you study at university. Lots of marketing and advertising is done online so employers will look for IT and social media skills. Starting up your own blog is a great way of proving your initiative and talent. Read: How To Get Into Marketing

Take part in a Young Enterprise scheme challenge. You'll get valuable experience creating and marketing products. You'll be able to show your teamwork skills too and maybe even pick up an award while you're at it.

If events planning is more your thing, volunteer to work at a school event or in your local community. The charity Wings of Hope runs an annual competition for students in Years 9-13 to team up and organise charitable activities. Taking part could help you  do something really worthwhile as well as build amazing planning skills. You'll get the chance to compete and win prizes too.

What advertising, marketing and PR qualifications are available?

Once you’re on the job, you can gain professional qualifications through the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR).

Read: Digital Marketing Jobs - How To Stand Out From The Crowd

Did you know these advertising, marketing and PR facts?

  • The most expensive TV ad ever produced was made in 2004 and aimed to give a boost to the fragrance Chanel No5, which was falling out of fashion. It cost £18 million and starred Nicole Kidman, who was paid £2 million to star!
  • Most food used in advertising shoots isn't edible - and it would actually be dangerous to eat it. Ice cubes are often acrylic, for example. 

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