Careers

Marketing Career Path: Is Marketing a Good Career?

Extremely respectable and highly-paid, the marketing career path can seem exciting. But are you suited for it? From its pros and cons to life as a marketing manager, here’s all you need to know before you decide to take it up.

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1. Career in Marketing

A marketing department of company is considered the brain of an organization. Like the maestro of an orchestra, a marketing professional is responsible for the overall direction of a product or service in a company.

Marketers always have a long term view (i.e. at least a year or two in advance), of their company’s sales & profitability. Sales departments, on the other hand, have a short term view of approximately a month or 3 months in advance. A marketer’s end goal is to get a product or service created which sells itself.

The marketing career path is often confused with sales profession. In some companies, the sales professionals also call themselves marketing professionals. In these cases, the marketing team is renamed as brand team, as their job involves the creation and direction of the brand.

Is the marketing career path right for you? Find out here as we talk about everything you need to know before making a decision.

Contents: Jump to Section

1.1 What Does a Marketing Manager Do
1.2 Industry/Sector
1.3 Social Image
1.4 Reasons to Become a Marketing Manager
2.1 Personality Traits Required
2.2 Physical Demands
2.3 Psychological Demands
3.1 Extra Curricular Activities Recommended
3.2 Related Hobbies to Take Up
3.3 Related Movies/ TV Shows
3.4 Related Fiction to Read/ Novels
4.1 Part-Time Options
4.2 Traveling Required
4.3 Average Workday/What to Expect
5.1 Retirement Prospects
5.2 Threats from Automation
5.3 Common Reasons for People to Quit

1.1 What Does a Marketing Manager Do

A marketer’s job is to have a long term view of the company’s performance and positioning in the market. They are responsible for creating a brief for the design team. Then they have the responsibility to get the final product out, by coordinating with various departments, like design, production, finance, sourcing etc. and launch it.

Marketing is often confused with sales, and many companies often mix them up or combine them. Marketing, by the simplest definition, deals with 4 aspects of any business, which are Product, Price, Place and Promotion. Notice that I have not used the word sales here. However, achieving sales targets is the final goal.

A marketer’s final customer is the sales team, which takes the product to the market and realizes sales. Marketers also provide support to the sales team by giving them advertising & promotional supports.

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Marketing professionals need to constantly track their competition, and ensure they equip their sales team adequately with the right product, with the right price point, in the right market places (retail, distribution, online) and right communication for the end customer.

Marketers look at the various things like brand positioning, media buying & planning, consumer research, creative developments, product range planning, global trend tracking, etc. People in the marketing career path usually deal with a lot of external agencies, like creative agencies to deliver these jobs for their company. They also deal with advertising agencies to buy media, event management companies to organize BTL (below-the-line) events, PR agencies to get exposure in mass media, etc.

1.2 Industry/Sector

Consumer goods and services sectors mainly employ marketing professionals, however they may work for other industries, too.

Marketers play prominent role in consumer facing industries like FMCG (fast moving consumer goods like toothpaste, chips or shampoo), Consumer durables/ white goods (like fridge, TV, etc.), Apparel & Accessories etc., where brand plays an important role in consumer decision making.

marketing-career-path-coke-branding-brands

In sectors that are more B2B i.e. businesses who deal with other businesses, product plays an important role. In these sectors, marketers are often referred to as product managers. Experienced sales managers in some companies, the take up the role of a marketing manager or have these responsibilities where a company doesn’t differentiate between sales and marketing.

1.3 Social Image

Respectable & cool.

Being in marketing is considered very cool. Nowadays, the term marketing has become much more commonly used to describe other similar roles, too, since most sales people will call themselves as marketing professionals.

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1.4 Reasons to Become a Marketing Manager

Good salary, respect within an organization, cool job role, chance to travel and interact with people.

Marketing is a pretty diverse role and gives you an understanding of the overall business since you need to interact with almost all departments in the company. It’s a very central role, where you have an overall picture of the functioning of the company. Good marketers are some of the most highly paid professionals, especially in industries like FMCG and consumer durables.

2. What It Takes to Be a Marketing Manager

2.1 Personality Traits Required/ Preferred

People who want to go for the marketing career path require the following personality traits:

  • Creativity
  • Analytical thinking
  • Excellent or above average communication skills
  • Good with numbers
  • Relationship building
  • Communication skills

It helps to be an extrovert, as the diverse requirement will need a lot of planning and co-ordination with different departments and external agencies.

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Marketers have to also be aware about not just their own profession, but also have a bit of knowledge about other professions, like design, sales, business law, PR, mass communication, etc. They have to learn about the latest happenings, new international trends, brands, changing consumer behavior around the world. It’s very important to keep reading the news and relevant books.

Furthermore, marketers have to keep themselves constantly updated with the latest happenings in the field of marketing, like nowadays digital marketing/ social media marketing or eCommerce, because their objective is to keep their brand relevant in front of their consumer.

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2.2 Physical Demands

At times, jobs in the marketing career path do require excessive travel. This could be domestic or international travel, and depending on the company and its current requirements, you may have to travel to both good and bad places!

2.3 Psychological Demands

Marketing jobs, at times, could be mentally very demanding.

Marketing jobs may not have a daily pressure like sales jobs, but they constantly need to foresee challenges that a company may face in future. They always owe an explanation to the management when the sales are down and keep tracking competition moves through creative information sources.

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A marketer is responsible for the company’s overall long-term performance in the market. Marketers have to constantly look for creative trends, keep a track of the evolving competition and consumer preference and make sure their brand is always relevant for the consumers.

There are no clear guidelines, which can often cause a lack of direction. Every company expects people in the marketing career path to just to be aware of what’s going to impact sales in future, or what could go wrong. This can cause stress if your product segment isn’t performing well.

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3. How to Build Interest in a Career in Marketing

3.1 Extra-Curricular Activities Recommended

If you are in college, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of reading about psychology, consumer trends, international news, etc. You can also practice marketing pitches, create product marketing ideal, and learn how to create business & marketing plans.

Students who are interested in marketing should read about brands and their case studies. They can do consumer research project with market research companies. They should get themselves acquainted with sales processes by taking up consumer-facing jobs in a retail store and try to understand the mindset of a consumer on why they pick a particular brand over another.

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3.2 Related Hobbies to Take Up

For school students, I’d recommend participating in debates, to build your communication skills. Set up a stall in your school’s fun fair or fete, as this will help you deal with customers and create advertisements, work on product development, etc. You can also join your school’s debate, quiz or public-speaking clubs, where you can interact with people on various subjects. Try participating in extra-curricular group projects with your classmates, which will help you understand teamwork.

Also try to gain holistic knowledge of the world around you by taking up the habit of reading newspapers like Economic Times, Brand Equity, books on consumer psychology, marketing or business. You can also watch videos about brands and their evolution on YouTube.

marketing-career-path-hobbies-to-take-up-profession

3.3 Related Movies/ TV Shows

  • Mad Men (TV Series 2007–2015)
  • Jerry Maguire (1996)
  • The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
  • Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year (2009)

3.4 Related Books to Read

  • Marketing Management by Phillip Kotler
  • Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel
  • The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference is the debut book by Malcolm Gladwell
  • Selling 101: What Every Successful Sales Professional Needs to Know
    Book by Zig Ziglar
  • Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors by Michael Porter

4. Life as a Marketing Manager

marketing-career-path-team-work-management-profession

4.1 Part-Time Options

No. Marketing is mostly is full time job.

In my experience, I’ve never seen young marketing managers working part-time. However, companies do hire experienced marketing professionals as consultants on case-to-case basis. Furthermore, experienced marketers may work other part-time jobs as lecturers in colleges or take up consulting projects with business consulting firms.

4.2 Traveling Required

Yes, in the marketing career path, you’ll often have to make frequent visits to the market, meet end-consumers and channel partners. But traveling in marketing career path is not as high as sales profession.

marketing-career-path-travel-brand-marketer-profession

4.3 Average Workday/ What to Expect in a Marketing Career

A marketing job role is extremely diverse, it’s hard to say how the day may pan out. Sometimes, you may face really busy days where meetings may consume the whole day. At other times, you may be sitting idle, waiting for other departments to complete work.

It could ideally start with checking the daily sales numbers, getting feedback from sales and distribution on the product. Some of the tasks in a marketing manager’s daily work life include:

  • Gathering consumer research for your company’s product.
  • Briefing the design team, based on the consumer research and defining the next season’s product requirement.
  • Tracking the new product development progress with inter-company departments.
  • Getting information on likely moves by competition and bench-marking the latest product introduction of branding in your category.
  • Creating a presentation to brief the top management about the future direction for your brand.
  • Creating a brief for a creative agency for new advertising promotions.
  • Planning and budgeting your marketing spends for future advertising campaigns, etc.
  • Tracking the progress of ongoing advertising/ marketing campaigns.
  • Creating ROI (return on investment) for the marketing spends.

marketing-career-path-stretegy-marketer-professional-manager

In a well organized company, the marketing department acts like the brain of the organization. The role of the brand or marketing team can be very demanding, but at the same time exciting, too.

5. Future of Your Career in Marketing

5.1 Retirement Prospects

Marketing professionals usually work for corporate firms, and their typical age for retirement is around 60 years. However, companies like their marketing departments to have young professionals so that they can be in touch with the latest consumer trends. So, most marketing professionals move out to join or head other departments, like sales, after 45 years of age.

Marketing professionals can easily become consultants or take up educational assignments in MBA colleges once they retire from their main day-job. After retirement, marketing professionals can also move into various companies like Creative Design Agencies, PR, Advertising, Sales, etc.

5.2  Threats from Automation/ AI

Highly unlikely.

Marketing career path requires professionals to make important decisions for the company or brand, after evaluating consumer habits, market trends and location, etc. So at the current stage of the development of artificial intelligence, it may be possible for AI to aid these professionals, but extremely difficult to replace them.

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5.3 Common Reasons for People to Quit Marketing Career

There are two main reasons for people to quit management consulting: excessive travel and burnout.

A marketer’s job is mentally very demanding, as you need to do a lot of planning. Therefore, in a challenging environment, a company may face intense competition and it may be tough to maintain or increase market share. In these cases, professionals in the marketing career path often face a lot of stress. Many times, if a marketing manager hasn’t delivered results or brought about a change in the product category, companies force you to quit.

marketing career path role of marketing manager

A marketer has to also travel, while handling work pressure in the office. Sometimes this can take a toll  on your body. This leads some professionals to opt for a different type of job which offers more structure, like sales or production. This is especially due to decision fatigue, which happens when one is forced to make important decisions all the time.

Read next:

How to Become a Marketing Manager

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