The term marketing is used to describe the wide range of functions concerned with successfully positioning a product or service for sale. Marketing careers include many different paths and specialties, due in large part to the complex and continually changing nature of business and the marketplace. In their different capacities, successful marketing professionals crunch numbers, create images, design brochures, strategize, and ultimately sell. At its most essential, marketing is responsible for increasing sales. Here is an overview of common marketing careers and their responsibilities.
A career in market research focuses on understanding customers, both existing customers and, even more importantly, potential customers. Market researchers want to know who buys what, when they buy it and why. Using a variety of tools such as surveys, questionnaires, focus groups, buying trends, sales data, and census information they work to understand what makes buyers tick.
They ask questions about customers in order to provide a better product, identify an unmet need, or tap an under-served market so that their company can increase its sales or improve its position. The market research also focuses on numbers, logic, statistics, and projections to help set prices for products and services, ideally, a price that draws the largest number of customers at the greatest profit.
Marketing Communications focuses on developing marketing messages and creating communications to spread those messages. MarCom professionals develop brochures, catalogs, newsletters, annual reports, website content, and other marketing pieces and manage their distribution. They work closely with public relations departments and may have public relations activities as part of their responsibilities. Writing press releases, pitching stories to the media, developing and managing community relations programs such as corporate giving, can also be part of a marketing communications career.
A career in event marketing is focused on creating marketing opportunities that are driven by specific events such as trade shows, holidays, or sporting events. Careers in this area can focus specifically on trade show marketing or include many different types of events and promotions. Events, such as sports, festivals, fairs, and concerts, draw large crowds and offer unique marketing opportunities. Event marketing professionals use these occasions to promote their products and when necessary create their own special events. These events can be lavish affairs for special clients or special in-store promotions to highlight a new product or service.
Marketing Sales/Business Development
Careers in marketing sales focus on marketing to a specific client or market sector and are most often found in business-to-business or business-to-government arenas. Marketing sales professionals are responsible for establishing sales contacts, monitoring the procurement activity of potential clients, and preparing proposals for specific opportunities. Many potential clients require extensive, specific proposals as part of their process for selecting vendors and suppliers.
This is especially true for companies wishing to do business with any level of government, where laws strictly guide the procurement process. Marketing sales professionals are responsible for developing proposals that meet the specific requirements of the buyer and at the same time position their company in the most favorable light. In the private sector, marketing sales professionals often work to identify potential clients, establish relationships, and look for business opportunities that are mutually beneficial.
We’ve all seen them, decked out in logo splashed t-shirts and handing out samples of new and improved products at malls, train stations, and other high traffic spots. A career in Street Marketing focuses on creating a buzz and reaching consumers in new and innovative ways. Realizing that modern consumers are more savvy and wise to traditional advertising, street marketing looks for ways to influence consumers where they live, work, and play. Street marketing professionals often manage complex campaigns staged in multiple locations aimed at reaching large groups of people to create interest in their produce or service.
A company’s brand is much more than its logo, more than its image. A brand defines how the world, and even more importantly, how customers see a company or a product. A good brand can be a company’s most valuable asset. Great brands, think Coca-Cola, Harley-Davidson, and Disney, transcend their company and become cultural icons, images of much more than the products they represent. A career in brand marketing focuses on creating and maintaining great brands.
At its most detailed, brand marketing creates standards for nearly every aspect of a company’s image. Uniforms, letterhead, packaging, office space, and every physical representation of a company can come under the watchful eye of brand marketers. They often insist on strict adherence to specific standards in maintaining the integrity of their brand. But good brand marketing also focuses on the more subtle aspects of branding. Service delivery, customer expectations, place in the community, crisis management all impact a company’s brand. Brand marketers focus on these less obvious, but vital, areas of their business to create and maintain a positive image of their company.
At its most strategic, marketing is concerned with nearly every aspect of a company’s business. From setting the price of a product to creating standards for service delivery, and understanding clients and competition, these marketing professionals use both science and art to ideally position their company with their customers.
A career in strategic marketing uses aspects of all other marketing specialties to develop long term marketing plans and oversee their execution. A key position on most executive teams, the strategic marketing professional is focused on using marketing tools and business savvy to ensure long-term success.