I am often asked about the marketing and media industry. How to break into it? Is it as glamorous as Mad Men makes it out to be? Do you make six figures at the entry level? Let’s look at industry options and what kind of person would be a perfect fit as a marketing and media professional.
What do they do?
Marketing and media folks do the obvious – market products and services. How they market depends on three main types of marketing and media jobs: agencies, corporate, and media.
Agencies tend to be the most laid back and avant-garde. Yes, they often wear jeans and start happy hour a little early. But they also burn the midnight oil, answer to clients that often “don’t get it,” and they have to fight for their ideas to come to fruition. Agencies generally report to the director or VP of marketing at the company they are representing. They work with this person to create the marketing strategy, creative concept, and marketing plan. Implementing the plan can fall on either the client or the agency depending on the agreement. Many marketers prefer the agency environment for the not-so-serious nature and the breeding of great creative.
Corporate marketing departments usually serve both internal and external communications. Strategy is driven by the chief marketing officer or SVP/VP of marketing and implemented by the director and manager levels. Corporate departments may have an in-house creative department or they may partner with an agency. These departments are more formal as they are in a larger corporate environment. Over the past five years, there has been a trend of corporate marketing departments working closely with the chief financial officer (CFO) as budgets have tightened and the CFO generally demands an ROI or similar metric to release additional marketing funds. Many marketers prefer the corporate for the opportunity to focus on a single brand.
The media realm is quite different than agencies and corporate departments, but they work closely with both. Working in media is all about leveraging your magazine, website, or station audience for advertising revenue. The most common position in media is the sales person or account executive. This individual finds new and innovative ways to use their medium to maximize value for their clients (advertisers). They reach out to corporate marketers as well as agency media planners to pitch their audience and ultimately sell ad space. Account executives double as project managers as they see the ad through production, ensuring all goes well. Many self-starters enjoy the freedom and flexibility of a career in media.
Who should become one?
● Have a knack for thinking differently and finding unconventional ways of making things happen.
● Get excited about going the extra mile and can be described as an overachiever.
● Understand people, and have an interest in psychology – the way people interact and why they choose the paths they choose.