Marketing is a pretty appealing industry. The business has a great deal of cachet in the twenty-first century; it involves mastering the latest technologies, adapting to constant change, and expressing yourself creatively. Anybody with an interest in building a career on the cutting edge and a desire to work with people can spin golden fantasies about a career as a content creator, analyst, or strategist. What’s the reality of life inside the industry?
It has to be said at the outset that marketing is such a vast field that different professionals will have varied experiences based on their roles and employers. Specialization occurs at both the individual and company level; many marketers devote their entire careers to jobs as a marketing manager in niches like sports marketing, event marketing, search engine marketing, or social media. Many talented marketers devote themselves to working in-house for single brands, while others work for agencies that manage multiple clients. Regardless of the way you choose to specialize, you can find a space for yourself in marketing that offers variety, good pay, creative opportunities, and an excellent work-life balance.
The Customer Always Comes First
Marketing scores over some other high-tech industries in that it always retains a human focus. From interaction-heavy jobs like social media management to more data-intensive roles like analytics, you can (and should!) always maintain a strong empathy for your client in order to help them connect with their customers.
In marketing, the traditional wisdom that “the customer is always right” is even more relevant than in most other industries. Regardless of your speciality, you’ll find that all marketing work boils down to empathizing with the customers in your target audience and understanding their concerns. The more experience you accumulate, the easier this process will become. Understanding the needs and wants of customers will become second nature, as will researching their demographics and charting out plans to effectively bring them value when communicating with them.
Every Day a New Challenge
Romeo Man, the head of a digital marketing agency, emphasizes that his experience as an independent agent has been a constant learning process without any endpoint. Man also emphasizes that marketing obliges you to seek out and master new tools which can speed up your process.
This is, in many respects, a golden age for marketing careers. Digital platforms and social media now present brands with virtually endless different avenues for promoting themselves and connecting with customers.
Sometimes the sheer variety of potential approaches can become overwhelming. This is particularly true on the agency side of the marketing business, where the obligation to juggle different clients multiplies the range of challenges awaiting you. Ian Lurie, a twenty-year veteran marketer, finds these challenges appealing – most of the time. The need to constantly innovate and master new technology is exhilarating. Lurie does admit it can be exhausting to stay grounded and fight back against “pie in the sky” promises that aren’t yet backed by proven marketing tools. For individuals whose interests strike the right balance between creativity and geekery, though, marketing can be a perfect career.
A Comfortable Compromise Between Career and Home
Unlike some other tech jobs, marketing is excellent for professionals who want to be able to detach and leave their work at the office at the end of the day. Six of Glassdoor’s top 25 jobs for work-life balance fall under the marketing umbrella: social media manager, SEO manager, marketing assistant, marketing analyst, digital marketing manager, and content manager.
Part of the satisfaction that accompanies many marketing jobs is the knowledge that your skills are in constant demand and your income is highly stable. Marketing doesn’t feature much in the way of cut-throat competition; there are ample opportunities for every professional and compensation is usually generous. The median pay for marketing managers (in a US survey conducted in 2016) was $127,560, and the US marketing industry had nearly 250,000 job openings. European conditions are similarly favourable. Average marketing manager salaries, as collected by PayScale, are at £32,752 in the UK, €42,105 in Italy, and €49,894 in Germany.