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Marketing industry
careers guide

Fancy a career in the marketing industry? We have all the knowledge and tips to help you become a marketing pro.

What is marketing?

"Selling products and services, including but not limited to advertising, market research, content management and social media."

Marketing is the process of communicating the value of a product or service. This includes advertising, promotions, market research, content creation and the use of social media.

Many say it is the slower, less sexy and less exciting parent of advertising. Well, they had a point a few decades ago but certainly not any more. When we talk about marketing we speak of the various marketing communications agencies that now compete with advertising agencies over who can make the weirdest, funniest, most amazing things happen.

The rise of technology in recent decades has meant content marketing is more than just mailing your valued customers a free recipe book. Now you might write an intriguing series of online films or produce a mobile or web application to interact with a particular audience. You might even be planning a stunt in the middle of a shopping centre to film people’s reactions.

And then there’s social media, a huge part of marketing – there’s nothing more exciting and terrifying than being in charge of a global brands Twitter account.

You may decide that marketing is a good route for you, it is certainly something you can study at the majority of universities and colleges across the UK and the principles of Marketing have stood the test of time. There are also a huge number of graduate roles to start in and these are found either in marketing companies or working for a brands marketing department.

We must also mention Public Relations, yet another child of marketing where your world can revolve around being super sociable.

On the flip side, all marketing activities are not the stuff of dreams, they are nearly always based in science and backed by research. This part of the industry requires a lot of brain power to identify trends, insights, markets and provides an explanation for consumer behaviour to which the marketeers react.

Marketing is big business too, companies normally put a percentage of around 5-10% of their profits into marketing. When you consider that some companies make billions a year, there is a whole lot of cash flying around to pay for marketing.

If marketing sounds like an industry for you, take a look at our explanation of how it works and the types of starting roles available to you.

How does marketing work

The end goal is to influence a consumers buying decision by promoting the value of a product or service. Therefore, we need an understanding of the market, the customer and the competition.

Market research is an industry in its own right, millions are spent on teams of people, armies of computers and worldwide networks who can identify and provide useful information to the owner of a product or service. For example, you may have heard of Pret a Manger, they are a coffee / sandwich shop chain in the UK and in the last ten years have expanded to hundreds of stores. They use market research when deciding on whether or not to open up a store, it is a very simple form of research. A person stands outside a potential store location with a ticker to count the number of people who go past every 10 minutes from 7am to 7pm. By combining this data with insights into the percentage of people who buy coffee every day, or who buy sandwiches, crisps fruit etc. A decision is then made as to whether or not opening a Pret will be a profitable and a worthily investment.

Once market research has been compiled, the product or service owner will want to turn the data and insights into a proposition for their customers. So if Wrigley's recognise that people would be prepared to spend £1 on three packs of chewing gum rather than 50p on one, they'll run a special offer selling three packs for the price on £1.

A proposition can be communicated via advertising, PR, social media and other channels, ultimately, it will be used where the market research has identified customers.

As I am sure you can tell, marketing is very important for businesses who want to grow and has a huge impact on the success of a business if done right.

Once a proposition has been developed, marketeers bring it to market, they may work with media agencies, advertising agencies, film, television or they may simply guide the client in the work they produce.

Marketing examples

  • Metro Trains – Dumb Ways to Die
    McCann Melbourne, 2012 (Mobile App)

  • TNT – Dramatic Surprise
    Duval Guillaume Modern, 2012 (Ambient)

  • Coca-Cola – Small World Machines
    Leo Burnett Chicago & Sydney, 2013 (Ambient)

Jobs in marketing

There are lots of roles in marketing that you could get into and there are a lot of different skills, attributes or personalities that employers look for.

Being aware of brands, how they differentiate themselves, what they do to attract customers and what they mean to you will stand you in good stead for an interview at a marketing agency.

Working on your own projects, setting up something to sell online and studying marketing will definitely boost you towards working in the industry.

Jobs vary by agency / company and come in all shapes and sizes. Check out some of the areas below.


Skills required:

  • Self-motivated
  • Organised
  • Presentation skills
  • Adaptable
  • Knowledgeable
  • English and maths


  • Marketing Executive
    £18k to £25k
  • Digital/Online Marketing Executive
    £18k to £25k
  • Campaign Executive
    £20k to £25k


Skills required:

  • Photoshop
  • Illustrator
  • InDesign
  • Sketching
  • Industry understanding
  • Passion for brands


  • Junior Creative Team
    £18k to £30k (each)
  • Junior Copywriter
    £18k to £25k
  • Junior Art Director
    £18k to £25k


Skills required:

  • Mathematics
  • Internet finding skills
  • Analysing data


  • Researcher
    £18k to £30k
  • Research Executive
    £18k to £25k
  • Insights Executive
    £18k to £25k
  • Analytics Executive
    £25k to £40k
  • Data Analyst
    £25k to £40k
  • Data Planner
    £30k to £50k

Public relations

Being great with people is crucial as you'll have to persuade all kinds of press outlets to talk about client work, as well promote your own agency to the industry.

Skills required:

  • Sociable
  • English
  • Presenting
  • Understanding of existing trends
  • Identifier of future trends
  • Networking


  • PR Executive
    £22k to £30k
  • Publicist
    £25k to £30k

Social Media

Copywriting skills and design can come in useful here for writing content for a brands social pages. You will need to write, manage and report about social campaigns.

Skills required:

  • Social media experience
  • English
  • Copywriting
  • Quick thinking


  • Social Media Executive/ Co-ordinator or Community Executive
    £20k to £25k

Marketing companies

There are many agencies dedicated to one aspect of marketing, such as PR agencies, social media agencies and mobile agencies. If you’re interested in something in particular, you’ll be able to find plenty of agencies that specialise in it. Otherwise there are just as many “integrated” agencies that work on all manner of things. Here’s a number of marketing agencies to kick-off your job search.

Small (0-50 people)

  • TheAgency
  • Chalk & Ward
  • Stickyeyes
  • Holler
  • The Marketing Practice
  • Kameleon
  • Tug
  • 23red
  • Steel London
  • Don’t Panic

Medium (50-250 people)

  • Gyro
  • Bray Leino
  • Substance
  • Kantar
  • Europanel
  • Zone
  • Cake London
  • ThinkJam
  • Bright Blue Day
  • ais London

Large (250+ people)

  • Elvis Communications
  • Nielsen
  • Cheil Worldwide
  • JWT
  • Iris
  • Sapient Nitro
  • TMW
  • Arc Worldwide
  • Tribal DDB
  • McCann

  • The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
  • Permission Marketing by Seth Godin
  • Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Dr. Robert Cialdini
  • The Long Tail by Chris Anderson
  • Guerrilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson