Marketing is a fascinating field. While there is a wide range of jobs that each taps into a different specialist skillset – and the availability and means of compiling and interpreting vital data have evolved drastically – the fundamental concept of selling things has always remained the same: the ability to understand people.
Therefore, if you are interested in what makes human beings tick, and you happen to have a natural affinity for numbers, then there are numerous opportunities waiting for you in this highly lucrative business. As you will see, you don’t necessarily have to possess a degree, either; if you know how to engage people, then you already have a head start.
So, if you want to explore your options, but you’re not sure which might be the right career path for you, we’ve compiled a handy list of some of the most sought-after and well-paid gigs in the industry.
These are the best marketing careers.
1. Digital Marketer
In the last few years, digital marketing has become the growth sector, with everyone from tech-conscious startups to stay-at-home ‘mumtrepeneurs’ looking to tap into the internet’s ever-increasing potential for monetisation.
With traditional business sectors (such as retail) also moving online, large established companies are looking to employ people who can expose their brand in the digital realm. The bottom line, ultimately, is that impressions and clicks equal money.
Digital marketing is a broad spectrum, but some of the more popular areas in which to work include:
- pay-per-click (PPC) or cost-per-click (CPC) marketing
- cost-per-impression (CPM) marketing
- PPC affiliate marketing
- email marketing
- content strategy
The best part is that a lot of the skills involved in these roles can be self-taught; reputable blogs such as HubSpot and Neil Patel offer a wealth of information on how to get involved, while it is possible (although fiercely competitive) to make a living without ever leaving your bedroom.
Average salary: Digital marketers can expect to earn around the $60,000 (£46,220) mark when representing a reputable firm, although this figure can grow or shrink considerably depending on how successful you are. For those who are self-employed, meanwhile, potential earnings are entirely dependent upon how well your campaigns perform and how much capital you are able/willing to invest for your returns.
2. Sales Representative
As previously mentioned, the secret of successful marketing is in understanding human psychology, as well as how to exploit it. As Brad Bodnick (portrayed by Jon Bernthal) proved in 2013’s The Wolf of Wall Street, it’s not about making someone want to buy your product but, rather, about convincing them that they need it. If you can translate this concept into a practical reality, then your skills are definitely going to be in demand.
You don’t necessarily need any formal education, either; many sales directors and executives started on the shop floor, pitching products to customers or investors. If you can convert those calls into orders, then not only will you be handsomely reimbursed for your efforts, but you’ll also quickly find yourself rising within the hierarchy. Talented salespeople are worth their weight in gold, after all, and companies in every industry are keen to secure their services.
Average salary: The average base salary for a sales representative at a reputable firm is around $41,000 (£31,580), but as any sales guru will tell you, the real rewards are in your commissions. Depending on your industry, it’s not uncommon for bonuses to actually exceed base salaries, so if you are driven by a pressure to succeed, then sales could be the role for you.
3. Media Buyer
Media buyers are an important part of any company’s advertising operations; they are responsible for identifying and negotiating with the best media outlets in which to promote their company’s products.
Of course, this requires a strong working knowledge of the industry, as well as the ability to reach out to potential partners. It also entails being able to negotiate effectively, especially if you are working within tight budgets. You need to be able to demonstrate a sense of creativity, too, as although data is important, it cannot tell you everything. Good media buyers constantly have their fingers on the pulse and an impressive network on which to rely.
Average salary: Media buyers can expect to earn around $50,000 (£38,520) for their services.
4. Market Researcher/Analyst
If charts and statistics are your thing, and you have a genuine interest in crunching through numbers in order to identify possible patterns, then market research could be a good fit for you. Market analysts trawl through all kinds of data, including demographics, sales figures, locations and conversion rates, in order to help establish where the most profitable markets are and who they are most likely to consist of.
Luckily, there is now a wide assortment of powerful tools that can assist in this process, but analysing data and drawing conclusions from it are two different things. Most market analysts, therefore, typically come from a strong educational background. You would also need to be a strong communicator and be able to translate your findings to those with a non-technical background.
Average salary: Market analysts and researches can expect to earn around $55,000 (£42,370), although there is a huge scope for increase at management and senior management levels.
5. Content Writer
Content marketing is an essential strategic tool for many organisations, with visibility on search engines (such as Google) an important way of obtaining brand exposure and advertising revenue. Therefore, talented writers who can produce high-quality content while implementing brand consistency and SEO compliance are always in demand.
Of course, impressive writing skills are a must (many companies ask for a communications-related degree, although a strong portfolio may be enough to swing the deal). You’ll also need to understand how keywords work, as well as how to use analysis tools such as Search Console and Google Analytics.
Average salary: Depending on your location and industry, you could expect to earn around $54,500 (£41,980) as a content writer, although if you work as a freelancer, your rates could be significantly higher (or lower).
6. Brand/Product Manager
Once you’ve had some success as a sales representative, it’s highly likely that you’ll be put in charge of the regional marketing for a particular product (and, subsequently, range, brand or both). This is a slightly different kettle of fish, as rather than relying on pure salesmanship, you’re going to have to devise and create whole strategies, campaigns and promotional events.
On the plus side, this is where you could really start earning the big bucks, while you will have the opportunity to forge a career in an industry that you’re passionate about (such as retail, sports marketing or financial products). You will also likely combine this by undertaking a more formal business education, with many managers choosing to study an MBA, for instance.
Average salary: Depending on the industry, your salary could be anything from $70,000 to $100,000+ (£53,920 to £77,030+), with executive and senior management salaries higher again. You will also likely be eligible for large bonuses if your campaigns are successful.
7. SEO Specialist
As mentioned under digital marketing and content, search engine optimisation (or SEO) is an important component of online marketing. So much so, in fact, that many companies employ dedicated SEO specialists to help gain a competitive advantage.
As with other aspects of digital marketing, much of what you know can be self-taught (Moz is a particularly useful resource), while the motivation to keep learning is important; SEO is a notoriously fast-moving field, with the goalposts forever moving and techniques constantly evolving. Networking with the right people is also a good way to keep abreast of industry fashions and trends.
Average salary: SEO specialists can – in the right organisations – earn around $57,900 (£44,600) for their efforts, with management roles at large companies potentially attracting more.
8. PR Officer
Public image and perception is hugely important for large companies, who can see their profits (sometimes severely) affected by how people think of them. This is why they enlist the services of savvy PR consultants who can help firms tick all the right boxes and build a positive reputation.
Of course, PR consultants also work with individuals that are constantly in the public eye, too, such as celebrities and politicians, meaning that the work can be diverse. A degree in a communications or social sciences-related field is a good starting point in what is a competitive industry. Creativity, good time management and strong communication skills will all help to set you apart from the crowd.
Average salary: Public relations personnel can expect to earn around $54,000 (£41,600), although once you have built up an impressive portfolio, you might want to branch out as a consultant and charge your rates accordingly.
9. Account Planner
Account planners work closely with media buyers, product managers and creative design teams to oversee and coordinate advertising campaigns, focusing especially on the delivery and tone of the campaign to its target audience.
As a highly collaborative role, it requires strong teamwork skills, as well as a flair for imagination and a strong sense of commercial awareness. You will also need to liaise closely with your clients (most account planners work for independent advertising and PR firms) and with focus/research groups who can give feedback on ideas and help to shape the overall end-product.
Average salary: Account planners can expect to earn around $57,000 (£43,900), especially in the likes of London and New York City, while senior managers and directors can potentially double that.
10. Social Media Manager
The impact of social media on our lives cannot be overstated; wherever you look and wherever you go, you will see people engrossed on their phones, using any and every spare minute to scroll furiously through their Facebook feed. For businesses, however, this is simply another platform through which to attract and engage customers.
Given the scale and potential of social media, it’s unsurprising that companies are employing specialist experts in which to manage their social media feeds. As a manager, you would be responsible for updating the feeds, engaging users and devising content strategies.
If that all sounds clear-cut, by the way, it isn’t; people don’t like to be directly sold to, so you’ll need to be genuine and offer something truly unique in order to stand out. When done right, social media marketing can create the kind of buzz and outreach that it’s impossible to put a price on, and all on a relatively small budget.
Average salary: Social media managers can expect to earn around $54,550 (£42,020) for an established firm or brand.
Marketing offers a whole host of diverse careers, each suited to a different area of interest and expertise; it’s an industry that will always exist, too, even if the primary tools and methods used may come and go. As you can see, it is also a potentially lucrative sector; the cliché of a high-powered, Porsche-driving marketing executive exists for a reason, after all.
Ultimately, though, if you enjoy working with people, and getting to the bottom of what makes them tick, then you will be well-suited to a career in marketing. Hopefully, this list has given you some inspiration for where your own future may lie, and you’ll soon be on your way to a successful and fulfilling calling.
What other marketing careers would you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.
The salary information given for each job in this article is an average of the figures provided by Glassdoor and PayScale. Currency conversions are based on rates supplied by XE.com on 23 January 2019.