You’ve heard of marketing and you probably even know some people in the field. But “marketing” is a fairly broad term. So what the heck is marketing anyways?
“I mean, I know what it is,” you may tell yourself. “Except that I don’t actually know … well … I mean, I know, but I don’t know the details. Okay, I just don’t know! Will you just tell me?”
Worry no more—we’re here to help! It’s really not surprising that you’re confused. Marketing is an expansive area of expertise that encompasses many different areas, skills and job descriptions. According to Merriam-Webster, broken down to its basic form, marketing is defined as: “The activities involved in making people aware of a company’s products and making sure that the products are available to be bought.”
Working in a marketing position involves showcasing a company in a positive light, showing why customers should purchase products and drawing in a targeted audience to consider goods and services.
But what does a marketer do? Unfortunately there isn’t one set job description for everyone in this position. But we connected with marketing pros to give you a sneak peek at three common types of marketing. Taking a closer look at these options will help you determine if this field is right for you.
1. Digital marketing
Digital marketing is just what it sounds like: marketing that’s gone digital! This type of marketing utilizes the internet and all things technology to get the word out about products, services or companies.
Digital marketing has a slew of benefits, according to Don Crow, CEO of Verge Pipe Media. He says two of the most obvious advantages are scale and cost.
“Considering 70 percent of all phones today are smartphones, it's increasingly important that brands and organizations think about how to connect with consumers on this increasingly important digital device,” Crow explains.
There are many jobs that fall under the umbrella of digital marketing. One of the more common positions in this realm is a digital marketing strategist. Specific responsibilities will vary depending on the company, but a digital marketing strategist’s daily activities will likely include analyzing Google statistics, posting to social media, creating online marketing campaigns and employing search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to increase the online visibility of a company. Digital marketing strategists often focus on creating content and then measuring that content to assess its effectiveness.
Other digital marketing job titles:
- Online marketing manager
- Social media manager
- SEO specialist
- Digital brand manager
- Digital community specialist
2. Market research & analysis
When marketing a specific product, it’s important that you know a lot about the type of people who would be interested in your product. Are they men or women? Do they fall within a certain tax bracket? Do they like to shop for dresses at Nordstrom or are they found purchasing lumber at Menards? By researching what customers want and need when it comes to a type of product, you’ll be able to better market that product to an audience who would love to buy it.
“[Market research] can help organizations uncover any unmet needs customers might have, measure the level of customer satisfaction, estimate price sensitivity, estimate the demand for new products or services or determine if there are any distinct segments of customers that might have an interest or openness to a certain product,” says Tim Glowa, co-founder of Bug Insights.
The median annual salary for market research analysts in 2012 was $60,300 per year.* Positions in this profession are projected to increase by 32 percent throughout the next decade, according to the Bureau Labor of Statistics (BLS). Gathering data, preparing reports and analyzing effectiveness of programs and strategies are some of the key tasks that a market research analyst is responsible for on a given day.
Other market research & analysis job titles:
- Consumer insights analyst
- Business intelligence analyst
- Business development strategist
- Advertising data analyst
- Survey research analyst
3. Traditional marketing
Traditional marketing is a broad title for what typically falls into four categories of advertising and marketing: print, broadcast, direct mail and telephone. While it may seem that some of these categories have gone by the wayside with the rise in technology, it’s important to know that traditional marketing still has its place in the business world.
“The benefit of traditional marketing is that you can reach a lot of people in your audience via print, radio, TV ads and outdoor advertising,” says Paige Arnof-Fenn, founder and CEO of Mavens & Moguls. She goes on to explain that this form of marketing can be expensive, which is why many companies have resorted to digital marketing tactics.
In 2012 advertising, promotions and marketing managers earned a median annual salary of $115,750. Jobs in this category are expected to grow by 12 percent through 2022, according to the BLS. Some common responsibilities associated with this position include creating marketing campaigns, meeting with clients and determining which type of media in which a company should invest its marketing efforts.
Other traditional marketing job titles:
- Marketing specialist
- Community marketing coordinator
- Brand manager
- Promotions director
- Marketing and design coordinator
Are you made for marketing?
There’s no doubt that marketers are masters at influencing the masses to learn about, purchase, and enjoy the world’s products and services. Does this sound like a profession in which you would thrive?
Perhaps you connect easily with the online world and think social media is the best way to market products nowadays, or maybe you have an eye for analyzing data and think researching sales trends sounds fun. No matter what your interest or skills are, there’s room for you in the wide world of marketing.
Now that you know more about what marketers do, learn how you can get your start in the exciting field of marketing!