A colleague recently came to me for some advice about how to get started in marketing, acknowledging that it is a career path they would like to explore, but not too sure where to start.
For the lowdown for how I (finally) landed in marketing, you want to read my Graduate Experience Post, and if you have an interview coming up, you might want to read my post about How to Nail an Interview also. Meanwhile however, I thought I would put together a post sharing some advice (and experience) about how you can start a career in marketing.
1. Understand the difference between B2B and B2C
B2B = Business to Business
B2C = Business to Consumer
This is crucial and without a doubt the first thing you need to understand when it comes to marketing.
Consumers are the likes of you and me, who are poised to make purchases quickly. We also want to consume a mixture of content, mostly visual, which is quick to digest and engage.
In B2B, the end goal is to persuade someone to purchase from you, but you need to acknowledge that the journey from browsing your website to making a purchase, could have taken weeks, often months, sometimes even years depending on the business and the purchase. Buyers take longer to make decisions because there is more people to include in that decision, and sign-off on an order is slow. Arguably B2B is the most frustrating to market to, but equally the win is bigger if you get it right.
A further example –
B2C – I am on Instagram and I see a brand post a great shot of a dress, and they tell me that there is 25% off today only. I click through to their website and make a purchase without much thought. This is B2C and is literally as simple as that. It is quick.
B2B – I am a manager of a company and I think that the business would really benefit from a particular piece of software. It is expensive though, it would need a considerable investment from the company but I think it is worth it. I am going to be looking for articles and blogs about this software; I am going to be looking for case studies about other companies, similar to mine, that has this software and can feedback about the difference it has made to i.e. internal processes. Fundamentally, I need nurturing as a potential buyer by the company of this software, and I need evidence to support my decision, and knowledge about the software to affirm its right for me.
2. Get a grip with Social Media
In B2B, there are only three channels that really work for communications –LinkedIn, Twitter, and most recently, Facebook. However, in B2C you have hundreds of social media platforms that could be utilised.
My top tip here is to make sure you are comfortable with social media and make sure you are an active user of some of the more popular platforms so that you are familiar with how other users engage and interact. You cannot be on everything, but any marketing position will almost always have some form of social media question in interview; either the company is already established on a few channels and wants to check you understand its importance; others won’t have a clue but it’s something that will intrigue them and you should be able to help advise.
Nowadays people expect a company to be on at least one social platform, and if they are not, they should be. Not every channel will be appropriate and that is where your skill could come in handy, because by being familiar with a few platforms, you can add value to them quickly by being able to offer advice and help set them up.
An additional tip here would be to follow some of your favourite brands and companies on Twitter, Instagram (if relevant), LinkedIn and Facebook etc. and see what they are posting, how often, and the type of engagement they are getting such as likes, comments etc. If they have an established presence, they will expect you to have researched this prior to interview and be able to tell them what their most recent stats were. Score even higher by showing you have checked out their competitors as well!
Further example –
Look at ASOS on Instagram, and then look at their page on LinkedIn. On Instagram, they are likely to have posted an image of a model in a season appropriate fashion item, sometimes captioned with the product details, sometimes captioned with something like, “Feeling those summer vibes…” –you get the point. On LinkedIn, their content will be a lot more formal, and at the time of writing this post, their most recent post was about a web event they were hosting for ‘techies’. Before this they have posted an inspirational quote for International Women’s Day, and before that a video about their marketing team.
Worth noting also that some channels are fed with content more regularly than others.
3. Have a Blog? Let them know!
Writing is such a crucial skill for (content) marketing, and while you would have submitted a grammatically perfect CV and cover letter… something else to show them can never frowned upon.
Blogging for example, not only demonstrates that you can probably write (or maybe even start) a blog for the company, it shows you know structure, a different writing style and sometimes, already proving you can achieve engagement with your readers will score you so many extra brownie points.
If you do not have a blog, please do not start one for the sake of it… but if you do, utilise it to get you that job!
4. Be prepared to explore different marketing roles to get experience
Often marketing teams can be small with not a lot of opportunity for progression, but that is not always a bad thing; when you are starting out in a new career, the best experience is gained by working for different companies in different (marketing) positions. Marketing is creative and you need to get that imagination going while learning your skills, so you can explore applying it to different projects, sectors, audiences etc.
I am on my third marketing role and I have been at this company for almost two years. My first role was my break, my second role helped me gain some of the foundation experience I needed in my first role, and then my current role I have been able to sit more independently.
I would strongly advise seeking a marketing assistant’s role to begin with; you need someone and/or a team to learn from, it is also a good way to see different roles and the sort of tasks and responsibilities they undertake. Also keep broad and then gradually narrow down your interest in future roles. For example, my area of interest is writing/content marketing, but you could go into social media, design, campaign management, video… now there is no end to what you could do.
I hope you found that useful? Do any of you have some good advice to share, or maybe you have a question? Please leave a comment.
Until next time xFollow