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Overview of the marketing, advertising and PR sector in the UK

If you’re creative with great communication skills, commercial awareness and an interest in human behaviour, then this sector may be perfect for you

What areas can I work in?

Marketing, advertising and PR exists in most businesses across all sectors. People working in this sector help organisations to connect with their audiences and promote brands, products and messages. Marketing is the overall process, while advertising and PR are both individual sub-components.

Most opportunities are in the overarching area of marketing, with smaller numbers of jobs available in advertising, PR and event management.

You could work in numerous areas, including:

  • advertising;
  • brand management;
  • campaign metrics and research;
  • communications and public relations (PR);
  • community involvement;
  • content marketing;
  • copywriting;
  • customer support;
  • database management and analysis;
  • design;
  • direct marketing;
  • distribution;
  • email marketing;
  • event management;
  • market research;
  • media planning;
  • mobile marketing;
  • pay-per-click (PPC);
  • product pricing;
  • public affairs;
  • sales promotion;
  • sales strategy;
  • search engine optimisation (SEO);
  • social media;
  • web design and development.

The industry is broadly divided into those who work in-house for an organisation and those who work for an agency. The latter are appointed to provide specific services to paying clients.

Those working in advertising will almost always work for agencies, while those working in PR are often employed by larger organisations.

Who are the main graduate employers?

Many employers, from retailers to pharmaceutical firms, offer graduate-level opportunities in marketing. Other organisations, including charities, may have vacancies that aren’t specifically targeted at graduates.

Companies offering marketing graduate schemes include:

  • Diageo
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • L'Oreal
  • Nestlé
  • Procter & Gamble
  • Unilever
  • WPP

Notable marketing and advertising agencies include:

  • 101
  • adam&eveDDB
  • R/GA
  • Saatchi & Saatchi
  • Wunderman

Notable PR consultancies include:

  • Bell Pottinger
  • Brunswick Group
  • Edelman
  • Finsbury
  • Freuds
  • FTI Consulting
  • Grayling
  • Hill+Knowlton Strategies
  • Weber Shandwick

Notable market research agencies include:

  • B2B International
  • Brain Juicer
  • GfK
  • Ipsos MORI
  • Millward Brown
  • Mintel
  • TNS

Notable media agencies include:

  • Goodstuff
  • Mediacom
  • Mindshare
  • The7Stars

What's it like working in the sector?

Graduates entering the marketing, advertising and PR sector can expect:

  • to work primarily in an office, with some travel to visit clients and attend events also expected;
  • to be part of a dynamic (and usually young) team in a social and informal atmosphere, working in a fast-moving and creative sector that can sometimes become highly stressful and pressurised;
  • salaries to vary greatly depending on the role, region and type of organisation;
  • working hours to be between 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, but longer hours sometimes required;
  • freelance work to be an option, especially in PR, exhibitions and copywriting.

To find out more about typical salaries and working conditions in your chosen career, see types of jobs.

What are the key issues in the marketing, advertising and PR sector?

This sector is dynamic and constantly responding to changing consumer habits. As technology continues to become more sophisticated, companies are investing in new ways to better understand and communicate with their consumers.

Digital technology has created an increased number of channels, such as social media and mobile devices, to send brand and product messages to. Employers expect recruits to have an understanding of new media, and they particularly value creative, innovative individuals. Journalistic skills are also highly regarded, while the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) says that there’s an emerging desire to integrate marketing with PR.

Analytics has never been more important in this sector. Increase in social media use has created a huge dataset that marketers can utilise to improve analysis of consumer behaviour. Databases are used to better understand segments of the market and move towards direct marketing, helping to build long-term customer relationships. Graduates with numerical and analytical skills who are able to exploit databases are therefore in high demand.

Written by Editor, Prospects
September 2015

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