Marketing executives are involved in developing marketing campaigns to promote a product, service or idea. It is a varied role that includes:

  • planning;
  • advertising;
  • public relations;
  • event organisation;
  • product development;
  • distribution;
  • sponsorship;
  • research.

The work is often challenging and fast-paced.

Many organisations have marketing departments, meaning that marketing executives can be found in both the private and public sectors, ranging from the financial, retailing and media industries to voluntary and public sector organisations.

The responsibilities of marketing executives vary depending on the size of the organisation and sector and whether the focus is on selling a product or service, or on raising awareness of an issue that affects the public.

Marketing executives may also be known as marketing officers or coordinators.

Responsibilities

Marketing executives contribute to and develop integrated marketing campaigns. Tasks can involve:

  • liaising and networking with a range of stakeholders including customers, colleagues, suppliers and partner organisations;
  • communicating with target audiences and managing customer relationships;
  • sourcing advertising opportunities and placing adverts in the press or on the radio;
  • managing the production of marketing materials, including leaflets, posters, flyers, newsletters, e-newsletters and DVDs;
  • writing and proofreading copy;
  • liaising with designers and printers;
  • organising photo shoots;
  • arranging the effective distribution of marketing materials;
  • maintaining and updating customer databases;
  • organising and attending events such as conferences, seminars, receptions and exhibitions;
  • sourcing and securing sponsorship;
  • conducting market research, for example using customer questionnaires and focus groups;
  • contributing to, and developing, marketing plans and strategies;
  • managing budgets;
  • evaluating marketing campaigns;
  • monitoring competitor activity;
  • supporting the marketing manager and other colleagues.

Salary

  • Marketing assistants and trainees start on salaries around £17,300 to £19,000.
  • The overall average salary is £45,021, with the alcohol, automotive and the TV industries providing the highest wages.
  • Salaries vary greatly depending on the sector but on average the salary for a marketing manager is £38,192, while senior brand or product managers earn an average salary of £48,296.
  • The average salary for a marketing director is £86,165. Certain sectors offer higher wages and so pay increases may come with moving sectors rather than having lots of experience in one area.

Some organisations offer additional benefits including profit-sharing schemes, medical insurance, gym membership, company car and bonuses.

Income data from Marketing Week/Ball & Hoolahan Salary Survey 2014. Figures are intended as a guide only.

Working hours

Working hours are generally 9am to 5pm. Some evening and weekend work may arise when organising or attending events, or when working on a big marketing campaign. Paid overtime is rare, although some organisations will offer time off in lieu.

Part-time work is possible. Short-term contracts are also available, generally through recruitment agencies.

What to expect

  • Marketing executives are generally office based but often have to meet with clients, partner organisations and suppliers. They frequently attend a range of events and exhibitions.
  • There has been an increase in marketing internship opportunities.
  • Self-employment or freelance work is possible, although this is more common for experienced marketing professionals.
  • Career breaks and secondment opportunities are a possiblity.
  • Opportunities exist in most large towns and cities but are less common in rural areas.
  • Marketing executives can sometimes be expected to network and socialise with a range of stakeholders and customers to build and maintain relationships.
  • The work can be stressful when meeting tight deadlines, juggling various projects at any one time and relying on external suppliers, but it can also be very rewarding.
  • A formal dress code and working environment is usual.
  • Travel within a working day can be frequent. Absence from home overnight may be occasionally required. Depending on the organisation, the role may demand international travel.

Qualifications

This area of work is open to all graduates but marketing is an increasingly competitive sector to enter and a degree or HND in the following subjects may be particularly useful:

  • advertising;
  • business or management;
  • communications;
  • IT or computer science;
  • marketing;
  • psychology.

Employers often like marketing candidates to have good analytical skills and to be aware of digital media techniques, so subjects that demonstrate these skills will be helpful.

There is currently a skills gap in digital marketing so any evidence of this would be an advantage.

A postgraduate qualification, such as one from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) may improve your chances of securing a marketing position. A list of marketing-related graduate and postgraduate courses is also available at Creative Skillset Courses Directory.

However, even though an additional qualification may be useful, it will not guarantee a job or replace the personal qualities and experience that employers are seeking.

It is helpful to read job adverts in the trade press and request vacancy details to help you get a feel for the combination of skills and industry knowledge that a marketing executive needs.

Networking can be beneficial in helping you secure a marketing position. Your university careers service may host events giving you the opportunity to make contacts and meet industry representatives. The CIM also runs a range of industry events and workshops, helping to provide networking opportunities.

The CIM's online marketing careers resource getin2marketing provides industry knowledge, information and tips on marketing and related professions.

Skills

You will need to show:

  • communication and interpersonal skills;
  • analytical skills;
  • the ability to use initiative;
  • the capacity to work under pressure;
  • creativity;
  • drive;
  • flexibility;
  • numeracy;
  • teamwork;
  • influencing and negotiation skills;
  • oral and written skills;
  • business awareness;
  • IT literacy.

Work experience

Gaining relevant pre-entry work experience is very helpful, either via vacation work, placements, job shadowing or part-time work. Some of the larger employers may offer students paid summer placements. Any job that offers experience of sales, customer service, market research or public relations will be helpful for marketing roles.

Employers

As marketing is a core element of all organisations, marketing opportunities can be found across all industry sectors.

Marketing professionals work in small and large organisations within the private, public and voluntary sectors. They range from the financial, consumer and information technology industries to not-for-profit organisations, such as charities, local government and higher education institutions.

Opportunities also exist at full-service marketing agencies, which develop and implement marketing strategies and campaigns on behalf of their clients. These agencies offer a multidisciplinary service to clients as many look for a full 'communications' package. This is because they either lack marketing expertise or because they need to supplement their in-house marketing support.

Marketing is an increasingly competitive and specialised industry and is one of the most popular career choices for graduates.

Look for job vacancies at:

The CIM's online marketing careers resource getin2marketing includes a database of marketing work placements and recruitment agencies.

Specialist recruitment agencies handle vacancies but these are often for experienced marketers, see:

Alternatively, you could make speculative applications to marketing consultancies and to the marketing departments of different organisations. Word of mouth and networking is another way of finding out about vacancies.

Get more tips on how to find a job, create a successful CV and cover letter, and prepare for interviews.

Professional development

Training for marketing executives varies depending on the organisation but, generally, the majority of the training is on the job. However, formal induction training may be offered by larger organisations with graduate schemes. Such inductions usually reflect the structure, culture and practices of the organisation.

Continuing professional development (CPD) is very important within marketing and employers encourage staff to undertake various CPD activities. This can include:

  • attending networking events;
  • completing short courses;
  • reading trade press to keep up to date with developments in the sector.

A variety of external courses are available for marketing professionals. The CIM offers many relevant short courses on topics such as activating the brand, business negotiation skills and marketing communications. The Communication Advertising and Marketing (CAM) Foundation offers CIM-awarded qualifications, while The Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM) offers their own range of professional development and training courses.

Some employers encourage marketing staff to study towards the more formal qualifications offered by the CIM and may offer financial support, provide study leave, or both.

Studying towards a CIM qualification requires CIM membership and associated benefits include attending marketing workshops and seminars free of charge or at a reduced fee.

The CIM qualifications include:

  • Certificate in Professional Marketing - available to anyone wishing to gain basic skills in marketing;
  • Certificate in Professional Marketing - available to those in junior marketing positions, those aspiring to a career in marketing, or those moving to marketing from other backgrounds;
  • Diploma in Professional Marketing - for marketers concerned with managing the marketing process at an operational level and looking to progress into marketing management;
  • Chartered Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing - for those who have already gained significant knowledge and experience in marketing. This qualification focuses on the strategic aspects of marketing management.

Career prospects

After three to ten years, you can expect a promotion to marketing manager. After ten to 15 years, it is possible to move on to a marketing director role.

Career progression is firmly linked to gaining relevant experience and key transferable skills. One way of achieving this is by moving between in-house departments or working in a marketing agency or consultancy for several different clients. It may also be advantageous to move companies or sectors to obtain more rapid career development.

Marketing professionals can choose to remain in a general marketing role, or specialise in a specific area of marketing, such as:

  • event management;
  • direct marketing;
  • online marketing;
  • marketing communications;
  • public relations.

You may also choose to become a freelance marketing consultant.

Increasingly, further qualifications are becoming a prerequisite for more senior marketing positions. Individuals who meet the criteria specified by the CIM can gain chartered status, which may bring higher salaries. This has raised the image of the profession and means that chartered marketers are now ranked alongside other chartered professionals, such as surveyors and accountants.

Some marketing professionals may choose to move into other related roles such as sales, advertising or public relations.