Degree in Hand: Strategies for Choosing Your Marketing Career Path

There are many types of marketing niches and, if you’re thinking of going into this lucrative industry, then you should understand your options.

Promotions

Promotional marketing uses incentives like contests or sweepstakes to engage the target audience with a brand or an organization. For example, one campaign – the ATOM Marketing campaign – focused on the movie Minions and offered exclusive content and prized based on the movie.

It did this by putting stickers on the Minions’ favorite food: Chiquita bananas.

If you had been on this project, this is what you would have done – place stickers on bananas.

If you get into promotional marketing, you will spend a lot of time strategizing contest-oriented campaigns for both offline and online campaigns.
Many campaigns are still off-line, however this type of marketing has changed considerably over the years which means that the only constant in this industry is change.

PR

Public relations isn’t dead yet. In fact, it’s very much alive. This niche involves positioning a company’s product, or a spokesperson, in a positive or appealing light.

Working in PR isn’t easy though. You must establish long-term relationships with your client’s target demographic, key players within the industry, and the media.

You also have to create a unique image that will ultimately influence the public’s perception of the person or organization you’re representing.

Expect to work long hours, including weekends. This is especially true if you work in the entertainment industry or crisis PR.

If you’re an extrovert or a “people person,” this is the perfect job for you.

Brand Management

Brand management is the analysis of how various company brands are perceived by the marketplace. You may need to change a company’s current demographic or do a “deep” analysis of how the company is currently positioned.

In a sense, you will become the “face” of the companies you represent. The ultimate goal in your job is to strengthen the company’s relationship with its target market. This may include price-setting or re-setting, packaging, and crisis and reputation management.

This job can be challenging, especially if the brand already has a negative image associated with it.

Advertising and Direct Response

Direct response advertising is one of the oldest professions within the marketing industry. Your job is to design ad copy that sells. You are responsible for the success or failure of a marketing initiative.

Unlike many other forms of marketing, you sell directly to the customer by explaining the benefits and features of your clients’ products and services, and then ask for the order right then and there. If you are an exceptional wordsmith, and can weave an emotional tapestry of awesome, backed up by logic and reason that’s practically irresistible, on paper or in a digital word processing app, you will have a lot of fun with this job and can write your own paycheck.

Social Media

Social media marketing is often thought of as the online iteration of traditional public relations. Social media marketing involves setting up social media accounts for clients, managing those accounts, and engaging with the clients’ target demographic.

Often, social media marketers will employ several strategies, outsource the bulk of the “grunt work” to independent contractors, or act as a consultant for a company’s in-house marketing team.

You will work odd hours, and may even need to work nights and weekends to complete projects.

Even though you will work primarily online, you need to be a people person, a good negotiator, and have exceptional rapport-building skills because you will be convincing your client’s target market to engage with, or buy from, your client without overtly selling anything to them (i.e. no hard pitch).

Content Marketing

Those who go into content marketing have a challenging road ahead of them. Some marketers choose to start out by getting certified online at simplilearn. Others attempt to go it alone. Content marketing involves devising marketing plans for existing content (or creating new content for client that can be marketed) and then implementing those plans.

In some ways, it’s related to PR because you must forge long-term relationships with publishers, either offline or online, and promote your clients’ content.

Content marketing often isn’t directly tied to sales, and is instead used to build brands and engagement, or in the case of online content marketing, to bring traffic to a website.

It can be a stressful job, and the marketing landscape is constantly changing.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

This is pretty much a “catch all” phrase that’s used by a lot of online marketing agencies to mean very different things, depending on the company. However, in general, SEO usually involves understanding search engines, organic search traffic and trends, linkbuilding methods and trends, how to market sites to cater to those search engines’ needs, and how to optimize client websites so that they are more user-friendly.

Many SEO companies focus heavily on linkbuilding, or related activities, because these tend to be effective and it’s something the marketing agency can control outside of the client’s website.

SEO firms typically break their processes down into three parts: Initial research, audit, and analysis.

Keyword research involves identifying and researching keywords that correspond with target user behavior and interest. For example, a firm might search for words and phrases related to baking if the company is working with a local baker.

The ideal keyword for a company is searched for a lot, but is not being targeted heavily by the competition. Needless to say, this is much harder to find than it sounds.

Auditing processes vet the keyword for intent and relevancy. In other words, the client has to want to be associated with that keyword, and it has to be something that people are likely to type into a search engine with the intent of buying or learning more about the client’s products or services.

Finally, ongoing analysis is done to measure results.

Some companies have moved to a tool-based system, where clients direct most of the process. For example, KissMetrics offers SEO tools to help clients make better marketing decisions and optimize onsite interactions for clients.

The company’s “Engage” product integrates with the client’s website and provides the client with a way to better engage with their audience. For example, the product can inject popups and other engagement tools to help increase conversions.

Other SEO firms offer more bespoke services, like SEER SEO.

Regardless of the firm, these agencies’ focus is almost exclusively online. So, you have to be comfortable with the Internet and be willing to change marketing strategy often to meet both client and search engine expectations.

Siva Kumar is a growth hacker, blogger, social media marketer, content strategist and content manager for Simplilearn. He enjoys sharing his research and ideas online.

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