When I first started my professional work life and career in marketing I didn’t have a complete picture of what I am going to do. I guess this was also why I went to study business instead of some real profession (#noregrets).
As much as I would like to, I’m not going to spill my whole story here.. yet. This is for another time. I’m putting this post together to give some practical and useful tips to you young (or not so young) people who are getting into marketing.
I started with marketing around 2008. At the time I think I just turned 20. I returned to my home country Estonia from studies abroad and I started to figure out how to make some additional income from my bedroom.
I was always into computers and software and internet marketing was quite different back then.
I know. It’s only been like a decade.
Long story short, after 6 months of trying different things like affiliate marketing, Google Adsense, write blogs and also spending hundreds on different internet marketing products that ended up being a scam I finally made my first cents.
This is was it.
I knew I could make this work and it excited me, probably more than it should excite a normal person.
Either way, I have been testing and learning ever since. While developing my marketing knowledge, which by the way is mostly self-taught (although I went to business school), I also worked with several start-ups, built some of them my own.
Looking back and talking from my own experience there are things you should know before starting a career in marketing.
Before we head into the steps required to become a marketer, I want to let you know this – it’s never too late to change a career.
Yes, starting a new career at 30 or starting a new career at 40 or 50 and above is all possible. Now, if you’re in a rush and how specific questions about starting a career in marketing, scroll down on this article and skim the FAQ section.
Yes, we’re all busy. Thank me later.
Here are steps required to become a marketer and start a career in marketing.
1. Is marketing for me? Do your homework!
What does a marketing job entail? It’s a job like any other. You have your goals, that you break down to tasks and you execute.
Most of the marketing positions these days are for online marketing. Traditional offline marketing like radio, TV, newspapers and all that still exist, but they are (in my opinion) significantly less popular.
Now, marketing can be a lot fun and it can be frustrating as well.
We have this quiz here to figure out if marketing is for you (coming soon, check back later) or not. Shortly, there are times when you’re working like crazy and getting no results. Your coworkers are looking at you and you begin to question if you even know what you’re doing.
Other times, you’re getting amazing results and everybody in your office thinks you’re god. Business is booming and often you don’t even know why things are working out that well.
For me, being a marketer has been one of the most exciting professions there is. It’s a very good combination of 3 main elements:
I call it – The Marketing CAP.
If you’re a somewhat creative person, you don’t shy away from reading and understanding numbers from time to time and you enjoy taking the time to listen and understand people, then 100% marketing is for you.
Now, marketing as a field is quite broad and the job you might end up doing can only surround one of the CAP elements.
We have jobs for analytics to copywriters, SEO specialists, social media managers, media planners, ad designers and the list goes on. Online marketing is evolving at a very rapid pace and marketing specialist that can cover more than one specific field are really high in demand.
Do some research on different marketing fields and find out what is most appealing to you. Here’s a short-list of marketing fields and some of the best blogs out there that give explicit overview of them:
- Social Media Marketing
- Paid Advertising
- Search Engine Optimization
- Web and Conversion Optimization
- Content Strategy and Marketing
- Inbound Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Start-up marketing and growthhacking
This is a fairly brief list of fields and solely around digital marketing, but should get your ideas going and you’ll be able to cross out everything that’slessappealing to you.
2. Choose your field
Thing is, nobody excels ateverything and that’s OK.
When choosing the field that most speaks to you, bear in mind that all jobs pay well if you love doing them. This is common sense, so don’t rank some over others simply because one marketing job salary or the service fee is higher than the other.
From my own perspective I see a rising demand for User Experience Optimizer/Analyst in the field of marketing. Also, all kinds of data researchers and content creators are in high demand. If those titles make any sense to you and sound interesting then go for them!
If you still seem confused by all this, then take this quiz to find out a bit about yourself and see what we think should be your marketing career path.
Here’s the quiz – what type of marketer you are (coming soon, check back later)
3. Research job requirements
You want to do some research on companies and what skills specifically are required for certain marketing positions. Thing is, that headhunters and HR managers can have quite a different understanding of the position, job title and the skills and tasks associated with it.
Moreover, each company mightactually need different skills for their business.
My suggestion would be to dig through their list and make a spreadsheet for yourself.
List down all the required skills and experience requirements stated.
What I see usually is that the more complex and the more skills are required the smaller the company and the more hardcore multitalent they are looking for. This doesn’t mean that the salary is that great. Usually isn’t.
If you chose your field and you’re committed on that, then find job posts that are to the point and doesn’t require things that doesn’t seem like should be your responsibilities.
For example and SEO specialists hardly should design graphics for the content (he/she might, but shouldn’t). On the other hand a copywriter or social media manager should have some base understanding of designing graphics.
Click Here to download a PDF showing you how to get hired in 2 weeks!
4. Get some courses
Still with me? Awesome.
Once you know what skills and experience is required you can go ahead and get some courses online.
There are several entry-level marketing courses you can get for free. This should be a good start to get the basics covered. Additionally you can browse YouTube with relevant keywords. Although I always prefer courses such as Udemy offers.
Because it’s nicely packaged together and it’s easier to consume the material than to browse around YouTube. Definitely do Youtube as an extra.
Here’s a pro tip that will get you FREE access to even premium and paid courses!
If you have a LinkedIn account on free version, you can upgrade it to 30-days trial Premium and get access to Lynda.com (or linkdIn learning not sure what do they call themselves) course marketplace. Then you can basically cancel your LinkedIn Premium trial any time and still get access to the courses.
If you don’t have a LinkedIn account yet, then OH MY GOD go make one.
It’s a must have if you want to succeed as a professional in our modern society.
5. Attendnetworking events
In order to become a successful marketer you need to grow your contact base.
What does someone in marketing do? Well, among other things, they attend networking events. They share experiences, showoff their successes and just socialize.
One way would be to attend local get together events. If you are just starting out and do not feel comfortable meeting with other peers, then try starting it slow.
Go to the event and just decide not to talk with anyone. Just hang around, have drink, listen what they are talking (not in a creepy way) and take it easy. The conversation and socializing will happen organically the next time.
Just go to the event!
Remember, manygreat people have once been shy and reserved.
6. Get some coaching
Once you start getting relevant people to your network, you are so much closer to getting an actual job than you know it.
Frankly, marketing is a lot about people and trust (as probably with most professions). People, and marketers especially, are drawn to other people who are ambitious and goal oriented.
If you share your goals (getting a new job and start a career in marketing), I guarantee you that some, if not most of them, would like to know more. “How are you planning to do that?”, “Where are you applying?”, “What position do you have in mind?” are the questions flying at you.
At this point, they might see you as a rookie, as someone they could help out and teach. And marketers sure like to teach other people. Look here, I’m teaching you how to become a marketer with this blog post.
If they are willing to help you and show some interest in advancing your career. Consistently follow up with them and take their advise. Marketers are busy people and if you’re not there showing up, it’s not likely they will be.
If you can try to offer your help to them as well. This is something you have to show them not tell them. If you chose a design field. Don’t ask if you can redesign their Facebook cover photo. Just do it and ask if they are happy with the existing one. Assuming, it’s an ugly one, you have a new (hopefully a better) one to show.
This is a good way to get coaching (and possibly even a job).
7. Start your own blog or vlog
This is something that is fairly underrated. Marketers are social beings. When we are not talking with other people and trying to figure out the next epic campaign idea how to engage with people, we blog or vlog…
Blogging is a way to let the world know your tone of voice, your ideas and your technical skill.
Now that you have:
- chosen your field of expertise
- had some online courses
- expanded your contact base
- got some coaching
you are more than equipped to start your own blog. For sure there are hundreds and thousands of blogs in every marketing niche and you as a novice marketer can’t match up with these superstars.
Not to worry. The internet is big and by writing about relevant subjects you establish your very own personal brand. If you have exceptional writing skills, you might even end up as a professional blogger and say no to whatever marketing job is offered to you.
Meanwhile I am writing my own guide to set up a blog with content strategy. Here’s a great overview on how to start a blog.
A thing to keep in mind is Grammar. This is something new bloggers struggle with. In fact, this report shows that you could lose visitors from web search when your grammar isn’t on par. Make sure you double check your writings and ideally let someone else check it again.
8. Do some free work
So, by now you should be pretty confident about yourself as a marketer. It’s time to make money!
First, you need to prove that you truly are a marketing hero.
“That’s hard!” you might be saying.
Actually, no it’s not.
Thing is that the average Joe doesn’t know that much about marketing. Especially, when we’re talking about new digital marketing trends and what to follow and what not to follow.
There will always be this new feature that your potential employee or client will not know about. If you bring it to their attention and tell (ideally show) how it will make more money for them, they will surely listen to you.
Getting someone to listen to you is all you need.
Here’s what you should do:
- Make a list of all your friends, family members and other acquaintances,who are either running their own business or are in an executive position in their company.
- Reach out to them and tell them what you are up to and what your career goalsare(to become a kickass marketer).
- Offer your services to their business. This can be done in several ways, but you don’t want to come off salesy and be sure to communicate that you want to help them for FREE. This is for your portfolio.
- Get the green light and start cooking with the job. Yes, it’s free and you might feel demotivated. Not to worry. In my experience, when doing free work and doing awesome free work, it always turns out to be paid work in the end – one way or the other (ta ta ta ta ta ta, taa taaa ?).
- Report the results and plan for next activities. This is the place where you can shine and present a nice report of what you accomplished, researched, created etc. This is the time you are actually doing sales and if you did a good job, they are will ask more work from you (and this, yes you guess it. It’s going to be paid work).
9. Why marketing as a career – the motivation
If you find yourself doing the work with full enthusiasm even in the evening – that’s great.
If not however, it doesn’t mean that the marketing field is not for you. Keep in mind that everybody has motivation issues at some point.
Motivation to clean the room, motivation to start eating more healthy or motivation to finish up started work. There’s an amazing book on motivation by Steve Chandler called 100 Ways to Motivate Yourself.
It’s not linked to marketing, but still gives a good idea of how to stay motivated and focused at all times.
I personally like to read and learn new stuff about marketing when I feel demotivated. Because every time I read blogs and news about marketing, I get surges of motivation and I think to myself “Damn, why didn’t I come up with that”.
As soon as I get into that mode I just wish there were more hours in the day and I could do something epic from start to finish.
10. Start asking for money
Once you get into business with people and offer them your advice for free, you’d be surprised how many of them are actually willing to pay you for your services.
Be passionate about your stuff, deliver results and people will love you.
You might be thinking: “How can I, a marketer with little experience, ask money for my services?”.
Thing is that if you don’t ask for money or you ask very little of it, then people don’t respect you and think that your advice is not valuable. It’s okay to say no to people who are willing to pay you little money even if you’re broke. Something better will come along.
If you ask a proper service fee, people take you seriously and are more willing to go in business with you.
Because asking little = low quality.
Your clients (or employers) don’t want that.
A good way to establish your fee would be the following:
- Ask from your network if they have bought these services recently and how much they paid. Write down the number.
- Make a Google search for that service and contact somesellers who rank on the first page of search results and contact somewho rank in the 5th page. Email or call them to ask for a quotation and write down the number. Some of them might have the prices on their website as well (depending on the service).
- Now compare these numbers and decidewhat you’re comfortable askingfor your services.
- If you have your number down. Double it! I’m not joking. Odds are that if you are starting you are asking too little for your services. The worst that can happen is just a rejection from the client. This gets you in negotiation.
Keep in mind that if your initial number was close to what the best players on the market are asking then doubling it doesn’t really work. But I guess you figured that out already.
Also worth mentioning here – don’t just double the fee you’re asking. See how you can pack more value in the proposal. Think of your strengths that your competitors might be lacking. It can be as simple as giving the client a daily or weekly update in addition to the industry typical once a month report.
11. Reconsider your position on the market
Onceyou’ve successfully closed a client and delivered the results you agreed upon (and everyone’s happy), it’s time to ask yourself, what kind of marketing position you want.
What you’ve done so far is freelancing. Successful freelancers make a very nice living for themselves (even more than executives).
But it’s not all about money obviously. People are different and what drives us in the workplace can also vary.
You have to think further ahead. Do you want to be your own boss and do all the hard work, but also reap the financial benefits and enjoy the free lifestyle?
Or do you want to get hired into a company and be part of something even bigger and have less stress and more fun with your colleagues. There are many pros and cons to being an employee or being self-employed.
Self-employment in many cases can also lead to building your own marketing agency. Which is a different concept already and perhaps a topic for another time.
12. Keep learning
As with everything in life, marketing keeps evolving all the time. In order to maintain your professional status, I recommend taking at least 1-2 mornings a week and spend a few hours just reading books and articles, watching YouTube videos and listening to podcasts.
Simply gather ideas about various topics.
You can use your Facebook browsing time much more effectively. For example, collect ideas for your blog and for your social media. Browse the latest web design trends. See who won awards for creative works and so on.
I keep a Trello board system for myself to track everything I am currently doing and things I am planning to do in the near future. I also gather content ideas there and brainstorm new business ideas. If you like to visualize your goals, then it’s an awesome free tool to use.
- Figure out what marketing field suits you the best
- Get to know the field – get some courses and get coaching
- Attend events and expand your network of contacts
- Start a blog
- Do some free work
- Work out your service fee and get your first paying customer
- Set long-term goals and decide if you want to be a freelancer or an employee
- Start a healthy habit of learning about your field
Click Here to download a PDF showing you how to get hired in 2 weeks!
Frequently Asked Questions
What could be my salary if I have degree in marketing?
In my opinion degrees don't matter that much anymore these days. As long as you have some degree, which means that you have higher education and you're capable of learning new things then it's all good. If you have like PhD in marketing then yes some public sector institution probably will pay more. Of course this really depends where you're located in the world. In EU and US anyone with a degree should make at least $2,500 per month net.
What's the entry-level marketing salary?
I think the most junior position you can get is intern. So this can be in many times a unpaid position, but aim to get at least $1,500 net per month.
What to marketers do?
Most of the times we analyse the data to figure out, why out stuff isn't working or why it's working.
Why work in marketing?
Why not? If you're a person who'd like to have job that heavily combines creativity, analytics, psychology aka. The Marketing CAP, then marketing could one of the most fun fields for you.
How to gain marketing experience?
By doing. Start your own blog and start experimenting a lot of stuff. That's the best school you can ask.
Is marketing right for me?
You'll never know if you try. Check out this quiz - is marketing right for me (coming soon)
Can I start a career in marketing at 40?
Yes! You have valuable experience that other younger people don't. Use that in your advantage and show them who's the boss.
Can I start a career in marketing at 30?
Yes! What, do you think you're too old already? Of course you can. You're in your 30s, that's when people start taking you seriously. Chill out.
Want more stuff like this? Sign up for my newsletter – it’s free.
- Step 1: Get a Bachelor's Degree. ...
- Step 2: Acquire Relevant Work Experience. ...
- Step 3: Look for an Entry-Level Marketing Position. ...
- Step 4: Develop Expertise in Marketing Abilities. ...
- Step 5: Become a Member of a Professional Marketing Organization.
- Determine your career path. Marketing has many aspects. ...
- Research and learn. Make yourself aware of what the job market expects of you. ...
- Create or revamp your CV. ...
- Apply to marketing jobs. ...
- Build your portfolio. ...
- Search for marketing roles at your current job. ...
- Volunteer. ...
- Start networking.
Marketing is a field that can be difficult to break into because it requires a lot of skills and knowledge that you may not have yet. But if you're willing to put in the time and effort, it's also one of the most rewarding careers.How do I break into marketing with no experience? ›
- Pick a Specialty That Interests You. ...
- Build Your Foundational Knowledge. ...
- Take a Course or Get a Certificate. ...
- Build a Digital Marketing Portfolio. ...
- Network Online and In-Person. ...
- Look for Agency and In-House Jobs. ...
- Consider Related Jobs To Get Your Foot in the Door.
- Having a desire to keep learning new marketing strategies.
- Knowing their customers and markets.
- Showing time management skills.
- Managing large workloads.
- Creating memorable customer experiences.
- Understanding their competitors.
- Setting clear and actionable goals.
A marketer should have excellent spoken and written communication skills, a creative and open-minded approach, strong organizational and planning abilities, and proven team leadership qualities. Good marketers drive processes and are able to motivate others to see the end goal while completing day-to-day tasks.Is marketing a stressful job? ›
It is required to be alert and attentive to be a marketing professional. Most marketing jobs are stressful and may turn out to be toxic to personal and family life. Numerous marketing jobs demand spending a lot of time in the office or traveling. Unconsciously, most marketers carry work to their homes with them.Where should I start to learn marketing? ›
Online degree programs, digital marketing courses, and marketing certificate programs are great ways to learn about marketing. These courses cover general marketing topics as well as more specific marketing concepts, and can offer learners a flexible way to build new skills and advance their marketing careers.What is the hardest in marketing? ›
Product innovation, when you're creating new things, is the hardest part of marketing because it either succeeds or fails.Is marketing a good career for introverts? ›
There are many positions for introverted marketing professionals who prefer meaningful, one-on-one relationships or working independently behind a computer screen. In this article, we explore nine jobs in marketing that may appeal to introverts, including their average salaries and job duties.
The exclusive survey finds 27.9% left their role to learn new skills, while 27.2% were looking for a change of direction and 19.8% said the pandemic had made them rethink their priorities.Can you be shy and do marketing? ›
You can put your shy nature to work for you to make more contacts and land better clients. Seriously, you can do this. If you're an introvert like me, or you just want to get better at marketing, you can. When I learned how to handle marketing as an introvert, my business started to change.What is the easiest marketing? ›
Ask for Referrals. Asking for referrals is the easiest and least time-consuming of all marketing strategies. It's surprising how often businesses fail to use it as one of their marketing strategies.Can I do marketing if I'm not creative? ›
Marketing is as much science and numbers as it is about creativity and soft skills. Being creative is definitely a plus point for marketers but it in no way is a sufficient skill. Also, creativity is not always innate.What is the 3 3 3 rule marketing? ›
Whether you're crafting an eBook, a whitepaper, a guide, a blog, or other written collateral, the “3-30-3” rule specifies you have just 3 seconds to grab a reader's attention, 30 seconds to engage them, and roughly 3 minutes for them to spend reading the content.What is 3 C's in marketing? ›
The 3 Cs of Brand Development: Customer, Company, and Competitors.What is the 3 marketing rule? ›
The rule of three is based on the principle that in speech and text, the reader or audience is more likely to absorb information in groups of threes.What are the weakness of a marketer? ›
Limited resources, poor differentiation from competitors and negative customer perceptions are all examples of weaknesses that affect marketing.What is the 4 C's in marketing? ›
The 4 C's of Marketing are Customer, Cost, Convenience, and Communication. These 4 C's determine whether a company is likely to succeed or fail in the long run. The customer is the heart of any marketing strategy. If the customer doesn't buy your product or service, you're unlikely to turn a profit.What are the 5 A's of marketing? ›
Philip Kotler, the five stages (Awareness, Appeal, Ask, Act and Advocacy) allow marketing and sales professionals to create a map of the customer's needs and priorities during the different parts of their purchase process.
Does marketing require maths? Definitely yes! There is a strong correlation between marketing and mathematics. Marketing helps run a business and a business has to make money to exist which requires a lot of maths.How long should you stay in a marketing job? ›
All employers' requirements are different but a good rule of thumb is at least one to three years. Staying in a role for three years or so can let employers know you are wiling to commit yourself but also that you are up for the chance to learn new things.Can marketers work from home? ›
Just like with other tech roles, many digital marketing jobs allow you to work from home and earn a higher salary than you might in other junior positions. Landing a digital marketing job is one of the most direct ways for tech newcomers to start working in the industry.What to do in the first 30 days of marketing? ›
During the first 30 days, the marketing strategist will analyze current campaign performance to discover what works, what doesn't work, and how strategy can be improved. The marketing strategist will also work with team members and stakeholders to learn more about existing processes.How can I be smart in marketing? ›
- Introduce new products and services. ...
- Increase website interaction. ...
- Use social media marketing strategies. ...
- Find new leads. ...
- Maintain customer satisfaction. ...
- Get more online reviews. ...
- Increase in-person promotions. ...
- Build an email audience.
It takes most people one to three months to learn the different digital marketing tools and techniques, and it takes six months to a year to perfect those skills through practice. Of course, this depends on several factors.How to learn marketing from scratch? ›
- Step 1: Enroll in an Online Course. ...
- Step 2: Learn from Experts. ...
- Step 3: Read Digital Marketing Blogs. ...
- Step 4: Create a Personal Digital Marketing Project. ...
- Step 5: Listen to Digital Marketing Podcasts. ...
- Step 6: Watch Videos and Webinars.
Marketing is normally a three-year BA degree. This can be longer if your university offers placement years in business – something you should seriously consider, because the marketing graduate scene is very competitive.How can I be successful in marketing career? ›
- Improve your communication. ...
- Specialize and socialize. ...
- Grow your portfolio. ...
- Jumpstart your network. ...
- Go big with data. ...
- Build your branding.
Data analysis: Marketing departments rely heavily on data analysis that helps them gain insights into customer behavior, website traffic, social campaign results, and more. Analyzing information and creating a marketing strategy based on those findings is critical to a marketing team's success.
- Recruiting talent. ...
- Maintaining a sufficient budget. ...
- Generating leads. ...
- Finding the right tools. ...
- Being risk-averse. ...
- Moving into new markets. ...
- Retaining customers. ...
- Retaining and training staff.
Some marketing roles are still in high demand, according to marketing recruiters we spoke to who work with brands, agencies, ad-tech companies, and more. But they also said that demand is starting to come back down to earth after a surge.Do you have to be outgoing to do marketing? ›
Marketing careers don't require you to be an energetic, smooth-talking salesperson. There are plenty of careers in marketing for introverts—from the creative to the deeply analytical. Join us as we explore the many ways introverts can succeed in this field, including the marketing roles that are perfect for introverts.Is marketing a good career path? ›
It's consistently changing. If you enjoy a dynamic work environment with consistent changes, marketing may be a good career choice for you. The technology used for successful campaigns changes rapidly, and the field itself adapts to new approaches or strategies.Which business degree is best for introverts? ›
- Business analyst.
- Budget analyst.
- Business systems analyst.
- Quality manager.
- Financial controller.
- Database administrator.
- Director of information technology.
- Financial planning and analysis manager.
- Project management.
- Product management.
It's Creative and Challenging
And because marketing is always evolving and changing, it's a field that always delivers new challenges and offers ample opportunities to learn and grow as a professional. If you like variety and change, marketing is a great career choice!
There are several benefits to exploring this career path: Job opportunities: Marketing has a variety of career opportunities you might consider, including advertising, public relations, branding and content writing. You might explore one or several of these areas, depending on your skills.Can anyone get a job in marketing? ›
So yes, anyone, anywhere, can start a career in marketing. And below, are four steps and resources to get you started on your career path: Take online certifications. Update your resume.Does fear work in marketing? ›
If you're just looking for a quick answer, yes, appeal to fear marketing does work. It works at creating negative emotions. But does it actually spur the buyer to take the desired action? Almost every purchase we make as humans is based not just on need, but also emotions.
Being an introvert doesn't mean you won't be able to market effectively. Instead, it means that you'll find a way of attracting and connecting with clients that's different from how an extrovert approaches those tasks.What is the number 1 rule in marketing? ›
First Rule Of Marketing: Focus On Your Audience.What kind of marketing is most successful? ›
Most effective marketing strategy: Content marketing
If you are looking for the overall most effective marketing strategy for small business, content marketing is the winner.
- Print ads (8%)
- Pay-per-click ads (8%)
- TV/radio ads (2%)
Can You Become a Marketer Without a Degree? Yes. Many experts in the field didn't have marketing degrees when they got their first job, and many are self-taught.Is it hard to do marketing? ›
Try to remain adaptable. Marketing is tough these days. You'll need to analyze your new competitors, learn new tools, and drop your least beneficial strategies – then change everything when something in your environment changes.What knowledge do you need to work in marketing? ›
Communication skills are essential across all types of marketing positions, and job applicants with communication experience may have an advantage over other candidates. College courses in writing, editing, journalism, communication, psychology, and social media can help you acquire these skills.What are 3 things you need to know about marketing? ›
- Verbal communication. Marketing is all about communication. ...
- Writing. You'll be doing a lot of writing, whether creating content, or emails to stakeholders.
- Research. The more granular, often the better.
- Analytics. Understanding how to spot trends in data is essential.
The 5 P's of marketing – Product, Price, Promotion, Place, and People – are a framework that helps guide marketing strategies and keep marketers focused on the right things.
- Creativity. ...
- Research. ...
- Listening. ...
- Communication. ...
- Analytical and critical thinking. ...
It's called the “Three A's”: Awareness, Acceptance, Action.