Marketing is a career that keeps you smiling

KELI Mitchell hails the joys of a multifaceted job in marketing.
John Lewis advert was a lesson in marketing. Picture: ContributedJohn Lewis advert was a lesson in marketing. Picture: Contributed
John Lewis advert was a lesson in marketing. Picture: Contributed

How many people do you know who really love their job? Not the “I earn a ton of cash, have a corner office and 18 assistants” kind of love. But the kind where you bound out of bed each morning, ready to take on the day. The kind where even the bad days can be insightful, challenging and still make you laugh until you cry. I suspect being a cowboy or an astronaut is pretty rewarding, but sadly we don’t have much call for them in Scotland.

So allow me to present to you the best job in the world: Marketing.

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Perhaps I’m biased because I’ve been in love with it for 20 years. But each time I’ve considered dipping my toe into fresh career waters, I’ve been reminded that I’m lucky enough to have not just one job, but many. As a marketer, you become fully immersed in more than just a brand; you become involved in the whole business. And it’s this unique aspect of my job that will a) save me from dying of boredom, and b) present endless career opportunities if I ever do decide to take the plunge elsewhere. Here are just some of the hats I get to wear on any given day:

1. Psychologist

Consumers (or “people” as they’re called in the real world) can be unpredictable and getting them to engage with your brand means getting under their skin. What turns them on? What are their ambitions? What makes them laugh (or cry, given the recent success of Monty the Penguin, where John Lewis had 23 million of us in tears)? Finding out what makes your target audience tick is crucial.

2. Analyst

You don’t need to be a mathematical genius to make it in marketing, but you do need to be inquisitive and analytical. You need to be constantly thinking of ways data can help you solve different problems in a business, and how it can support you in making better decisions. Using data to help build your story will make it easier to tell. Speaking of which…

3. Storyteller

People have been telling stories since the beginning of time. The only thing that’s changed is that we’ve switched from campfires to Twitter. Stories build messages people care about and it is our job, as marketers, to connect with consumers (sorry, “people”) using stories; stories about them, stories that relate to them and stories that celebrate them. As the old ad adage goes; “To move products, you have to move people.”

4. Futurist

Crystal ball optional, but knowing what people will want to watch, wear, eat, hear and drive in five years time is fundamental to a marketer’s success. Big ideas come from keeping your finger on the pulse and having a burning curiosity to find out what the future holds (and how it will affect the world around us). Just ask Marty McFly.

5. Sales(wo)man

Let’s be frank: marketing is about making people spend money and there’s not an employer in the land who doesn’t appreciate someone who really knows how to sell. Be it double-glazing, a mobile-phone contract or a new idea to a client, getting people to buy things is a core skill, and one that plays a pivotal role in most lines of business.

I can’t say I’m a fully-fledged expert in all of these areas, but I’d happily include them within the “skill-set” section of my CV (above the claims that I’m a self-starter with a passion for yoga, nature and Ethiopian coffee, obvs). Marketing is a field that is not only diverse, but one which requires continual learning. In the year 2000, social media marketing didn’t even exist, and now it’s a major component of any company’s communication strategy – and has an enormous job market to boot. It’s this continual evolution that keeps me hooked.

Going even further back, the past 30 years have brought tremendous change in the role of marketers within organisations, so we’re now considered some of the team’s most important players. Just last month, McDonald’s chief brand officer, Steve Easterbrook, was appointed CEO. I see this as an indication that stakeholders are finally beginning to view our talents as crucial to the direction of the business. And that means things are about to get even more exciting.

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Don’t get me wrong, a job in marketing can still be frustrating, stressful, demanding and seriously hard work. But it’s also seriously good fun. And I probably earn a wee bit more than a cowboy.

• Keli Mitchell is Client Services Director of Frame Agency in Glasgow and a council member of the Marketing Society in Scotland

• To find out how a membership to the Marketing Society is like rocket fuel and could help you move your career up a gear, email [email protected] or visit www.marketingsociety.comand subscribe to free industry updates