The advertising and marketing industries’ influence is ever present. Open a webpage, turn on a radio or television, walk outside and see a billboard or bus bench, and that impact is clear. The best jobs in advertising and marketing bring products and services into the public consciousness.
If a tree falls in the forest but no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?, asks an old proverb. Apply the same principle to marketing. Without consumer awareness, does a product exist?
Advertising is essential to commerce, and thus to the American economy. Consider that Samsung spent a reported $11 billion in marketing and advertising in 2012. And that’s just one company. Google’s advertising revenue topped $20 billion in the United States last year, surpassing print outlets for the first time. The staggering sums of money being spent in marketing and advertising are an investment in even higher returns. Thus, professionals in these industries are faced with high-stakes decisions on a daily basis.
Successful marketing is a multifaceted endeavor.
“It takes a team,” says John McDougall, president of McDougall Interactive Marketing in Danvers, Mass. “There’s a huge misconception on the client side that you can hire a ‘webmaster’ and they can do everything. [The agency] takes over for people like that all the time.”
McDougall broke into online marketing in the mid-1990s when giving clients a demonstration meant “plugging in a phone line and hearing that crazy start-up sound,” he says. He has seen the shift to web-based marketing grow exponentially, and with it the demand for a wide array of skills.
“The biggest thing I tell interns is to pick a category and figure how to do it really well,” he says. “When you try to wear too many hats…you can actually hurt [the company.]”
Finding that ideal category requires some trial-and-error, as that New York-based advertising professional Dave Wetzel illustrates.
"I'd recommend to anyone to never say never," he says. "Don’t limit yourself. You don’t know if you’re going to love [a different job]."
The professions perhaps most commonly associated with the industry are those within consumer product companies, their agencies and in the media, including advertising, promotions and marketing managers; advertising sales representatives; event planners and creative professionals.
Numerically, there are more advertising sales representative jobs than any other position in the industry. Sales reps are the necessary mediators who build and maintain the relationships between media companies, ad agencies and clients, and can earn an average annual salary of $45,350.
At a higher level, advertising, promotions and marketing managers typically oversee the entire project, both on the business and creative ends. It’s a high-stress field, one Wetzel says can be “cutthroat.” A certain mettle is required of those who step into agency jobs, he says.
“It’s not how a lot of [recent graduates] imagine it,” says Wetzel, pointing to the frequent and demanding deadlines. “I’ve seen a lot of people burn out fast.”
The reward for navigating those challenging waters is a healthy annual average salary of $108,260. It’s a demanding career path, but one well worth its place among the best advertising and marketing jobs.
In print, online and film, graphic designers have an integral place in the industry. The right visual packaging of a product can mean the difference between garnering a consumer’s attention or getting lost in a crowded market. Everything from image placement to font is the responsibility of the graphic designer, who earns an average annual salary of $43,500.
When deciding the best tactics needed to reach consumers, the market research analyst takes the lead and is one of the highest growth professions in the country, expected to expand 41% by 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. With companies’ continued investment in advertising, it’s no wonder.
In the ever-changing landscape of online marketing, McDougall says that specialized skills for writers should include understanding of SEO (search engine optimization), conversion optimization through quality content, and back-licking.
Here is an overview for each of the best jobs in advertising and marketing in 2013:
1. Advertising, Promotions and Marketing Manager
The directing hand that guides the mission for every new project and product is the advertising, promotions and marketing manager.