In a world of fast-paced media, in formats from television to Twitter, the demand for outstanding marketing professionals has never been stronger. The more connected the human race becomes, the more value corporations and interest groups place on those who know how to spread the word in a profitable way.
There are numerous career paths available for individuals interested in marketing. Typical career paths include:
- Brand Management – Products or Services (BBAs typically start as analysts)
- Sales (especially entry level undergraduate positions)
- Market Research
- Pharmaceutical Marketing
- High-Technology Marketing
- Retail Marketing
- Marketing Consulting
- Conduct analysis, such as sales forecasts, business trends/share, competitive reporting, pricing, budgets and promotion effectiveness evaluation.
- Execute projects, such as new product development, promotional programs and package/design change. May provide creative input on projects.
- Interact and provide service to other departments (especially Field Sales and R&D).
- Understand key issues and marketing opportunities for the product or service, including thorough knowledge of marketing plan and objectives.
- Entry level jobs may focus on market research, with analysis of consumer needs and behavior, competitive activity and advertising effectiveness/spend levels.
More senior brand management jobs include management of multiple products and brand groups. Work at this level becomes more strategic and long-term in scope, with less day to day execution of plans. Relationship building is crucial at both junior and senior levels, including relationships with advertising agency partners, key customer account executives and other operating units (e.g. Operations).
Market Research: The market research function typically performs the analysis work that goes into successfully marketing a product or service. Market researchers are responsible for identifying consumer insights and behaviors, studying competitors, segmenting target markets, and calculating the optimal price and level of advertising and promotions. A strong analytical focus is required as much of the work involves utilizing marketing models and frameworks. Market research opportunities exist across all industries, as well as in service agencies.
Sales: Opportunities in Sales are extremely varied and plentiful. Virtually all industries and companies need people to fulfill the sales function. In many companies, a sales career provides an entry into the corporation, and provides a possible path into product management. Many BBAs who pursue a career in brand management start in a sales position.
Modern sales techniques have come a long way, and often include implementation of marketing tools such as analysis of local markets, customer asset management, and regional programming and pricing. Many larger firms have specific training programs in place to develop sales professionals to move into greater roles managing larger territories and other sales people. Sales careers often provide a route into general or business unit management.
High-Tech: While particularly attractive to MBAs with previous technical experience, those interested in this field can supplement previous experience with strong technical aptitude and coursework. Opportunities in this area are varied, but include product management and sales of technical products such as computers, software, system services, etc. There is a separate Career Path handout available for individuals interested in pursuing careers in the high-tech industry.
Some additional examples of industries to target for specific types of marketing include:
- Financial – Banks, Investment Firms, Credit Card Companies
- Health Care – HMOs, Hospitals, Group Medical Practices
- Public Utilities
- Entertainment – Sports, Radio, Television, Movie
- Real Estate
- Non-profit Organizations
- Warehouse Clubs – Sam’s Club, Costco
- Department Stores – Marshall Field’s, Nordstrom’s, The May Department Stores Company, Federated Department Stores, Inc. (Macy’s)
- Discount Stores – Wal-Mart, Target
- Gas Chains – BP Amoco
- Clothing Stores – The Limited, The Gap
- Restaurant Chains – McDonald’s, Pizza Hut
Several high-tech firms, including Amazon and Microsoft, recruit at Ross for marketing positions. However, the majority of the search in this arena will be off-campus. Many West Coast firms do not come to the Midwest to recruit, and the nature of this industry is such that hiring decisions are made on a cycle much different (later) than the traditional recruiting cycle at Ross. CS has resources at the Career Center available to assist in the off-campus effort. In addition, a West Coast Recruiting Forum is held in the fall in Northern California to facilitate interaction between students and firms. The High-Tech Club can offer further assistance in pursuing a career in a high tech industry.
Entertainment and Sports
There are many marketing opportunities available in the entertainment and sports industries, but these firms typically do not recruit at Ross. Therefore, students interested in these fields will have to conduct an off-campus search. The Entertainment Sports Media Club sponsors a Forum in New York City and Los Angeles to facilitate interaction between students and industry contacts.
Several large pharmaceutical and medical device companies, such as Eli Lilly, Merck & Co., J&J, Abbott, Bristol Myer Squibb and Medtronic actively recruit at Ross. Students interested in this field should also join the Healthcare & Life Sciences Club, which sponsors the Health Care Forum each year.
Before any company will hire you to sell a brand, they want to know that you can brand yourself, and often that comes naturally. If you would describe yourself as somebody who works hard but enjoys working alone, marketing may not be the right career for you. If you enjoy the challenge of selling a product, service or person to the public, you have found the right career.