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Mansfield University Home Page > Business & Economics Home Page > What Can I Study? > Marketing > Marketing Job Positions

In order to survive and grow, an organization must market its goods and services. Marketing responsibilities vary among organization and industries. In a small firm, the owner or president may assume many of the company’s marketing responsibilities. A large firm needs experienced sales, marketing, and advertising managers, as well as staff, to coordinate these activities. The “Career Path” features that follow outline major marketing positions, providing job descriptions and projected career paths for each. Each position is also cross-referenced to the chapter in this text that discusses the marketing area in detail.

Career path 1: Marketing, Advertising, Product, and Public Relations Managers

Marketing management spans a range of positions, including vice president of marketing, marketing manager, sales manager, product manager, advertising manager, promotion manager, and public-relations manager. The vice president directs the firm’s overall marketing policy, and all other marketers report through channels to this person. Sales managers direct the efforts of sales professional by assigning territories, establishing goals, developing training programs, and supervising local sales managers and their personnel. Advertising managers oversee account service, creative services, and media services departments. Promotion managers direct promotional programs that combine advertising with purchase incentives designed to increase the sales of the firm’s goods or services. Public-relations managers communicate with the firm’s various publics, conduct publicity programs, and supervise the specialists who implement these programs.

Job Description

As with senior management positions in production, finance, and other areas, top marketing management positions often involve long hours and regular travel. Work under pressure is also common to solve problem and meet deadlines. For sales managers, job transfers between headquarters and regional offices may disrupt one’s personal life. More than 310,000 marketing, advertising, and public-relations managers are currently employed in the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the number of these jobs will increase faster than average through the year 2014.

Career Path

A degree in business administration, preferably with a concentration in marketing, is usually preferred for these positions, but for advertising positions, some employers want a bachelor’s degree in advertising or journalism. Those looking for jobs in public relations should have a bachelor’s degree in public relations or journalism. In highly technical industries, such as computers, chemicals, and electronics, employers may look for bachelor’s in science or engineering combined with master’s degrees in business administration. Liberal arts students can also find many opportunities, especially if they have business minors. Most managers are promoted from positions such as sales representatives, product or brand specialists, and advertising specialists within their organizations. Skills or traits that are most desirable for these jobs include high motivation levels, maturity, creativity, resistance to stress, flexibility, and the ability to communicate persuasively.

Career Path 2: Sales Representatives and Sales Mangers  

Millions of items are bought and sold every day. The people in the firm who carry out this activity may have a variety of title-sales representative, account manager, manufacturer’s representative, sales engineer, sales agent, retail salesperson, wholesale sales representative, and service sales representative. Sales manager are typically selected form people in the current sales force who have demonstrated that they possess the managerial skills needs to lead teams of sales representatives. In addition, many organizations require that all marketing professionals spend some time in the field to experience the market firsthand and to understand the challenges faced by front-line personnel.

Job description

Salespeople usually develop prospective client lists, meet with current and prospective customers to discuss the firm’s products, and then follow up to answer questions and supply additional information. By knowing the business needs of each customer, the sales representative can identify products that best satisfy these needs. After a customer purchase, they are likely to revisit their customers to ensure that the products are meeting customers’ needs and to explore further business opportunities or referrals provided by satisfied buyers. Some sales of technical products involve lengthy interactions. In these cases, a salesperson may work with several clients simultaneously over a large geographic area. Those responsible for large territories may spend most of their workdays on the phone, receiving and sending e-mail messages, or traveling to provide service to customers. The job outlook for sales managers is positive, with faster-than-average growth through the year 2014. Currently there are more than 337,000 sales managers in the United States.
Work as a sales representative or sales manager can be rewarding for those who enjoy interacting with people, are invigorated by competition, and feel energized by the challenge of expending sales in their territories. Successful sales professionals-both individual sales reps and sales manager-should be goal oriented, percussive, self-motivated, and independent. In addition, patience and perseverance are important qualities.

Career Path

The background needed for a position in sales varies according to the product line and market. Most professional sales jobs require a college degree, preferably with a major in business administration or marketing. Many companies run their own formal training programs that can last up to two years for sales representatives in technical industries. This training may take place in a classroom, in the field with a mentor, or most often using a combination of both methods. Sales managers are usually promoted from the field; they are likely to include successful sales representatives who exhibit managerial skills and promise. Sales management position begin at a local or district level, then advance to positions of increased authority are responsibility such as area, regional, national, and international sales manager.

Career Path 3: Advertising Specialists

Most companies, especially firms serving consumer markets, maintain small groups of advertising specialists who serve as liaisons between the marketer and its outside advertising agencies. The leader of this liaison function is sometimes called a marketing communications manager. Advertising agencies also employ specialists in account services, creative services, and media services. Account services functions are performed by account executives, who work directly with clients. An agency’s creative services department develops the themes and presentations of the advertisements. This department is supervised by a creative director, who oversees the copy chief, the art director, and their staff member. The media services department is managed by a media director, who oversees the planning group that selects media outlets for ads. Currently, there are about 4,700 full-service advertising agencies in the United States.

Job Description

Advertising can be one of the most glamorous and creative fields in marketing. Because the field combines the best of both worlds-that is, the tangible and scientific aspects of marketing along with creative artistry-advertising attracts people with a broad array of abilities. As exciting as it may seem, advertising is also stressful. Those in the creative field often have to come up with innovative plans on a tight schedule. Long hours are also common. Advertising professional must be able to manage their time wisely, be willing to travel, and deal with demanding clients.

Career Path

Most new hires begin as assistant or associates for the position they hope to acquire, such as copywriter, art director, and media buyer. Often a newly hired employee must receive two ro four promotions before becoming manager of these functions. A bachelor’s degree with broad liberal art exposure in courses such as graphic art, communications, psychology, and marketing is usually required for an entry-level position in advertising.

Career Path 4: Public-Relations Specialists

Specialists in public relations strive to build and maintain positive relationships with various publics. They may assist management in drafting speeches, arranging interviews, overseeing company archives, responding to information requests, and handling special events, such as sponsorships and trade shows, that generate promotional benefits for the firm.

Job Description

Public-relations specialists may work hectic schedules to help a firm respond to and mange a crisis or to meet the deadline for a special event. Although public-relations positions tend to be concentrated in large cities near major press services and communications facilities, this is changing as communications technologies allow more freedom of movement. Most public-relations consulting firms are concentrated in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., and they range in size from hundreds of employees to just a handful.
Essential characteristics for a public-relations specialist include creativity, initiative, good judgment, and the ability to express thoughts clearly and simply-both verbally and in writing. An outgoing personality, self-confidence, and enthusiasm are also recommended traits.

Career Path

A college degree combined with public-relations experience, usually gained through one or more internships, is considered excellent preparation for public relations. Many entry-level public-relations specialists hold degrees with majors in advertising, marketing, public relations, or communications. New employees in larger organizations are likely to participate in formal training programs; those who begin their careers at smaller firms typically work under the guidance of experienced staff member. Entry-level positions carry such titles as research assistant or account assistant. A potential career path includes a promotion to account executive, account supervisor, vice president, and eventually senior vice president.

Career Path 5: Purchasing Agents and Managers

In today’s competitive business environment, the two key marketing functions of buying and selling are performed by trained specialists. Just as every organization is involved in selling its output to meet the needs of customers, so too must all companies purchase goods and services to operate their businesses and turn out items for sale. Purchasing agents and mangers represent a vital component of a company’s supply chain.

Job Description

About 350,000 people work as purchasing agents and buyers for firms in the United States. Modern technology has transformed the role of the purchasing agent. The transfer of routine tasks to computers now allows contract specialists, or procurement officers, to focus on products, suppliers, and contract negotiations. The primary function of this position is to purchase the goods, materials, component parts, supplies, and services required by the organization. These buyers ensure that suppliers deliver quality and quantity levels that match the firm’s needs; they also secure these inputs at reasonable prices and make them available when needed.
Purchasing agents must develop good working relationships both with colleagues in their own organizations and with suppliers. As the popularity of outsourcing has increased, the selection and management of suppliers have become critical functions of the purchasing department. In the government sector, this role is dominated by strict laws, statutes, and regulations that change frequently.
Most purchasing agents and their mangers work in comfortable environment, but they work more than the standard 40-hour week to meet production deadlines or to be ready for special sales, conferences, or other events. Depending on the industry, these specialists may have to work extra hours prior to holidays or certain seasons, such as back-to-school, in order to have enough merchandise to meet demand. Many buyers do at least some travel. Those who work for firms with manufacturing or sources overseas-such as clothing manufacturers-may travel outside the United States.

Career Path

Organizations prefer college-educated candidates for entry-level jobs in purchasing. Strong analytical and communication skills are required for these positions. New hires often begin their careers in extensive company training programs in which they learn procedures and operations. Training may include assignments dealing with production planning. Professional certification is becoming an essential for advancement in both the private and the public sectors. A variety of associations serving the different categories of purchasing confer certifications on agents, including Certified Purchasing Manager, Professional Public Buyer, Certified Public Purchasing Officer, Certified Associate Contract Manager, and Certified Professional Contract Manger.

Career Path 6: Retail and Wholesale Buyers and Merchandise Managers

Buyers working for retailers and wholesale businesses purchase goods for resale. Their goal is to find the best possible merchandise at the lowest prices. They also influence the distribution and marketing of this merchandise. Successful buyers must understand what appeals to consumers and what their establishments can sell. Product bar codes and point-of-purchase terminals allow organizations to accurately track goods that are selling those that are not; buyers frequently analyze this date to improve their understanding of consumer demand. Buyers also check competitor’s price and sales activities and watch general economic conditions to anticipate consumer buying patterns.

Job Description

Approximately 156,000 people are currently employed in the United States as retail and wholesale buyer. These jobs often require substantial travel, as many orders are placed during buying trips to shows and exhibitions. Effective planning and decision-making skills are strong assets in this career. In addition, the job involves anticipating consumer preferences and ensuring that he firm keeps needed goods in stock. Consequently, the people filling these positions must possess such qualities as resourcefulness, good judgment, and self-confidence.

Career Path

Most retail and wholesale buyers begin their careers as assistant buyers or trainees. Larger retailers seek college-educated candidates, and extensive training includes job experience in a variety of positions. Advancement often comes when buyers move to departments or new locations with larger volumes-or become merchandise mangers who coordinate or oversee the work of several buyers.

Career Path 7: Marketing Research Analysts

These marketing specialists provide information that helps marketers identify and define opportunities. They generate, refine, and evaluate marketing actions and monitor marketing performance. Marketing research analysts devise methods and procedures for obtaining needed decision-oriented date. Once they compile date, analysts evaluate it and then make recommendations to management.

Job Description

Firms that specialize in marketing research and management consulting employ most of the nation’s marketing research analysts. These positions are often concentrated in larger cities, such as New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Those who pursue careers in marketing research must be able to work accurately with detail, display patience and persistence, work effectively both independently and with others, and operate objectively and systematically. Significant computer and analytical skills are essential for success in this field. Deadlines are typical in this field, but these specialists tend to have fairly regular work hours compared with other marketing professionals. Employment opportunities are expected to grow faster than average through 2014. Marketing and survey researchers occupy about 212,000 jobs in the United States.
Marketing research analysts create methods and procedures for gathering the necessary date to serve their clients. They may design telephone, mail, or internet surveys to evaluate consumer preferences. They may also conduct in-person interviews or lead focus group discussions. Once they have compiled date, they evaluate information to make recommendations based on their research.

Career Path

A bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in marketing provides sufficient qualifications for many entry-level jobs in marketing research. Because of the importance of quantitative skills and the need for competence in using analytical software packages, this professional’s education should include in mathematics, computer science, and information systems. Students should try to gain experience in conducting interviews or surveys while still in college. A master’s degree in business administration or a related discipline is helpful for improving advancement opportunities.

Career Path 8: Logistics: Materials Receiving, Scheduling, Dispatching, and Distributing Occupations

Logistics offers a myriad of career positions. Job titles under this broad heading include materials receiving, scheduling, dispatching, materials management executive, distribution operations, distribution center manager, and transportation manager. The logistics function includes responsibilities for production and inventory planning and control, distribution, and transportation.

Job Description

There are about 53,000 logistics in the United States in addition to 92,000 transportation, storage, and distribution managers. These positions demand good communication skills and the ability to work effectively under pressure. They involve planning, directing, and coordinating storage or distribution activities according to laws and regulations. A logistical analyzes and coordinates the logistical functions of a firm or organization.

Career Path

Computer skills are highly valued in these jobs. Employers look for candidates with degrees in logistics and transportation. However, graduates in marketing and other business disciplines may succeed in this field.

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