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Marketing illustration

At the simplest level, marketing is the process of getting customers interested in your product. It could be done through many different avenues, usually depending on the type of business. Most marketing roles can be boiled down to two types of roles – technical or creative.

Technical marketing positions are often called marketing analysts or marketing associates. Their job is to untangle all the messy variables involved in tracking human behavior on websites, apps, in emails, or on social media.

Broadly, analytics professionals quantify the actual impact of marketing efforts and help everyone working on marketing strategy get a clear a picture of what’s working and what needs improved.

Depending on the particular task they primarily use a combination of three skills:

  1. Research skills to find data.
  2. Data analysis skills (a fancy way to say number crunching) to learn more about the data.
  3. Technical skills needed to use web analytics tools that collect better data.

People who work on the creative side of marketing (as opposed to the analytical side) do graphic design, video, audio, social media content, or written content.

You might imagine a brilliant Don Draper pacing back and forth with a drink and thinking up the next great ad slogan. While that may happen, most of a marketer’s work involves talking to other people, truly understanding what they want to accomplish or convey, and translating that into images and text, getting feedback, and making changes. It’s not easy, especially when conflicting ideas, deadlines, and budgets constrain what’s possible.

Sometimes it is a complete slog: You try 50 variations in a day and none of them stick. Then you try again the next day. And the next.

At an entry level, you may spend time writing or editing a lot of emails or website copy, making ads for Facebook or Google, creating images and diagrams, or maybe creating or editing videos or podcasts. Your work will most likely be a draft or starting point and get changed later by those with more experience. You’ve got to be OK with this!

Skills marketers usually have:

  • Attention to detail
  • Copywriting
  • Persuasiveness
  • Complex problem solving
  • Analytical thinking

Marketing is a great place to launch your career, whether technical or creative, because it's often focused on learning about the customers and the business simultaneously. If you love answering "why" or you love creating, starting your career in marketing just may be for you.

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