Does Anybody Know Anything About Marketing?

I definitely have an interest in finance (more specifically, asset/investment management). However, I'd be lying if I said there wasn't something seductive and intriguing about the field of marketing. By the way, when I say marketing, I'm not necessarily talking about marketing within the finance industry, but rather the entire broad field of marketing. The problem is, I can only find general stuff online that I already know. What I'm curious about, is how are the careers categorized, i.e. what kind of jobs are available? What are the jobs that leave good opportunities for upward mobility within the industry? What sort of background does one need to land an entry-level marketing job? What kind of jobs can one get post-MBA? Basically, I'm trying to determine if a career in marketing would make me happy, so any comments, resources, etc, that help me answer this question are greatly appreciated.

Comments (12)

drtymny, what's your opinion? Comment below:


I think that I'm following you on the same subject. I'm a current finance major and am very interested in real estate/PE (we all know investing is where the money is). I took a few years off from school and was lucky enough to work in real estate for a while and then moved to help a friend open his first entertainment venue (which has since grown into a smaller chain). I was in charge of marketing/PR which including forming relationships with all print publications and digital news media prior to opening to create the "buzz". I also sat with our graphic design artist on all creative work (i.e. fliers, email campaigns, etc...). The most enjoyable part of my job was organizing events and seeing all the work I put into it come together for the special event. Now I did work 60-80 hours week and was constantly on my phone or computer, but I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the people I did.

Now this isn't as formal as a F500 company's marketing division and didn't require an MBA, but I made decent and had a blast! There's creative director for companies, there's brand management (think Ross Klein, formerly of W Hotels), and of course People's Revolution (big PR firm in NY). You of course have advertisement such as copywriting and such (usually big for English majors).

In my opinion, marketing over finance/investments is all about a sacrifice of income. You won't be behind a desk and will be able to meet many more people and spend much more face time with others (depending your branch of marketing). In the end though, it's about what makes you happy. Which is exactly where I am at.

In life, you sometimes do what you have to in order to do what you want.
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Best Response
econ, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks for the reply, it has been very helpful. Do you mind me asking how much you made? And what it was that made you have a blast? Also, sounds like the hours in finance and marketing are about the same, right?

Is it really a sacrifice in income? Sure, if you reach MD at a BB, or if you wind up in PE, then it will be hard to match those salaries. However, I'm thinking more along the lines of working at a smaller, regional asset/investment management firm, so I'm thinking the salaries might be more comparable (since unless you're a partner, I imagine you top out at about $250K or so).

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to break into marketing? Also, are there any standard career paths (such as, starting at a F500 company, then going to bschool, etc)? Do you know how easy it is to move within marketing (such as from market research to brand management or anything like that)?

By the way, have you decided whether or not you want to pursue finance or marketing?

Thanks again, and sorry for all the questions. :)

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raider4ever, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Going to give a long response as I've learned a ton over the past year spent in industry:

Perhaps a no-brainer, but marketing is most attractive within consumer-facing industries. While "less prestigious" than i-banking, and certainly less lucrative in the short and mid-term, fortune 500 Consumer (CPG, Retail, etc) brand management positions are difficult to come by and are typically held by people with a certain pedigree. In these businesses, brand management is most often seen as the path to general management (Brand Manager --> GM --> BU President --> grooming for CEO).

In most cases I'm aware of, outside of random one-offs, a solid MBA with pre-MBA marketing or advertising experience is required. I'm in corp strat/development at a F50 and most of the marketing folks I've interacted with have followed a path that looks something like this:

top-tier consulting or advertising (highly favored) --> top MBA (usually HBS, SGSB, Kellogg, or Tuck) --> marketing summer intern --> assistant brand manager --> brand manager--> onward

Of course there are plenty of folks without this background, but it's usually a meandering path. Going straight from undergrad is rare as a lot companies don't offer a set program. Usually these people have to wind through auxiliary marketing functions before getting to a brand team. Those are things like insights, contracts, consumer research, etc. Additionally, I've seen a number of people with MBB or top i-banking backgrounds have a very difficult time breaking in at more senior levels.

There seem to be interesting exit opportunities at a relatively junior tenure: either a) join a high-growth small company or b) create one based on the GM skills a brand role offers.

As for the negative's/trade offs:

1) There a tons of companies and a lot have pretty crappy "throw it on the wall and see what sticks" approaches. There are definitely prestigious plays (being on the Pepsi or Coke brand team) and a lot of crap (some dying dog food brand or something like that) 2) Following the brand manager role, there is no set path. It's definitely more uncertain vs. the traditional associate to vp to director to MD path. 3) It's usually a slow-go. At a big company, you won't be running a business in 4-5 years. Maybe more like 8-10-15-never. 4) Relative to the Street, you will not make a lot of money, for a long time, if ever. Out of b-school it's a pretty standard $90-110 base and $10-25 bonus, if at all. After that, it's a slow go of ~5% per in no promotion years 5) Lifestyle is generally 40 to 60 hours a week depending on the group and how innovative/aggressive they are. Additionally, weeks during plan-building periods are longer.

These may not be universal, but it seems pretty standard for big companies

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kennethlchen, what's your opinion? Comment below:

CMO at a 3 billion high tech firm in the valley makes 450k salary. I don't know what stock / crap they have. But that's their salary ish. That's what he told us over drinks when he was drunk.

econ, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Raider, thanks for the long reply.

I was kind of thinking of marketing as a back-up plan to finance, but your post has made me reconsider. For one thing, it sounds like solid marketing jobs are very competitive, so they're not the best back-up plan. Second, your post has made me realize how much more interested I am in a finance career compared to marketing (at least at this stage in my life). You said that you could wind up at a dog food brand, and that just sounds awful to me. In finance however, I think I'd enjoy being a financial analyst or PM, regardless of the instrument (stocks, bonds, or derivatives). Makes me think that marketing could be a high-risk choice, given that I'd only be happy doing it for certain companies/products.

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george_costanza, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I was wondering if the really good marketing stuff is more attainable right out of undergrad compared to banking/consulting? Plus, even though marketing obviously isn't an easy area, doesn't the fact that there are less people vying for marketing spots make slightly easier comparatively?

bug-me-not, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I have little understanding of this area, but since I have my own business, not knowing the right marketing strategy is a mistake. To fix this problem, I contacted the lead generation agency. The usual marketing strategy does not guarantee that people will come to you and want to buy your product/service. Lead generation is an element of lead management, a marketing tactic aimed at finding potential customers with certain contact details. This means that your marketing is as targeted as possible.

SouthSidde, what's your opinion? Comment below:
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LilMoyse, what's your opinion? Comment below:

How much money does marketing even bring in if you do it as your main job?

dennyluyis, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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