Marketing Career: 10 Hacks to Move Your Way Up Faster

marketing career hacks

There’s no right or wrong way to start and progress your marketing career.

It’s a vast field that you can enter through various paths and at different career stages.

In this article, the Loomly Team shares their top 10 marketing career hacks to move your way up the ladder faster.



Marketing Career Hack #1: Get a degree with a major in marketing

Marketing Career Hack Get a degree with a major in marketing

Let’s start with the obvious. Getting a marketing degree is a smart idea if you want a career in marketing.

According to Eric Hui, CEO of Single Grain, you can succeed in marketing with a bachelor’s degree in several disciplines. But a marketing degree makes it easier to land an entry-level job and rise in your field faster.

Here are the pros and cons of obtaining an undergraduate degree in marketing.

Pros:

  • Strong foundational knowledge of most major areas of marketing.
  • Greater flexibility during your job search to pursue employment in creative or quantitative marketing disciplines.
  • Good credentials to get your foot in the door in a marketing department.
  • Potential for a higher starting salary.

Cons:

  • Limited to marketing and sales-related careers post-graduation.
  • Blends both creative and analytical coursework, so unless you’re good at both, you’ll put in significant work in some classes.
  • You may still need a graduate degree for some of the higher-paying jobs.
  • There are many marketing majors out there, so competition is fierce for entry-level jobs.

With a bachelor’s degree in marketing, you can develop and refine your skills in areas such as:

Alternatively, if you graduated in another field, you could consider studying for a Masters in Marketing. Such graduate degrees can either offer a broad marketing perspective or specialize in one area such as digital marketing, advertising, or public relations.


Marketing Career Hack #2: Get an engineering degree with a minor in marketing

Marketing Career Hack Get an engineering degree with a minor in marketing

Graduating with an engineering degree with a minor in marketing is another sound option to start your marketing career as it’s becoming increasingly technical.

Traditionally, students majored in advertising, journalism, and English alongside marketing. These subjects prepared students for writing press releases, articles, advertising copy, marketing copy, website copy, radio and video scripts, and a wide range of other materials.

Another typical major, business management, prepares students for broader areas like business intelligence, analytics, and management.

But as digital marketing becomes more technical, marketing teams like to have tech-savvy members who can quickly grasp the latest technological advancements in tandem with marketing concepts.

For instance, marketing engineers typically handle all the engineering parts of marketing operations to help ensure the success of a marketing campaign. This involves executing marketing ideas and educating other team members about how technology can improve their marketing operations and campaigns.


Marketing Career Hack #3: Learn programming

Marketing Career Hack Learn programming

Following on from engineering, learning to program is a great way to supplement your marketing skills.

Programming skills for digital marketers to consider include:

  • HTML and CSS
  • Scripting, such as Bash, Python, Perl, JavaScript, PHP, and Ruby.
  • Data analysis – SQL
  • Data visualization
  • Understanding of programming concepts

Marketing Career Hack #4: Focus on in-demand skills

Marketing Career Hack Focus on in demand skills

It’s fair to say that marketing is one of the quickest changing landscapes – what’s in vogue this year may well be usurped next year.

A few years ago, nobody had heard of social media. Nowadays, it’s a prominent marketing channel.

LinkedIn’s research showed that hiring for digital marketing roles grew nearly 33% year-over-year in 2020. The top job titles and most in-demand skills include:

  • Top job titles: Digital Marketing Specialist, Social Media Manager, Marketing Representative, and Search Engine Optimization Specialist.
  • Skills: Product Marketing, Digital Strategy, and Brand Management.

The five most highly-sought marketing skills that brands are looking for in 2021 are:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Social media marketing
  • Content marketing
  • Data analytics
  • Product/UX design

Although it’s wise to focus on in-demand skills, remember you’ll need a broad set of marketing skills, including both soft skills and hard skills, as well as some underlying organizational best practices. Here’s our take on the 18 most in-demand marketing skills that brands want in their teams:

Soft Marketing Skills

  1. Verbal, written communication, and presentation skills
  2. Organizational and time management skills
  3. Research-focused
  4. Data-driven and passionately analytical

Hard Marketing Skills

  1. Strategy development
  2. Editorial planning /editing /proofreading
  3. Content creation
  4. SEO
  5. Social media
  6. Email marketing
  7. Paid advertising
  8. Web design / development / management
  9. Data analysis
  10. Marketing technology

Organizational Best Practices

  1. Collaboration
  2. Teamwork
  3. Culture
  4. Marketing mindset

Marketing Career Hack #5: Specialize in the future

Marketing Career Hack Specialize in the future

One way to climb the marketing career ladder faster is by becoming an early expert in rising trends, such as social commerce, NFTs, digital clothing, AR/VR, or virtual restaurants.

While some of these trends may seem offbeat, you only have to cast your mind back a few years when previous trends like subscription ecommerce, crowdfunding, group buying, influencer marketing, and social media marketing were on the rise.

While some people aren’t prepared to research and learn about new trends, others prefer to stick with what they know, so there’ll always be room for those who want to specialize in cutting-edge developments.

The only note of caution is that you’re careful not to invest your time and efforts in a trend that disappears before it’s accepted.


Marketing Career Hack #6: Build your online presence

Marketing Career Hack Build your online presence

When it comes to building your online presence, you can scale from polishing your LinkedIn profile to becoming a creator or influencer, whether it’s in the field of marketing or not.

One thing’s for sure, though – employers do, and will, search for you online:

Almost 80% of employers “Google” job seekers before even inviting them into an interview. This is the #1 reason why a personal brand is so important.

Developing a personal brand might sound challenging, but there are incremental steps you can take to establish credibility in your niche.  Here are 10 tips to help you build an authentic personal brand –and grow your career as a result.

  1. Figure out who you are. Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses. Ask yourself:
    1. In which areas of work do I perform well?
    2. What motivates me?
    3. What characteristics have others complimented me on?
    4. Which projects have others had to help me with repeatedly?
    5. Which roles drain my energy the most?
    6. Which projects can I spend hours on without feeling overwhelmed or tired?
  2. Decide what you want to be known for. Knowing where you want to be in five or 10 years – and the attributes you wish to be known for – can help you decide what steps you need to take to get there.
  3. Define your audience. The sooner you define your audience – e.g. recruiters, industry thought leaders, aspiring marketers – the easier it will be to craft your story, since you’ll know the type of story you need to tell (and where you need to tell it.)
  4. Research your niche and follow the experts. Your goal is to stand out. But you can’t rise to the top without taking note of who’s already there.
  5. Ask for informational interviews. Interview experts to gain the latest insights about your niche, such as:
    1. How did you break into the industry?
    2. What steps would you take if you were to make the transition all over again?
    3. How do you see the industry evolving?
    4. How do you stay up-to-date with industry trends?
    5. Are there any professional or trade associations I should join?
  6. Prepare your elevator pitch. Spend some time crafting a brief story (30-60 seconds) about who you are, what you do, and where you’re going (or would like to go) in your career.
  7. Embrace networking. Considering 85% of all jobs are filled through networking, regularly attending marketing events will help you not only build your personal brand but potentially advance your career, too.
  8. Ask for recommendations. Having current and former colleagues and managers endorse you is one of the easiest and most effective ways to define your personal brand.
  9. Grow your online presence. With so many options available, choose the medium that best suits you:
    1. LinkedIn is the ultimate site for defining and marketing your brand. You can leverage other social channels, too, depending on your strengths and your audience. For example, you might feel comfortable in front of the camera running a YouTube channel.
    2. A personal website/portfolio/blog is perfect for marketers who want to showcase and highlight their talents.
    3. Podcasting is another option if you like talking and interviewing.
  10. Remember that your personal brand isn’t just online. It’s how you present yourself at home and in the office. Your story, combined with everyday interactions, ultimately defines your brand.

Marketing Career Hack #7: Launch a side hustle

Marketing Career Hack Launch a side hustle

Having a marketing-related degree isn’t the only way to grow your career. Launching a side hustle allows you to learn the ropes of marketing through hands-on experience that you might not find in the classroom.

Here are a few ways launching a side hustle can make a difference to your career:

Learn new skills – Taking classes can teach you valuable skills and knowledge, but a side hustle allows you to learn and develop essential entrepreneurial skills in real life.

Income security – Having a regular 9 to 5 job is not always financially safe and secure. For instance, companies go out of business, employees get made redundant, and salaries can stagnate while living expenses rise.

Having a side hustle that provides extra income (even a small amount) can bring much-needed security should any of these problems strike you.

Freedom – The greatest benefit of a side hustle is that it gives you the chance to go solo and launch your own business. If your side hustle takes off, you know you’ve got a good chance of making it a successful full-time business.

Besides the positives, there are a few things you need to be mindful of before launching a side hustle:

  • Check it’s not against company policy
  • Don’t steal from your regular work time
  • Don’t miss out on better-paid overtime
  • Don’t undermine your personal brand
  • Avoid burnout working too many hours

However, done correctly, a side hustle can open up more opportunities to do the work you want, where, when, and how you want to do it.


Marketing Career Hack #8: Gain international experience by working abroad

Marketing Career Hack Gain international experience by working abroad

Once the pandemic is over and safety measures allow it, you may want to consider working abroad to gain international marketing experience.

Working abroad forces you to step outside your comfort zone, develop new skills, and experience personal growth. From an employers’ perspective, hiring managers will be attracted to your broader skill set and stronger character.

Here are some of the ways working abroad can benefit your career:

  • Improves your communication skills
  • Extends your professional network
  • Adds a competitive edge to your resume
  • Opens yourself to more international roles
  • Helps you find your passion
  • Broadens your life experience

Marketing Career Hack #9: Join offline marketing communities

Marketing Career Hack Join offline marketing communities

Again, once the pandemic is over and safety measures allow it, you should consider attending meetups, events, and conferences. Why? Because as mentioned earlier, 85% of all jobs are filled through networking.

Offline events allow you to get out and meet people in real life. You never know who you might meet that could lead to a career move down the road. An informal chat now, followed by linking up online, can work wonders for your career.

Conferences

Consider attending one of the big marketing conferences, such as Inbound (backed by HubSpot) or Content Marketing World (backed by CMI). Many of the biggest names in marketing attend these conferences that include networking breakouts, tactical sessions, and innovative workshops. But it’s also the casual meetings over lunch and dinner where you can expand your network.

Meetups

If you can’t attend one of the major marketing conventions, you can always join or host a local marketing event through a service like Meetup. Meeting locally means you can meet regularly and build deeper relationships in your community.


Marketing Career Hack #10: Join online marketing communities

Marketing Career Hack Join online marketing communities

Until the pandemic ends and #9 becomes possible again, you can always join online marketing communities on LinkedIn, Facebook, Reddit, and Clubhouse.

As we’ve all become accustomed to meeting online, these communities can prove just as valuable.

Take a look at the most popular groups on LinkedIn:

marketing career hacks join online communities

All of them are online marketing communities with thousands of members, so there are plenty of marketing professionals for you to meet virtually and extend your network.

You can also find marketing groups and communities on Facebook (e.g. The Content Marketing Lounge) and Reddit (e.g. Marketing and Advertising). And, if you’ve been invited, you can even hang out with marketers in Clubhouse.


Marketing Career Hacks in a Nutshell

Ready to accelerate your marketing career?

Here’s a quick recap of our ten marketing career hacks:

  1. Graduate with a major in marketing
  2. Study an engineering degree with a minor in marketing
  3. Learn programming
  4. Focus on in-demand skills
  5. Specialize in the future
  6. Build your online presence
  7. Launch a side hustle
  8. Gain international experience by working abroad
  9. Join offline marketing communities
  10. Join online marketing communities
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