Marketing Careers: 6 Areas to Explore

Written by Coursera • Updated on Nov 24, 2021

A marketing career could lead you down several in-demand career paths.

Two men and two women sit around a conference table, scattered with papers and charts, and have a conversation.

A marketing career typically involves generating interest in a company’s brand and products, but marketers go about that work in various ways. If you choose to pursue this in-demand work, there’s more than one career path to explore—and lots of growth opportunity.  

Learn about the different types of marketing and how your interests may align with each one.  

Types of marketing careers 

  • Brand managers oversee a brand’s persona, driving interest and appreciation for it.  

  • Communications and public relations teams promote a brand through a variety of external communications efforts. They often work closely with other units (social media, content) to foster conversation about a company. 

  • Content marketers create informative and valuable content for customers, like blog posts, podcasts, and videos.  

  • Digital marketers reach out to customers to promote products through various digital channels, including social media and email.  

  • Event marketers plan events and experiences that support a brand’s persona.

  • Product marketers use data-backed strategies to launch new products—or product lines—in  the marketplace.   

  • Search engine marketers (SEM) use search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to increase a company’s visibility on search engine results pages (SERP) so customers can discover a brand more organically.   

Marketing careers: 6 areas of interest

Within these different types of marketing, there are a number of career options to explore depending on your interests. Here are six areas to start:

Blue text on a light blue background that reads: "Six marketing career paths: 1) Research: Find and parse information to drive data-driven marketing recommendations. 2) Strategy: Plan and execute strategic campaigns to generate awareness and sales. 3) Design: Tell stories through visual mediums and create assets that support the team’s visual needs. 4) Writing: Write content for print and digital channels that exemplifies brand voice. 5) Events: Put together experiences to drive brand visibility, media attention, and customer engagement. 6) Social: Generate and publish content that garners attention and propels conversation on social channels.

1. Research 

Marketing teams rely on data-driven research to tailor and target everything from campaign messaging to product launches. If you conduct research,  you’ll use a variety of tools to help you figure out what customers need and want, and then translate your findings so your team can develop more impactful marketing strategies, campaigns, and more. 

Key skills: Data analysis, critical thinking, communication 

Could be a fit if you like: Finding and parsing information and using those conclusions to make strategic recommendations that improve a marketing team’s efforts 

  • Entry-level roles: Marketing assistant, market research associate, business analyst 

  • Mid-level roles: Market research analyst, global marketing analyst, social media analyst  

Read more: What is a Marketing Research Analyst?

2. Strategy 

No matter which type of marketing you work in—product, brand, content, or otherwise—developing a well-researched and brand-specific strategy is instrumental to success. If you work in strategy, you’ll be responsible for identifying new ways to reach customers and developing plans that ensure each campaign is a success. 

Key skills: Planning, communication, creative thinking, analytical thinking 

Could be a fit if you like: Thinking strategically about a company’s marketing needs, and then developing and executing campaigns that generate greater awareness and sales 

  • Entry-level roles: Digital marketing strategist, product marketing strategist, SEO specialist 

  • Mid-level roles: Brand content manager, product marketing manager, senior SEO manager

If you’d like to learn more about strategy but aren’t sure where to start, check out UC Davis’ course The Strategy of Content Marketing.

3. Design 

From distinctive logos to eye-catching packaging, designers create visual assets that set a company apart from its competitors and feed into larger campaign narratives. If you work in design, you’ll be responsible for a number of creative tasks that may include producing original art and infographics, editing and retouching photos, designing web pages for ultimate user satisfaction, or using research to inform your creative choices.   

Skills: Creativity, attention to detail, project management, knowledge of design tools such as Adobe Creative Suite 

Could be a fit if you like: Telling stories through visual mediums and creating assets that support a marketing team’s various visual needs 

  • Entry-level roles: Graphic design specialist, visual information specialist, web design specialist 

  • Mid-level roles: Creative project manager, design researcher, graphic designer

Read more: What Does a Graphic Designer Do? (and How Do I Become One?)

4. Writing 

Much in the way that companies rely on visuals to help create a unified brand image and tell a story, they need writers to do that very thing with language. If you work in some aspect of writing, you may be responsible for producing writing that exemplifies a brand’s voice, developing content for different digital channels, or even managing internal or external communications. 

Skills: Writing, communication, audience and engagement strategy, project management

Could be a fit if you like: Reaching audiences—be they internal employees or external customers—through the written word  

  • Entry-level roles: Junior copywriter, communications specialist, content writer 

  • Mid-level roles: Brand copywriter, marketing content writer, communications manager 

5. Events

Companies hold events and experiences to increase visibility about their brand and products. If you work in events marketing, you’ll be responsible for ideating and executing in-person or virtual events that support larger campaigns and strategies.   

Skills: Planning, organization, vendor management, budgets, multitasking, communication

Could be a fit if you like: Putting together experiences, either in-person or virtual, that results in greater brand visibility, media attention, and customer engagement   

  • Entry-level roles: Experiential marketing coordinator, events marketing specialist, field marketing coordinator

  • Mid-level roles: Experiential marketing manager, events marketing manager, field marketing manager 

6. Social 

It’s imperative that companies communicate about their brand and products across a number of digital channels. Social fosters a different level of interaction thanks to its direct engagement with customers. If you work in social media marketing, you’ll be responsible for generating and publishing content—written posts, videos, graphics, and more—that garner attention and propel conversation.

Skills: Writing, communication, creativity, planning, social media strategy 

Could be a fit if you like: Being both creative and strategic about how to reach and engage customers, and producing multimedia content that supports larger brand and product strategies 

  • Entry-level roles: Marketing associate, social media marketing assistant, social media marketer

  • Mid-level roles: Social media editor, social media manager, community manager 

As of 2021, skills related to social media were in high-demand. Needs for people with paid social media skills increased by 116 percent while social media advertising increased by 46 percent [1].

Read more: What is a Social Media Marketer and How to Become One

Marketing careers: flexibility 

A career in marketing offers a good degree of flexibility. You can apply your skill set to different types of marketing, moving where opportunities best suit your interests and needs. For example, if you start off writing blog posts for a content marketing team, you may be able to apply that experience to email marketing or search engine marketing. 

You can also get started in one type of marketing and eventually move to another. For example, if you begin as a social media marketing assistant, and learn you’re more interested in brand strategy, you may be able to move into that type of marketing. Having worked in social media, you have done brand management to some extent. 

Beginning in one area doesn’t mean you can’t jump to another, though it may take some additional experience—or time—to make that move.

How much can you make? Marketing salaries

Marketing jobs are in high-demand. LinkedIn reported that 381,000 marketing jobs were posted to its site between 2020 and 2021, and digital marketing will continue to be a high-growth area in the future [2]. 

While starting salaries for an entry-level marketing career can be lower, there is the potential to earn more over time and with more advanced roles.

TitleAverage Salary (US)
Social media marketing assistant$35,860
Marketing assistant$43,817
Communications specialist$55,975
Market research analyst$60,280
Communications manager$80,558
Event marketing manager$113,117

*All salary data from Glassdoor (October 2021)

Getting an entry-level marketing job

There are many entry-level roles in marketing to explore as you’re considering your career options, including event marketing assistant, brand assistant, social media marketing assistant, and assistant media planner. 

If you’re not sure where to start, consider earning a Professional Certificate from Facebook in Social Media Marketing or Marketing Analytics. Develop the skills companies are hiring for while exploring new marketing career possibilities, all at your own pace.  

Related Articles

Article sources

1. Marketing Week. "Social experts and digital specialists: The state of the marketing jobs market, https://www.marketingweek.com/social-experts-digital-specialists-marketing-jobs-market/." Accessed October 27, 2021.

2. The Drum. "Exclusive LinkedIn data shows marketers are in demand – especially in the digital realm, https://www.thedrum.com/news/2021/06/02/exclusive-linkedin-data-shows-marketers-are-demand-especially-the-digital-realm." Accessed October 27, 2021.

Written by Coursera • Updated on Nov 24, 2021

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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