Marketing is a vast career category. Even as the world has undergone a massive digital transformation over the past 12 months, there are multiple subdisciplines -- or areas of expertise -- in which marketing professionals can choose to specialize.
This includes go-to-market strategy, content/copywriting, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), social media, public relations/influence marketing, lead generation, marketing automation, email marketing, graphic design, UI UX design, website development, and website/app development.
In a smaller company, you'll be expected to take on more of these roles yourself or coordinate with outside contractors and agencies. In a larger company, you'll almost always be able to specialize.
Who is a Good Fit for a Content Strategy Career
A marketing career today requires that you be open to continually reinventing your career path every two to three years. Most industry certifications expire either annually or bi-annually for a good reason: the pace of change is that fast.
In nearly all environments, marketing professionals are expected to have excellent written or verbal communications skills, as you'll almost always need to collaborate with internal and external stakeholders.
And with artificial intelligence (AI) emerging as a key category of automation, expect marketing professionals, more broadly, and content strategists specifically, will need to keep their skills sharp and continually reinvent themselves in the coming years.
Any Other Factors to Consider About Working in Marketing
Yes, as your marketing career advances, you'll likely specialize in marketing for a certain kind of company or a certain kind of specialization within marketing.
Early on, I'd place a significant premium on gaining opportunities to sample lots of different kinds of companies and marketing responsibilities, to find (a) what you're good at and (b) what you're most passionate about.
As digital transformation continues to run more industries into technology-centric industries, marketing professionals can collaborate with other teams throughout an organization.
For example, digital marketers who come from a sales-related background or enjoy working with sales professionals can specialize in sales enablement.
Digital marketers who come from a customer service-related background or enjoy working with customer success professionals can specialize in customer marketing.
Digital marketers who come from a product design- or product development/coding-related background or enjoy working with product builders can specialize in product marketing.
What to Expect When Studying Marketing
When studying marketing, place a premium on any courses and professors where you have hands-on opportunities to work on real-life projects. Doing customer insight research for buyer personas, creating a content calendar, building and growing a blog or social media profile, or storyboarding a video campaign are all areas that will serve you well in entry-level marketing roles.
I'm a huge believer too in supplementing classroom instruction with meaningful internships and related part-time jobs.
Students will almost certainly have opportunities to volunteer to take the lead on marketing-related projects for student organizations. It's never too early to start building your portfolio and showing cool marketing campaigns on your LinkedIn profile.
During college, my experience sampling part-time and summer jobs in everything from accounting to healthcare to marketing/selling hardware helped shape my career path in a big-time way.
How Marketing Jobs and Careers Differ in Different Kinds of Companies
Yes, the kind of company you work for and its size/resources on a comparative basis will dramatically impact the day-to-day responsibilities of marketing professionals.
Again, as mentioned earlier, in small companies with very small marketing teams (many times, you are the team :-), you'll be expected to wear lots of different hats.
At the other extreme, as an entry-level marketing coordinator at a Fortune 1000 company, perhaps your entire job is planning and developing, and creating one specific social media channel for one business unit.
The Types of People That Do Well in Marketing Jobs
To do well in most marketing roles, you'll need to have strong interpersonal skills, be well-organized, excel as a self-starter, and focus intensely on getting stuff done (GSD).
Marketing professionals who consistently ship their projects on time learn faster and gain the respect of their peers and internal clients.
Job Duties in Marketing or Content Strategy That Some People Make Like or Dislike
In some organizations, marketing leadership roles can become a political landmine.
For example, as B2B buyers' journeys have changed drastically during the past decade, many companies lost their ability to engage with prospects early on in sales processes.
Ten years ago, prospects would be willing to have sales conversions 10% to 20% of their way into a buying decision. Today, it's not uncommon to find prospects only willing to engage in sales conversations when they're already 60% to 80% of the way through their buying decision.
The shift in buyer behavior makes marketing much more important and impactful than it's ever been in the past -- a dramatic change in the roles of sales professionals.
Even with marketing essentially needing to own the first 60% to 80% of the buyer's journey, many companies still allocate 80% to 90% of their marketing/sales headcount/budget to sales professionals. And dramatically underfund marketing.
Some marketing professionals may enjoy the challenge of having uncomfortable conversations with leadership about reallocating resources. Others may intensively dislike this aspect of their job. To get a good feel for what this is like, where you're reshaping an entire industry and disrupting traditional career paths, watch the film Moneyball (or read the book).
Perks or Unexpectedly Fun or Enjoyable Parts of Careers in Marketing and Content Strategy
Marketing professionals that end up in the right kinds of roles in the right kinds of companies can get to work on some highly visible campaigns and initiatives.
For example, suppose you're in a digital content-related marketing role and produce webinars and podcasts.
In that case, you'll likely be able to host events with and interview high-profile industry luminaries and even celebrities.
How are you preparing to become a content strategist? Let me know in the comments below.
And if you're serious about leveling up on your content strategy career, enroll now in our free 7-day eCourse: Go-to-Market Strategy 101 for B2B SaaS Startups and Scaleups.