As the title suggests, I enjoy working in marketing, it’s busy, there’s lots of variety and usually loads of room for growth and creativity. I also get to spend a lot of days writing or creating, which was the whole end goal for me. BUT no job is perfect, so let’s have a whinge
*want to emphasise that this isn’t directed at my current role, just based from conversations between myself and other people in marketing/marketing groups I follow online*
1. No-one understands what you do
I’m not a spy but I might as well be. Even people my own age don’t really understand what I do day to day.
2. No-one respects what you do
“Just writing tweets innit’, I could do that”
You need to know that a lot of people will have this opinion: that it’s not skilled, it’s not hard and that any idiot could do it. Everyone uses social media now, so it’s no longer a specialised skill, right? Any idiot can send an email, right?
You need to know that the people who hold this opinion, will most often be senior to you and hold some sway over your budget, promotions and the respect your team receives. They know that they need you but they do not respect it, often thinking if they had the time, they could do the marketing better.
3. When you apply for jobs- they will nearly always ask you to do a little assessment/ bit of work for free
In a role where, arguably, my work could not be more publicly available, why am I required to prove that I can do my job to you? You can literally see my work. Admin assistants don’t do a bit of admin for free before they can get the job… so why is this the norm for marketing? My dad’s an engineer and was offered a role after one interview, no one asked him to come fix something for free, his experience was evidence enough.
4. Some employers will expect you monitor the socials/ emails at all times
We are not that important. No-one will die if a notification waits until business hours. There is no reason for a small marketing team to be effectively ‘on call’ 24/7. There is no reason a response to a comment can’t wait until 9am the next day.
*sides eyes the manager who sent me screenshots of a comment asking me to reply at 11:30pm on a Friday*
Yes, responsive marketing is super important and useful for building engagement and loyalty but know that in larger companies, they will hire an entire person for that role, in smaller companies beware that they might expect this of you in addition to your 9-5 hours.
Be wary of companies that have stats about response times because you might just be the one doing the responding.
5. Jack of all trades… master of none (sometimes)
Post pandemic especially, more and more is expected of the same size marketing teams. So unless you are moving into a role with a specialised title i.e. ‘Digital marketing officer-email engagement’, you will be expected to do a very wide variety of tasks. Great if you like variety and a challenge like I do but sometimes exhausting, especially when you’re starting out because it creates a lot of shallow knowledge about a lot of areas.
6. Marketing changes fast and you have to keep up
Never mind the algorithm God’s or the Google overlords randomly changing the goalposts, as technology develops, as life events occur, how people use media changes rapidly. Think of social platforms before and after Tiktok.
If you enjoy variety, constant learning and a challenge, then this part of marketing is great.
7. Everyone has a lot of opinions about how you should do your job
Fresh ideas? Love them. Constant criticism? Not so much.
Because your work is so publicly available, it opens it up to more opinions, mostly well intentioned. You will need to develop a thick skin though! This also calls back to point 2.
8. On the subject of criticism… the create, review, edit, review cycle can be hard
This is the life cycle of any content you will make, it will be reviewed/ proofread after it’s made, sometimes you will go through multiple revisions, sometimes it’s your opinion vs the reviewer’s. This is how you make great content but you have to develop a thick skin, don’t take it personally, this is how you will improve. However, this cycle can be tiresome, or hard going when you’re new.
9. If things aren’t going well, marketing will get the blame 99% of the time
Again, one of the down sides of having public facing work, you’re easy to point fingers at. Especially in post pandemic world where companies’ are still adjusting to how selling has changed, how people interact with brands has changed and some traditional techniques that don’t rely on marketing aren’t really working anymore but the same size team is expected to plug that gap.
10. There’s lots of admin, finance, planning and spreadsheets
Especially in smaller marketing teams where your role is less specialised, for every day you get to spend creating, you will spend another knee deep in a spreadsheet justifying the dreaded ROI of that work. Plus, if you’re doing anything to do with events, 99% of your time will be admin, planning and logistics.
Anyway, I hope this helps a baby marketer, or was cathartic for an experienced one! I would like to reiterate the point that none of the above reflects my current workplace. These are just some of the things I’ve learned that generally go hand in hand with marketing roles.