A career in marketing and advertising

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The UK's marketing and advertising industry has a reputation throughout the world for fresh ideas and great results. The sector also covers an enormous range of jobs. Some of these are highly creative while others call for expert organisers. Most involve working in a team or dealing with lots of different people.

What is marketing and advertising?

It is all about knowing the customer and selling the product. Before any new product or service is launched, a company needs to find out whether there is sufficient demand to make it worthwhile. Then, once the product is produced, advertising helps to create sufficient demand for a company to continue producing it profitably.

So, you can see how market research might start off that process and how advertising helps to convince customers that a particular product is worth buying.

So, what type of jobs are involved in the process?

Many different specialists may be involved – from the copywriter and designer to the person who actually puts up that giant billboard advert. A telesales operator may be making sales calls to encourage people to buy, while a photographic model could be used to promote the product in sales literature and adverts. This booklet describes just a few of the many jobs involved.

Do I need any special skills?

To be successful in marketing and advertising you need to have good communication skills, enthusiasm and a creative approach. It helps if you can demonstrate some of these skills with work you have done at school, for instance. Experience counts for a lot too – many of the people we feature here recommend work experience as a way of showing what you can offer. It will also help to make your curriculum vitae (CV) stand out.

Are most of the jobs based in London?

No, not nowadays. While the capital is still the centre of the marketing and advertising scene, there are large agencies in many other cities and plenty of smaller and independent agencies.

There are about 600 agencies based in London, employing around three-quarters of the industry's workforce. However, not everyone works for an agency. Most companies have their own in-house marketing staff and lots of people – especially those doing the creative jobs – work on a freelance basis.

What qualifications do I need?

The wide variety of jobs at all levels means that there is no single route into a career in marketing and advertising. Entry requirements can range from GCSEs/S grades to degrees. Although there are no set minimum qualifications for a number of jobs in marketing and advertising, the profession is extremely competitive, and in practice the majority of entrants have degrees or postgraduate qualifications.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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