Not so long ago, marketing industry job titles fell mainly into two simple categories – communications and marketing. These categories usually had distinct functions. Communications traditionally referred to organisations with a purpose to communicate to stakeholders such as charities or the public sector, while marketing was traditionally the reserve of commercial and for-profit industries. Fast forward a decade and there are entire roles that didn’t exist before across specialisms like SEO, eCommerce and online advertising.
Here we try to shed some light on the different industry job titles and what they mean:
Job Title Nouns
Even within traditional job titles of marketing or communications, confusion can come from the interchangeable nouns used to describe each job. Is an assistant the same as a junior, for example? Would a manager and executive do the same job and need a similar experience? Ideally, the levels should run from junior – assistant – executive – manager – consultant – director.
While these nouns should be chosen depending on the level of responsibility the candidate will be expected to take on in the role, that isn’t always guaranteed. Some organisations may use the word “executive” because it sounds better than “junior”, for example, even if the role is entry-level. They may think it will help to attract a higher calibre of applicants.
There will also be a few other nouns used, such as coordinator, advisor or specialist. These will generally denote someone with slightly more experience to bring to a business in a consultancy-type role. The best way to check the level of the role is obviously to go through the job description to see what the essential criteria are and what the daily tasks might look like. This is particularly important to see which roles are more generalist and which are specialist.
A generalist role might not explain in the title but may require you to have a broad understanding of a lot of different areas, in order to lead a diverse team for example. If you need extra research, LinkedIn search is a good way to read the job descriptions and see the past career history of people who are doing each role across a range of industries.
Marketing Job Titles
Below we’ve explained some of the most common roles and what they would generally involve. Those that are traditionally pitched at entry-level for graduates are in Italic:
1. Marketing Assistant
This term will require a more broad understanding of the principles and practical skills of marketing that can be applied to any organisation. A big part of the role will usually involve the creation of marketing literature like brochures and may also create online content for social media, websites or email newsletters. While there will usually be a need for data research, budget overview and reporting, this role won’t normally manage a large team and will report to a lead who carries the higher responsibility.
2. Marketing Manager/Officer/Executive
Unlike the assistant level role, marketing managers are expected to bring some experience of working in the field and are at a level to develop strategy, plan campaigns, manage relationships with external suppliers such as PR or print agencies, and build stakeholder relationships.
3. Account Manager
Account roles will traditionally take place within marketing agencies. This will include the task of business development and finding clients, managing those retainer relationships and possibly pitching for new projects, too. This is in addition to running marketing campaigns for a number of client accounts.
4. Marketing Director
At director level, marketers will be expected to hold ultimate accountability for the whole department within an organisation. As well as annual marketing strategy they may also oversee the whole business brand strategy, be involved in senior management planning and recruit and manage a team of marketing staff.
5. PPC Manager
Pay Per Click advertising is one of the many specialisms that have appeared in marketing in recent years. A manager will run PPC campaigns for a business or a number of clients in an agency. They may even manage a team of executives and will usually be in control of substantial budgets. This role requires technical skills in paid media and may even require certification in things like Google Adwords.
6. SEO Manager
Another technical role within marketing involves the management of Search Engine Optimisation, either in-house (for one business) or within a marketing agency. SEO managers will be expected to have a high level of specialist knowledge and experience in developing campaigns across content, social media, PPC and SEO. The majority will focus on on-page (website) and off-page (link-building) strategies.
7. Community/Social Media Manager
These marketing roles are for digital-savvy, frontline communicators. Customer service experience and a strong understanding of social media channels can be enough for many of these roles are at an entry or intermediate level. Ability to create campaign ideas and analyse data insights is required, but most of the role is creative in terms of written and visual content that engages target audiences.
8. Digital PR
Also sometimes referred to as “inbound marketing,” a Digital PR will merge the functions of a content writer and SEO executive. More usually found within agency environments, these roles focus on the link-building element of the SEO role but do so by utilising PR outreach to online publications and creating good content to host there.
9. Content Writer/Copywriter
As with Digital PR, content or copywriters need to show an expertise in, and passion for, writing as a medium to communicate a brand message. This can be across numerous channels from websites to printed literature. But it is another area where a portfolio of work can take the place of paid work experience when securing a role at entry-level.
10. Email Marketer
Email marketing has become a recent specialism in its own right. Email marketing as a sole role will usually require experience in email platforms, devising campaigns, automated marketing campaigns, content writing and design, A/B testing, analysing data and showing a return on investment as part of the sales funnel.
11. eCommerce Marketing Manager
Marketing for eCommerce is another specialist area of the industry that requires skills and experience in areas such as automated marketing and remarketing, social media advertising, email marketing and managing influencer affiliate marketing campaigns. These roles are usually senior, managing budgets and reporting to company directors.
12. Marketing Consultant
A marketing consultant works on a more independent level. If inside a company they will be expected to bring experience to the business, to advise senior staff and recruit or train junior staff. In an agency, consultants would work like account managers, involved in bringing new business contracts in, managing clients and budgets across a number of marketing areas.
13. Project Manager
This role would focus on planning, implementing and evaluating projects related to marketing campaigns. While responsible for turning strategy and vision into reality by outlining the tasks needed to make projects happen, these are essentially senior roles that manage people as well as projects.
14. Marketing Data Analyst
Marketing has always been part-art, part-science, but the emergence of so many analytics systems across websites, social media and email, coupled with market research means there are now specialist roles for those who can number crunch. Analysts translate the data into information that can inform business decisions and marketing campaigns, as well as helping to evaluate activity for return on spend.
Marketing graduates should look beyond job titles to the job descriptions when choosing which role suits them best. The industry has a wealth of specialisms across the technical, creative and data elements, many of which students can build up portfolios of experience before the time comes to apply for roles. This makes marketing an industry that offers much more opportunity for marketing grads to enter at a junior level and work their way up, learning from their teams and managers along the way.
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