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Here’s what students really think of marketing

By Robert Jones 13 Mar, 2018
Essential

Chart of the day: Students don't think marketing offers the best career opportunities

Marketing has an image problem, we could struggle to hire the best talent if we don't position the industry better. According to a survey by Marketing Week and Unidays, just 3% of students believe marketing offers the best career opportunities when compared to business, finance, IT and other industries.

Students believe that medicine offers the best career opportunities but only 3% believe marketing does. The impact for marketing could be profound, marketing needs highly talented people not just from a creative point of view, but an analytical and technical point of view. We know that many businesses lack both marketing strategy and hands-on elements such as a lack of marketing automation skills. Marketers need to sell their career better.

A marketing degree was rated the lowest for setting students up for their career, but luckily almost 6 in 10 (57%) said they would consider a career in marketing, phew, I thought we'd really messed up the impression of marketing. But students said marketing was least likely to set them up to become CEO.

Marketing certainly seems to have an image problem

In the past 6 months, I've spoken to students at the University of Liverpool, Queen Margaret University Edinburgh and the University of Sheffield on why marketing and market research (I'm a member of the Market Research Society) is a great career choice. My conclusion: students don't seem to be sold a career in marketing that well, many seemed surprised at what we actually do day-to-day.

The industry could have a crisis if we don't promote ourselves better. I don't think people truly realize what marketing involves. I thought the students would think marketing is exciting, but market research is boring - my theory after speaking to students at those universities is that at the start (to my surprise) they thought marketing overall was a little bit boring. hard to get into or not very varied unless you're working for an advertising agency creating TV ads.

There could be other reasons that marketing isn't seen as being best for career opportunities, perhaps starting salaries seem low so students think it's hard to work up - it could be that because of the media it's portrayed that advertising budgets are being cut. Compared to business management, marketing may still be seen as the "fluffy" stuff, rather than the strategic approach to running a business. These are just my thoughts, but my concern still stands - we could struggle to hire good talent unless industry advocates promote marketing better. Are you up for the challenge?

By Robert Jones

Robert Jones is a specialist in CRO, UX Research, insight and digital Marketing. He is CRO Analyst at Enjoy Digital. He has a Psychology Masters of Research, has run large digital marketing campaigns to build research panels and worked in insight roles for Vision Critical, ASDA and WhatUsersDo. He also managed all of Smart Insights member resources and published several guides including "How to conduct Persona Research" as well as contributing over 100 blog posts to the Smart Insights blog. When he isn’t working on marketing campaigns he is most likely eating authentic Italian food or planning his next short trip. You can connect with Robert on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter.

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