So You Want to Be a Brand Marketer

Here's How You Start

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What is a brand marketer? The brand marketer position is key to any consumer products or service business -- helping to define a brand, distinguishing that brand in the marketplace through media and other promotions, communicating the benefits of the brand to the public. One of the world's largest and famously one of the savviest marketers ever calls its brand marketers "the owner of the brand's equity."

Where to start. Inside a company, the recent college grad will be considered for entry-level jobs such as marketing assistant. (Some larger companies, however, are looking for recent MBAs even for entry-level marketing jobs.) Marketer job listings can be found in the recruitment sections of corporate sites, as well as via well-known job sites such as and social networks like LinkedIn. Be forewarned about some job-placement services, corporate recruiters say. Many are scams, and still other companies simply do not work with outside agencies to find entry-level hires. As with other marketing jobs, your school advisor as well as job fairs, on-campus recruitment events and networking events are important ways to make contacts, learn about available jobs and put the word out about yourself.

What is required. Most prospective bosses will be looking for the candidate to have some kind of background in marketing or sales, especially in consumer goods. Also, any experience in a media-related field is a plus. How to achieve this? Get an internship, or apply for any number of part-time or temporary marketing jobs being advertised. In this tight job market, more companies are looking to fill part-time or temporary positions; do not discount the possibility of these jobs turning into more permanent positions down the road, or how that work experience will be a selling point on your resume.

As with most jobs in any area of marketing, recruiters are looking for strong communication skills, creativity, the ability to work in a fast-paced, multitasking environment and, of course, a passion for media and marketing, notably digital media. One airline, seeking an entry-level marketing communications coordinator, listed as a requirement a "broad awareness of popular culture." So going for a job in brand marketer, be prepared to "show off" your knowledge and passion for a diverse range of social and cultural touch points.

What will the job entail? As with the media seller job, the marketing assistant will be required to do any number of administrative duties -- from mailings to scheduling -- so any office skills you may have developed are a selling point. Also, familiarity with popular computer programs (including Excel, PowerPoint, Lotus Notes and Salesforce) will also make you more marketable. And any life experience -- from traveling abroad to speaking other languages to internships or even relevant part-time work experience you may have had -- will further strengthen your credentials.

Besides the marketing assistant, another entry-level marketing position is the outside sales representative, or "rep." Despite the job title, in many cases, the rep does not actually "sell" but, rather, acts as a brand steward for a marketer at the store level: helping to devise and execute in-store promotions, working with store managers to ensure a brand gets maximum exposure, making sure the brand is well represented on shelves (especially in relation to rival brands). Thus, experience you may have had working in a retail environment, any retail environment, and the knowledge and appreciation you garnered for brands and their marketing in those jobs, will be seen as a plus. Naturally, experience in or understanding of the relevant field -- knowledge of fashion if applying for a position in an apparel marketer, for example -- is something you should play up.

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