Marketing Internships, Placements & Work Experience 2021
Find the best internships, placements and insight jobs with some of the UK’s top employers
Read about careers in traditional marketing, digital, social media, PR and advertising
If you’re considering a career in marketing and you’ve just found us, congratulations! This page is dedicated to helping you discover what it’s like to work in all areas of marketing, what types of marketing are out there and how you can get valuable work experience in the sector.
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What is Marketing?
If you look up the dictionary definition of ‘marketing’ (for the purpose of fun), you’ll find something like: ‘the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising’.
That description doesn’t make it sound all that exciting, which is misleading because marketing is one of the most fast exciting and attractive sectors to work in. In fact, students search for roles in marketing on RateMyPlacement.co.uk more than any other sector.
Marketing is very closely related to sales and advertising, and is involved in every stage of a business. Essentially, marketing is getting consumers (or other businesses) interested in a business’ product or service. It begins with market research and understanding the needs of your consumers, and then developing and distributing the product or service to the consumer or business.
“7% of all searches on RateMyPlacement.co.uk are for jobs, employers or reviews related to marketing - more than any other sector.” (RateMyPlacement, 2018)
What do Marketers do?
So what do marketers do? E. Jerome McCarthy’s theory of the 4 P’s of marketing is the simplest explanation of how marketers work in every stage of a business.
If a company is developing a new product, the marketing team will look to answer a series of questions to ensure the product is high quality and it meets the demand of consumers. For example, marketers will look into:
- Who is the target audience for the product
- Is this target audience suitable product?
- Are there similar products already on the market?
- Who are the competitors in this market?
- What messaging will increase sales of the product?
- Which platforms are best for marketing the product?
These questions are answered through market research, usually in the form of surveys or a focus group. First a survey will be sent to a large sample group to work out issues are important to the consumer. Then a focus group will be put together to define the details of what exactly consumers want from the product.
The marketing team will analyse the prices of competitors’ products, or use surveys and focus group to estimate how much the target audience are willing to pay for a product. If the price is too high, consumers will be scared off, if it’s too low, the product might lose money. The job of the marketing team is to find the middle ground.
How and where is the best place place to sell the product? It might be online, through an ecommerce site like Amazon or perhaps a more niche site if your product is in a niche market. On the other hand, a retail location might be better for driving sales.
The marketing will also consider the most viable way of advertising and selling the product internationally.
What does promotion entail? It could include one or all of online promotion through email or social media, print advertisements or events to increase awareness and interest in your company’s product.
The 4 P’s highlight how marketing is involved in every area of a business, and how crucial the marketing team is a business’ success.
There are three different types of marketing schemes available to students while they’re at university - placements, internships and insights. Below we’ve provided a short overview of each scheme, focusing on who they’re for, duration and the best time to apply.
Duration: 5-13 months
For: 2nd years
When to apply: Sep-May
Placements are also referred to as industrial placements, sandwich years or a year in industry. They are all the same, and take place in between the penultimate and final year of a degree. A marketing placement student spends an entire academic year working for a company, usually in the marketing team.
If you considering doing a placement, read our blog ‘Why YOU Should Do A Placement’, written by a member of our team that didn’t do one. (And regretted it.)
Duration: 4-16 weeks
For: All students
When to apply: Sep-Mar
Internships usually take place during the summer, which is why they are creatively referred to as ‘summer internships’. Interns work on a full-time basis for a short period of time to get some experience and knowledge of an industry.
Employers use schemes like this to spot future talent and introduce them to their team and company culture.
Duration: 1-10 days
For: Primarily 1st years
When to apply: Sep-Mar
Insights are also referred to as open days and are the shortest term of work experience available. They are primarily aimed at first year students, although are available to all undergraduates.
The majority of schemes take place during the easter break, so most of the vacancies are up on RateMyPlacement after the new year. As soon as it hits mid-January, start checking our jobs page on a daily basis.
Types of marketing
Marketing is an exciting and fast-moving sector to work in. Placement students and insights will have diverse projects and have to respond to new challenges on a daily basis.
Getting work experience in the marketing sector will expose you to various aspects of marketing, such as PR or advertising. Traditional marketing schemes include a little bit of everything.
However, there are schemes that specialise in a particular area. Below we’ve broken down some of the areas your placement, internship or insight may focus on.
Digital marketing refers to all forms of traditional marketing activities that take place online. The most common channels digital marketers work on are search engines, websites, social media, apps and email.
If you apply for a scheme in digital marketing, you might get experience in any of the following areas:
- Paid Search, often called pay-per-click (PPC) are the adverts you’ll see that the top or bottom of google search results.
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of optimising content so that a website’s pages rank super high on Google.
- Content Marketing is a pillar of SEO, and its job is to drive traffic to a company’s website, or specific pages on a website through relevant and engaging content.
- Email marketing has been around for yonks, but is still relevant to marketing strategies.
- Social Media is at the forefront of all digital marketing campaigns. From Facebook to Twitter to Instagram, it’s used extensively by companies
The PR industry is based around helping individuals and companies to promote themselves effectively, in order to improve their reputations (as well as their brand awareness). The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) states that "effective PR can help manage the reputation by communicating and building good relationships with all organisation stakeholders."
Why should you do internships in PR?
The world of PR is competitive and not for the fainthearted. But if you have the following qualities:
- A keen interest in current affairs, trends and the world around you
- Good communication skills
- The ability to work with different people
- A strong writing technique
- Good organisation and time management skills
- Calmness under pressure and the ability to work independently
- A knack for spotting and solving problems
- The ability to build relationships
Read ‘Is PR for you?’, a short blog written by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) to find if its a career that suits your skills and personality.
Social media marketing is an offshoot of traditional digital marketing, but has now become so influential that company’s offer internships purely for social media.
Typical duties include:
- Managing and responding on behalf a company across multiple social channels
- Creating and implementing social campaigns
- Creating imagery for social media
- Using data analytics to report on campaigns
- Liaising with target audience to manage user-generated content
- Researching key audience influencers and trends
The advertising industry is very competitive, as many graduates compete for a relatively small number of advertising graduate schemes and entry-level positions each year. This doesn't mean it's impossible for students to break into the industry, but what it does mean is that it's really important to get as much real-world experience as you can while you're still an undergraduate.
Thankfully, many advertising agencies do offer work experience and advertising internships, allowing you to join their creative or account management teams for a period of time in order to see what the work is like.
Undertaking an advertising internship is not just beneficial to your professional development, but it also allows you to get some live work for your portfolio and build a network of contacts at the same time.
How much will you be paid?
The money will differ between schemes, dependent on whether it was placement, internship or insight and the employer you are working for.
Marketing placement students can expect a salary between £15,000-£20,000. Interns are paid similarly but on a pro-rata basis because the scheme is significantly shorter. Insight students are unlikely to be paid due to the brevity of the scheme, but travel expenses and lunch costs are usually covered.
Placement students and interns in London are usually paid more than their counterparts around the UK because the costs of travel and living are higher.
How to apply
The applications processes for marketing placements, internships and insights are similar to that of graduates jobs.
If you’re CV dazzles, the employer will invite you to a video or phone interview. At this stage of the process, there might be up to ten other candidates in with a chance, so they use telephone and video interviews to screen candidates and unearth the talent.
Next comes the face-to-face interviews and assessment centres. Assessment centres usually last half a working day, and includes group tasks, presentations, the face-to-face interview and sometimes psychometric tests.
At the end of the assessment centre, the employer will decide which candidate(s) are the best fit for the role on offer.
Where can I find marketing jobs?
We advertise all types of marketing placements, internships and insights. If you’re in first, second or third year, there are businesses ready to take you on. The first place to look is on our jobs page, which features some of the UK’s top employers in the marketing sector.
If there aren’t any opportunities that seem quite right for you at the moment, don’t worry – there will be.