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.
In a hurry? Skip ahead to:
Apply for Placements and Internships in Marketing
What is Marketing?
Essentially, marketing is getting consumers (or other businesses) interested in a 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. Marketing is very closely related to sales and advertising, and is involved in every stage of a business.
Marketing is hugely diverse and every industry uses marketing in some capacity. So, you could find yourself working in fashion, finance, health, or even entertainment.
It’s also one of the most fast-paced, exciting and rewarding sectors to work in. In fact, students search for roles in marketing on RateMyPlacement.co.uk more than any other sector.
"9% of all searches on RateMyPlacement.co.uk are for jobs, employers or reviews related to marketing - more than any other sector."" RateMyPlacement
What do Marketers do?
Remember that unnecessary large cloud-shaped lamp you bought because your favourite influencer said it was lit..? Guaranteed, a team of marketing officers were behind that.
But how do they do it? 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
- 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. To begin with, a survey will be sent to a large sample group to work out what 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 groups to estimate how much the target audience is 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 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.
Marketing will also consider the most viable way of advertising and selling the product internationally.
This can include several forms of promotion. Whether through email or social media, print advertisements or events to increase awareness. The aim is to create an 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 to a business’s 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, how long they’ll last, and when it’s best to apply for them.
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’re 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’. You won’t be stuck making the tea either - an internship in marketing gives you a taste of the working world.
You’ll spend your time working for a company, taking on real tasks a permanent employee would be expected to do.
It’s a golden opportunity to develop skills that you have learnt at university or in a professional setting. You’ll be able to build a network of industry contacts and help earn yourself a spot on a grad scheme after graduation.
Employers also use schemes like this to spot future talent and introduce them to their team and company culture.
What do you do as a marketing intern or placement student?
Marketing is an exciting and fast-moving sector to work in. Placement students and interns will have diverse projects and take on 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 marketing internship or placement 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 at 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 promote themselves effectively, in order to improve their reputation (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 faint-hearted. 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
Social media marketing, an offshoot of traditional digital marketing, has become so influential that companies now offer marketing internships purely for social media.
Typical duties include:
- Managing and responding on behalf of 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 a 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 a student.
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?
Your salary will differ between schemes, depending on whether it was a placement or internship, 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.
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 and internships are similar to that of graduate jobs.
If your 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 include 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 work experience?
We advertise all types of marketing placements and internships. If you’re in first, second or third year, there are plenty of businesses ready to take you on. The first place to look is on our jobs page, which features some of the UK’s best student 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.