Professionals in a broad spectrum of jobs already possess the skills and experience needed for this career shift. Crafting impactful content, planning campaigns, and meeting client needs are not exclusive to marketing careers. The desire to perfect these skills is a good start when shifting careers into marketing communications.
The field of marketing has evolved significantly in the 21st century. Today’s consumers expect more from brands and can access more niche products than their predecessors. The frontlines of marketing campaigns have moved from meeting rooms to social media accounts.
Making the shift from a current career to a marketing career requires knowledge about the field’s present and future. With this information in hand, newcomers are ready to learn specialized skills and tools sought by employers. We’ll see that a master’s degree in communications can set career-shifting professionals apart from the competition.
What is the current state of marketing communications?
Modern marketing campaigns are preoccupied with creating consumer experiences. Previous generations used marketing as a means to an end without depth or interactivity. The 21st-century consumer expects brands to immerse them in the worlds of their products and services.
Matthew Sweezey, the principal for marketing insights at Salesforce.com, summarized this trend by saying:
“Marketing can no longer be a siloed thing. It used to be just to tell the world about the products. Now we realize that consumers want experiences, that they’re influenced by so much more than ads. It’s about every interaction they have with our brand.”
Salesforce’s Fourth Annual State of Marketing report emphasized how consumer experiences have shaped marketers. A survey of 3,500 marketing executives around the world found that successful firms created experiences by:
- Using consumer data to create personalized messages for different media
- Adjusting job roles and teams to best use skills and experiences
- Building expertise in cutting-edge marketing technology
Connected customer experiences include rewards programs, referral bonuses, and incentives for returning to future engagements. Building these experiences requires a willingness to break through the silos mentioned by Sweezey. Professionals who shift careers into marketing bring new perspectives and the desire to work across departments.
The Tools of the Trade
Respondents to the Fourth Annual State of Marketing survey also discussed what technologies were in their toolkits. The most common responses to this question included:
- Data management platforms: 70%
- Guided selling: 68%
- Mobile campaign management: 68%
- Customer identity and access management: 68%
- Social listening tools: 67%
The common thread among these technologies is the simplification of data analysis. Marketing firms are inundated with floods of consumer and client data. Automating data processes frees up time for campaign development and high-level thinking.
Prospective marketing professionals have likely worked with versions of these technologies in their careers. The emphasis on data is not unique to marketing thanks to two decades of e-commerce and mobile device use. Career changers need to learn new tools but the learning curve is likely less steep than they expect.
Current Roles for Marketing Professionals
Marketing fields are lucrative for career-shifting professionals due to the need for technological savvy and consumer insight. The current state of marketing means steady demand for new voices and plenty of opportunities for advancement.
Experienced professionals who move into marketing careers may be positioned for marketing manager positions, depending on their prior experience. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found a median income of $135,900 for management professionals in the field. Employers are expected to add more managers with an estimated 6% growth in jobs by 2029.
Every marketing career shift is different, though, and there are plenty of available career paths. New marketing professionals can seek the following roles as they enter their marketing careers:
- Marketing Coordinator
- Social Media Specialist
- Public Relations Specialist
- Market Research Analyst
- Email Marketing Manager
- Marketing Events Coordinator
The marketing priorities of today will give way to new innovations and techniques not yet on the horizon. Emerging trends mean new titles, career paths, and chances for development. Marketing professionals with graduate degrees in the field are ready for today’s job titles and tomorrow’s opportunities.
What is the future of marketing communications?
Marketing campaigns succeed when they meet consumers where they are instead of where they’ve been. Respondents to the Fourth Annual State of Marketing survey estimated 34% of their marketing budgets are used on channels and tools they weren’t aware of five years before. An understanding of where the industry will be five years from now is essential to a successful career shift.
Forbes asked chief marketing officers to forecast future trends in their field. The following responses represent the horizon for marketing innovations:
- An increased emphasis on social good and activism from brands
- Influencers will move into the foreground of marketing campaigns
- Customized campaigns for voice-activated searches
All of these trends rely on a technical infrastructure still emerging around the world. Consumers - especially digital natives - are sensitive to inauthentic or clunky uses of technology. The Sixth Annual State of Marketing report from Salesforce.com shows where future marketing campaigns will be waged.
AI, Connectivity, and New Realities
In the past five years, artificial intelligence has taken the marketing industry by storm. AI can be used to create intuitive chatbots, real-time campaign changes, and consumer personas. Salesforce found a 186% increase in AI use by surveyed marketing executives from 2018 to 2020.
Seven thousand executives around the world were asked where they see marketing headed by 2030. Responses that garnered major impact ratings were dominated by tech trends including:
- 5G rollouts: 60%
- Virtual reality: 55%
- Augmented reality: 51%
- Smart homes: 50%
- Voice technology: 49%
- Wearables: 46%
5G connectivity will expand the possibilities for VR and AR marketing campaigns. Large-scale growth in smart homes across the world means campaigns can be customized for smartwatches, home assistants, and other devices. Fulfilling the promise of these technologies means creating experiences that treat consumers as unique rather than as data points.
What skills translate well to marketing communications?
Every marketing campaign relies on a balance of creativity, technical aptitude, and good management. This balance means that motivated professionals in other fields can shift careers without feeling lost.
SparkToro conducted a survey of 734 marketing professionals to find out what skills are essential in the field. The top skills cited below are encouraging to anyone who wants to make the jump into marketing jobs:
- Data measurement and analysis: 55.7%
- Creating content that performs well in search: 47.3%
- Crafting persuasive copy: 33.9%
- Teaching others how marketing works: 32.6%
- Familiarity with marketing software: 32.4%
Fields that transition well to marketing communications
Newcomers to the marketing field can learn these skills through a graduate program in communications. They can also bring similar skills from their past careers. Let’s explore the careers that translate best into marketing.
Journalists are natural storytellers and curious enough about the world to observe small details. The modern reporter needs to be social media savvy and capable of producing audio and video content. The ethics and standards followed by professional journalists mean that they consider all stakeholders in their stories.
The career shift from journalist to marketing communications expert is more about skillset than mindset. Entrepreneur explained why the path from journalism to marketing is easier than most:
“Their writing is agile, speedy and accurate, something especially needed in an era where distrust is common. Stories written by journalists have a voice, which builds trust and personality.”
The driving forces behind consumer decisions are psychological. Marketing expert Robert Rosenthal identified areas where psychology enters into consumer experiences with brands:
- Creating emotional responses by envisioning how products improve lives
- Highlighting products flaws or shortcomings to build trust
- Making customers feel like they are in exclusive clubs
- Leveraging loss aversion to motivate consumer choices
A psychology degree or experience in a clinical setting can be useful when making a career shift into marketing. Psychology professionals not only understand how people think but know how to conduct experiments and draw data-based conclusions.
Data scientists turn floods of raw data into insights for clients ranging from banks to national governments. They use artificial intelligence, machine learning, automation, and visualization to achieve these goals. A career shift from data science is possible because these tools represent the future of marketing.
Deloitte evaluated how data science has influenced marketing in recent years. This analysis found predictive tools were used for:
- Affordable digital ads for small businesses
- Micro-targeted messages and campaigns
- Real-time adaptability of digital messaging
Marketing firms often work with data science experts outside of their organizations. Data experts interested in a blend of creativity and analysis can move in-house by shifting careers.
Business school graduates and career administrators possess the planning skills needed for marketing campaigns. The intricacies of a departmental budget or staff training program require attention to detail and long-term vision. These talents are useful in the marketing field as campaigns stay on course with well-written marketing plans.
The career shift from administration to marketing is eased by the recent emphasis on interpersonal skills across industries. LinkedIn’s annual list of in-demand skills placed creativity, persuasion, and collaboration at the top of the “soft skills” list. Administrators who succeeded with these skills elsewhere can quickly adjust to the marketing world.
Every political candidate and issue campaign depends on making meaningful connections with voters. These campaigns rely on managers, communications directors, and other aides who forge these relationships in high-pressure environments. The candidate or issue in question is pitched to voters as solutions to their problems.
This description is only a few switched words away from the description for the campaign to sell financial services, dating apps, or shoes. Political professionals know how to navigate data and adapt messages across channels. The world of marketing offers a new frontier for career-shifting operatives who want to leverage their skills.
How can St. Bonaventure University help with your career shift?
The ongoing evolution of marketing communications places a premium on durable and expandable skillsets. Employers in search of marketing professionals also want experiences that translate well to projects in their portfolios. A master’s in communications can smooth the path of your career shift into marketing.
St. Bonaventure University offers an online Master of Arts in Communications that is ideal for those looking for new careers. This program includes in-demand specializations in content marketing, integrated marketing communications, and public relations. MA candidates across all specializations gain common grounds through core courses like:
- Embracing the Audience: Empathy & Ethics
- Embracing Research: Marketing Communications Research
- Embracing the Brand: Branding, Strategy & Execution
Faculty with real-world marketing experience also work with students on capstone projects. This process leads to advanced knowledge of marketing concepts that eases career shifts from other fields. Graduates will have vetted samples of their work to show potential employers.
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