Careers and Employability Service
Services for current students

Marketing and Digital Marketing

People collaborating around a desk with documents and a phone

What is marketing?

Marketing is the overall strategy and process behind raising awareness of and selling products and services. It involves:

  • identifying something that people or businesses want
  • developing a product or service that meets that need and then promoting it
  • working out the details and making sure you're charging the right price for the product or service

(Source: Chartered Institute of Marketing)

 

What about advertising, public relations (PR) and digital marketing?

Marketing may also include advertising and PR. In smaller companies one department may be responsible for the whole marketing process alongside advertising and PR while in larger organisations they might be separate departments.

Digital marketing ensures that a brand, whether it be an organisation, service or product, can be found online. Digital marketing may exist as a specialist role, or be incorporated into the work of a marketing officer.

Digital marketers often work across multiple communication channels and key areas of work include social media, pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns and search engine optimisation (SEO).

Ensuring that a website attracts a lot of attention, or traffic, is essential in a tech-savvy economy, which means that roles in digital marketing are constantly expanding and can be highly lucrative

 
 

How do I find out about employers and job roles in this area?

The marketing industry is large and diverse. You might be working for:

  • a global agency
  • an in-house department
  • a small independent agency

Many global agencies will engage in all aspects of marketing including PR and advertising, while smaller agencies may specialise in areas such as digital marketing.

Researching employers

Design Intellect’s top 50 advertising and marketing agencies

The Drum’s Top 100 independent agencies

Digital Agency Network’s  - pick of the best digital agencies in the UK

MediaCity UK (Manchester) - directory of companies is another good place to start when thinking about applying for jobs in this area

Top 15 cities to start your career in digital marketing

Exploring roles

Like many industries, marketing is now heavily focused on digital and online content. Job titles have changed immensely to reflect this.

Marketing-specific titles still exist, such as marketing assistant, marketing manager, and marketing executive.

However there has also been a rise in specialist roles such as SEO assistant, digital marketing executive and PPC executive which are all considered essential to digital marketing.

Typical salaries range from £18,000 to £23,000 for entry-level and graduate roles, but can rise to £70,000+ for very senior roles, dependent on location.

Prospects - explore marketing roles 

Prospects - digital marketer profile 

 

How do I get work experience?

Marketing is a competitive industry and work experience can give you a significant advantage.

Marketing agencies can be found in most large towns and cities across the UK and are usually open to being approached for internships and work experience.

Gaining experience at Nottingham

Enquiring about experience will work best if you can show that you developed some relevant skills, and have passion and curiosity about brands, culture and the digital world, along with a willingness to learn.

  • We run a Digital Marketing Academy in the autumn term, to help you gain the skills and experience needed to get that vital 'foot in the door'.
  • A large proportion of Nottingham Internship Scheme roles also require marketing skills. All are paid opportunities with local employers which fit around your studies. 
  • If you are a masters or PhD student, a postgraduate placement might be useful.
  • Unitemps advertise paid temporary roles, many of which are roles within the university and may allow you to become familiar with web content management systems.

Investigate opportunities with larger companies

If you're keen to learn more about the work of digital marketing in large organisations, consider applying for summer internships. Application deadlines for most corporate internship schemes will fall between November and March.

Find out where to look for internships

Online work experience

Forage is an online platform providing free access to virtual experience programmes with world leading companies. The virtual experience programmes let you sample ‘life-like’ tasks that provide a better understanding of what it’s like to be a junior employee at that company. They take 5-6 hours to complete and are self paced.

Also check out the Data and Marketing Association's Talent Marketing Challenge. It gives aspiring marketers a taste of what it's like to work on a real-life marketing brief.

Unadvertised opportunities

Many agencies do offer work experience and if they don’t openly advertise it you can still contact them to ask about the possibility. Research which area(s) of marketing interest you, identify relevant employers in your location of interest, and draw up a shortlist to approach.

Check company websites first for work experience opportunities, and if they're not offering any send off a CV and covering letter.

Networking

Networking can be a great way to access hidden opportunities.

Volunteering

Once you have taught yourself some basic skills, get in touch with local voluntary organisations and charities such as Skillsbank, who could do with help in creating web content, communicating with service users and some simple online marketing strategies.

 

What other ways can I build my skills and experience?

Marketers work across several communication channels, so having a broad skill set is essential. As well as possessing excellent written skills in order to produce great content, strong verbal communication skills are needed in order to articulate your ideas to clients.

You'll also need to have analytical skills, be creative, highly organised and, particularly for specialist digital marketing roles, have at least a basic understanding of HTML, databases and SEO.

Join relevant groups in Nottingham

  • Societies such as MadSoc may offer training and networking opportunities.
  • The university's Digital Humanities Centre provides training, experience and networking opportunities for humanities students interested in digital media in the arts. You can choose an area of interest, one of which may include PR, marketing and social media.
  • The Nottingham Writers' Studio, and other local organisations. Sometimes they offer courses around blogging and social media.

Sign up for a free online course

Sign up to free course through FutureLearn to enhance your existing knowledge, plug gaps on your CV and  prepare you for job applications. Courses last from a few days to a few weeks and are offered by hundreds of universities around the world.

You can also learn more and boost your digital skills  through Google courses including: 

Develop a digital portfolio

Being able to demonstrate examples of writing for the web is essential. Use sites such as Creative Pool to showcase your work and make contacts. Also consider writing articles for student publications which have an online presence such as IMPACT or LeftLion, or write a blog. 

You can enhance your digital portfolio by building a digital profile. Having a presence on Twitter and LinkedIn allows you to follow organisations you would like to work for, keep up-to-date with industry news and find out about local networking events such as NottTuesday.

You can also keep up with current trends by reading industry blogs and journals such as Creative ReviewThe Drum, and locally, The Creative Quarter.

Research local digital agencies

If there is a role that interests you, make contact with the person working in that role, and ask them lots of questions. You never know, a conversation like this could lead to the offer of work experience or mentoring. 

Further study

You could consider taking a full-time or part-time masters in marketing or digital marketing. Find out more using our further study pages. 

 

How can I find my first role? Includes UoN alumna video

Hidden opportunities

Many openings are not advertised so speculative applications are common – you’ll need to do plenty of research first into the companies that interest you.

A good starting point, especially if you are looking for opportunities in a particular town or city is to search the business directory yell.com. Enter ‘marketing’ into the search box and select your location of interest.

Perfect your CV and covering letter first

Graduate schemes

Graduate schemes do exist, usually with larger companies. TargetJobs has rounded up a list of them.

Hear from Nottingham graduate Evie, who is on Boots' commercial graduate scheme.

 

Recruitment agencies

Recruitment agencies may be able to help you find marketing work. Most agencies will look for candidates with some experience and an up-to-date CV.

For Nottingham-based marketing recruitment agents, use blueskiescareers.co.uk

 

What are employers looking for?

Regardless of your degree background, organisations recruiting to marketing roles will be seeking:

  • excellent communication skills
  • creative thinking
  • a genuine interest in marketing
  • commercial awareness
  • digital skills
  • relevant work experience 

Will I need a specialist qualification?

Graduates from a wide range of disciplines go into marketing. While there are postgraduate degrees in marketing and related areas which will enhance your knowledge and skills, you don’t necessarily need a specialised qualification to get into the industry.

The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) offers a range of professional qualifications, which may open up possibilities for career progression. You may be able to get employer sponsorship to complete these once in post. 

Top tips for marketing applications

  1. Emphasise relevant experience whether paid or unpaid including membership of student societies
  2. Link to any social media channels you have set up for professional use such as Twitter, blogs, LinkedIn 
  3. Show commercial awareness and knowledge of modern culture and brands. For example, you could practise critiquing how products and services around you have been marketed and prepare examples to discuss at interview.
  4. Come and talk to us about finessing your CV and cover letter to showcase your marketing skills  
 

Explore more...

 

Careers and Employability Service

University of Nottingham
Portland Building, Level D
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 3680
fax: +44 (0) 115 951 3679
email: careers-team@nottingham.ac.uk