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Marketing: Creativity Reigns, And Along With The Risks You'll Find The Rewards

By Rachel Johnson

It's new, it changes constantly, it's all about creativity, and it touches everyone's life every day.

An industry as old as civilization and as rapidly changing as the modern world, marketing employs an estimated 750,000 professionals in the United States and Canada and touches nearly every corner of American life. It's a competitive field -- but one with lots of room for creativity and advancement for the industry's best.

From Apple to Banana Republic, the marketing sector stands where consumer desires meet company demands. It is the job of marketing professionals to understand what people need and how their organization's product or service can meet those needs. Whatever the product, both the work and rewards can be great-marketing jobs have high potential for large earnings and long hours. But they require self-motivation, creativity, energy, excellent communication skills, flexibility, and a spirit of competition-not to mention the ability to work under stress. And not only does the marketing industry play a part in nearly every kind of business activity, but it also offers a number of very different jobs, including advertising, sales, brand management, promotions, public relations, and market research. 

With the marketing industry now growing rapidly, it's a prime time to hunt for an entry-level job- though applicants who have advanced degrees or are trained for high-tech or scientific marketing jobs are in the highest demand right now. College graduates can increase their chances of breaking into the field with strong computer skills, industry internships, and undergraduate backgrounds in accounting, finance, economics, law, psychology, sociology, business, communications, or journalism. However, the most successful marketing professionals also tend to be enthusiastic, risk-taking, adaptable team players. Marketing can be an intensely exciting and rewarding experience for those who are suited to it, but it certainly isn't for everyone: imagine spending hours each day extolling the virtues of your least favorite condiment, or taking millions of dollars of company cash out on a limb to test a creative new strategy, and you'll get an idea of what the marketing industry can often be like.

Yet the marketing industry is also known for its learning curve.
As one industry parable goes, a recently hired employee guessed wrong on strategy and bungled a huge marketing contract with his new company. When he approached his boss to tender his resignation, the boss told him, "Where do you think you're going? The money we lost was spent on your education." Marketing requires the constant willingness to try, learn, revise, and try again, and in return, it offers very tangible rewards.

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