Advertising and marketing have been an important field for a long time, but with a massive shift toward online business, marketing professionals are in demand like never before. It used to be enough to design a mailout flyer or purchase a television ad. These days, getting people’s attention and cutting through the noise takes a lot more work, and can mean anything from writing marketing emails to filming tik-tok videos, to overseeing large-scale data-driven marketing funnels.
According to LinkedIn’s regional breakdown of marketing jobs in 2022, there was a global growth of 31% of LinkedIn members in marketing roles, with the greatest shifts in marketing roles trending toward social media and digital marketing. If you are detail-oriented, creative, work well with people, and love crafting messages that will connect with people, you can make a good living in the marketing field. Professionals who understand how advertising, marketing, and sales work are in demand.
According to Builtin, the average base salary for a marketing manager in the US is $88,837. In this article, we’ll look at some of the best opportunities available within the marketing field, how you could rise, what you could earn, and what is required to get your foot in the door.
Marketing Agency Positions
Working for an agency is a great way to get your start because you’ll be surrounded by professionals who understand the field and can show you the ropes. Also, you won’t need to get your own clients or deal with managing them, since others within the agency will do that for you. Whether you are a copywriter, a graphic designer, an advertising buyer, or a digital strategist, working with an agency can give you the knowledge and confidence to kickstart your marketing career.
Agencies may specialize in a particular kind of work, but they typically work with a variety of clients, so you have the opportunity to work with and learn about different verticals. Salaries are good at marketing agencies, although it is common for freelancers to make more per job since they are covering their own expenses. The comfort and security of a monthly income is a perk of working with an agency.
In-house Marketing Positions
Working in-house in the marketing department at a major company is different than working with an agency because you have only one client. This means there are often larger teams working with a singular focus. There is prestige and compensation associated with marketing jobs at some of the biggest companies in the world, but these jobs are also more difficult to get.
Companies that can afford in-house marketing teams, especially large ones, have big budgets and big expectations. They hire the best people and pay them well. If you already have some experience and a good portfolio, or a long history with the company and some marketing training, you might be able to get an in-house marketing position.
Since many companies can’t afford in-house marketing teams, they are happy to pay freelancers to do it for them on a per-item basis. Successful freelancers need to find their own clients, work out billing and health insurance, and manage their workflow themselves. However, for those who have the organizational skills, this can be even more profitable than working for a company.
Reliable, skilled freelancers can bill more than $200,000 a year, depending on their skills and experience.
Content marketers create content online to appeal to potential customers and lead them to buy. Social media marketing, blogging, and email marketing are all examples of content marketing. Startups and small companies love content marketing because it is so cheap and has a tremendous ROI, but even the largest companies like Nike and Microsoft pour major money into creating content.
Content marketing is a subset of inbound marketing that welcomes customers to approach the company and products rather than reaching out to them directly.
1. Copywriters use words to drive actions
A copywriter produces marketing copy – the text used to sell the product or service to customers. That could mean anything from web copy to marketing emails to advertisements to white papers. Copywriters need to understand the psychology of the target customer to craft a message that works.
According to Payscale, Copywriters make between $31,000 and $81,000 a year, with the average copywriter making $55,000. You can get started with copywriting right away by learning the trade and creating some samples. Agencies and individual clients hire inexperienced freelance copywriters all the time.
2. Email marketing specialists work the list
According to Litmus in 2021, 37% of brands are increasing their budget for email marketing while only 1.3% are making cuts, and that speaks to the effectiveness of email marketing. An email marketing specialist works with copywriters and graphic designers to create email campaigns and tracks their success rates according to key performance indicators like open rates, click-throughs, and conversions. According to Payscale, email marketing specialists make between $41,000 and $71,000 a year, with the average making $55,503.
There are training programs and certifications in email marketing, which is a great way to apply for your first job with an agency or company.
3. Graphic Designers make beautiful things that spark joy
A graphic designer is responsible for creating the visuals that support online and offline marketing, from logos and images to infographics and layout. Familiarity with programs like Adobe Photoshop and Figma, as well as a strong portfolio of samples, will help you find an employer that likes your aesthetic. According to Payscale, a graphic designer makes between $35,000 and $66,000 a year, with the average making $47,851.
You can get your start with graphic design by taking an online course or working through tutorials to learn how to use the programs, and then creating a portfolio to submit to potential clients or employers.
4. Web Designers put it all together
The visual look of a website, as well as the way it is designed and laid out, can have a huge impact on sales, which is why web design is under the marketing umbrella. A web designer is different from a web developer. Designing a website requires visual and graphic design skills, an understanding of marketing and copywriting, and some background technical knowledge, but not the ability to code or create new programs.
A web developer is responsible for the backend. According to Payscale, web designers make between $32,000 and $81,000 a year, with the average making $52,374. You can get started as a web designer by creating your own websites with platforms like WordPress or Webflow, and there are lots of free and paid resources to show you how.
5. SEO specialists (Search Engine Optimization) hack search engine results
A big part of digital marketing is growing organic traffic by getting your web pages to show up when people search for relevant terms on Google and other search engines. A Search Engine Optimization (SEO) specialist may also be a writer or copywriter since part of optimization includes writing things in certain ways, but SEO specialists also work with web designers and other subject matter experts to make sure that everything a company does is aligned and sends Google the right messages. According to Payscale, SEO specialists make between $37,000 and $67,000 a year, with the average making $48,807.
You can learn SEO with online courses and free resources, and experiment by practicing with your own websites.
6. Digital Ad Buyers gamble and win big
A specialist in working with digital ads is a precious commodity in marketing because ad revenues scale like nothing else. Platforms like Google and YouTube show ads to people that only cost you if they are clicked on. However, it’s also possible to lose money on online ads, so experts in targeted online advertising are also dynamic risk takers who understand how to calculate the potential revenue against possible losses.
According to Payscale, an advertising manager makes between $44,000 and $101,000 a year, with the average making $65,779. To get into digital ads, you can learn the ropes at an agency or do the risky thing and start with affiliate marketing, where you work with tighter margins but manage all of the risks yourself.
7. Social Media Managers wear many hats and are the face of the brand
There is a lot more to being a social media manager than liking posts and responding to comments. A good social media manager is a branding expert, a community builder, a content creator, and a copywriter. If you can combine these skills and you have a finger on the pulse of a target demographic, you would probably make a great social media manager.
According to Payscale, social media managers make between $36,000 and $78,000 a year, with the average making $52, 981. The best way to start as a social media manager is to make sure your accounts are on point, and you are growing a following. The more followers you have, the more engagement you are creating with them, and the easier it is to sell your skills to brands.
8. Video Creators are in demand across platforms
Small startups and large companies are equally looking to increase the amount of video they use in their marketing. According to market research by Wyzowl, 81% of marketers feel that video has a direct, positive impact on sales. If you are a videographer or video editor, your skills are in demand. Brands are looking to create dynamic ad content, YouTube videos, Instagram reels, and Tik-Toks.
According to Payscale, video producers make between $40,000 and $93,000 a year, with the average making $58,923. You can get started shooting and editing videos on your phone. If you’re good at it and you know how to cut up and market video online, you have a skill that is in demand.
Branding goes beyond creating content and involves understanding the coherent identity that a company wants to put forward so that all advertising, content, and communications can be in alignment with that.
9. Brand Managers protect reputations
Companies view a brand as an asset with a reputation to uphold. A brand manager protects that asset by evaluating everything a company puts out including that brand, to ensure that it is aligned and working towards long-term goals. Brand managers need to have a high-level understanding of market research and the customer base to know what will attract and delight people to the brand, and what could potentially damage it reputationally.
According to Payscale, brand managers make between $46,000 and $124,000 a year, with the average making $72,782. Before becoming a brand manager, you will need to demonstrate a strong understanding of both marketing and branding principles and have some experience to build on.
10. Brand Strategists grow awareness and engagement
Where a brand manager is responsible for protecting the reputation of a brand, a strategist is brought on board to increase and grow that reputation as much as possible with new initiatives. A brand strategist works with other marketing professionals to design advertising campaigns, content marketing campaigns, and promotional strategies that strengthen and expand the brand. According to Payscale, brand strategists make between $45,000 and $113,000 a year, with the average making $65,133.
A brand strategist needs a deep understanding of both marketing and branding strategy and possesses a wider digital marketing and promotional skill set to identify new opportunities.
11. Digital Marketing Managers run the show
With a wide range of responsibilities, a digital marketing manager is responsible for overseeing a company’s digital marketing efforts, which can include both inbound and outbound marketing, as well as content marketing. A digital marketing manager needs to have diverse skills, from copywriting to social media management and understand branding well enough to steer a company’s efforts in the right direction. They also need the technical know-how to be able to track KPIs and show that digital marketing efforts are translating into growth and sales.
According to Payscale, a digital marketing manager makes between $47,000 and $107,000 a year, with the average making $69,783. A digital marketing manager needs to have real experience in growing a company’s digital marketing campaigns and be able to demonstrate knowledge in almost every sector.
The oldest style of marketing, direct marketing, targets the customer directly and reaches out to them openly. This approach is more popular for businesses targeting other businesses than individuals. Most people don’t like being approached out of the blue, but businesses that have a relevant interest usually don’t mind.
12. Promotions Managers increase sales with special events and discounts
Sales, deals, giveaways, and limited-time offers are all the responsibility of the promotions manager, who increases direct sales by offering calculated incentives. Promotions managers may work closely with other marketing departments to ensure that these incentives are advertised properly and reach their target market. They are also responsible for tracking the effectiveness of promotional campaigns and keeping them within budget.
According to Payscale, a promotions manager makes between $31,000 and $112,000 a year, with the average making $54,559. Many promotions managers are hired from within, so already being a part of the company doesn’t hurt, but if you have a marketing background and understand the demographics involved, you have the skills needed.
13. Cold Email Specialists know how to reach out
For B2B (business to business) companies, the direct approach is often the most effective. Cold email (or cold outreach, more generally) specialists focus on identifying the businesses’ ideal clients, researching them, and then reaching out with an offer. An expert cold email specialist can use tools to find dozens or hundreds of leads, and then efficiently reach out to them individually with a personalized touch, to book more calls and land more deals.
The difference between this and a direct sales role is that the outreach is more about building relationships and offering value than it is about pitching. There is no salary data on Payscale for cold email specialists because they are often folded into sales, but lead generators like this are often paid on commission, so the more successful you are the more you can earn.
14. Public Relations Specialists amplify the message with multiple channels
Increasing awareness of a product or brand is the goal of a public relations specialist, who works to develop partnerships and relationships with networks, the media, and content creators to get the message out there. A public relations specialist is similar to a brand manager but is less focused on the digital marketing and content marketing side of things, and more concerned with the public narrative/dialogue around a brand and increasing awareness. Sending out press releases, booking television, news, or podcast appearances, and developing partnerships are all a part of what a PR specialist does.
According to Payscale, a public relations specialist makes between $38,000 and $77,000 a year, with the average making $51,920.
Market Research and Data Science
Companies make big marketing decisions based on important data. Collecting and understanding that data is becoming an increasingly vital part of all marketing. Whether you are a small business trying to figure out who your customers are, or a massive corporation trying to dial in the exact right message, aggregating information and turning it into a strategy is the way to compete in the future.
15. Market Research Analysts make sense of the market
The research itself can take many forms – focus groups, surveys, consumer behaviors, and sales data. Market research analysts take the raw information and turn it into usable information that answers core questions about the market, the customers, and price points. A good market research analyst has math and technical skills as well as a good understanding of people, human nature, and marketing dynamics.
According to Payscale, a market research analyst makes between $42,000 and $78,000 a year, with the average making $55,968. You can start with market research by becoming an interviewer, leading focus groups, or becoming an expert in online data analytics.
16. Data Scientists mine insights from technical data
One of the fastest growing and in-demand positions in marketing is the data scientist, who uses technological tools and coding to be able to collect more data about consumers and their behavior and turn that into actionable market insights. Data scientists use programming languages like Python in addition to sales data provided by eCommerce APIs and traffic data to show companies how to tweak and improve. According to Payscale, data, scientists make between $69,000 and $146,000 a year, with the average making $97,579.
You don’t need a fancy degree to become a data scientist, but you do need to be competent with a programming language like Python and have a deep understanding of marketing tactics and methodologies.