Marketers are more than just a pretty Super Bowl ad

Apple, Go Daddy, CareerBuilder.

What do these businesses have in common? All have made a big splash with Super Bowl ads thanks to innovative marketers and advertising pros.

The biggest game of the year is also one of the biggest opportunities for sales teams to make an impression. From cowboys herding cats to Clydesdales playing football, Super Bowl ads have brought us some of the most recognizable and memorable product campaigns ever.

However, marketing professionals say there is more to their field than million dollar television ads. Today's marketers need to know how to work in a variety of mediums and constantly adapt to changing consumer preferences and buying habits.

More than Super Bowl moments

In 2013, the buzz surrounding the Super Bowl ads includes speculation about whether VW's $10 million ad buy can top its kid Vader spot from 2012. Other companies such as Blackberry are dipping their toes in the Super Bowl waters for the first time. And of course, there will be entries from perennial favorites such as Budweiser, Doritos and E*Trade.

Although major brands may be spending the most money, they are not the only firms in need of marketing talent.

"Often, the only industry that students are interested in working within is the large consumer/retail industry, for companies such as Amazon, Nike, and Coach," says Tracey Gould, the marketing director for Baskervill -- an international architecture, engineering and design firm. "But there are a number of other industries where marketing professionals thrive, including professional services."

Gould has worked in the industry since 1994 and also currently serves as an adjunct professor in the Integrated Marketing Communications graduate program at West Virginia University.

Marketing careers heat up

For creative types, a career in marketing may offer an attractive combination of a growing field and flexible work environment according to industry experts and government agencies.

In its 2013 Salary Guide, staffing specialist The Creative Group (TCG) notes the advent of the digital age has led many marketing employers to seek workers who have interactive skills that range from mobile development to online community moderation.

That may mean more opportunities for individuals to work remotely. TCG's Creative Team of the Future project found 84 percent of advertising professionals surveyed said they expected more of their team members to telecommute in the coming years.

The assertion that marketing is a hot job is further backed up by government estimates. The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists market research analysts and marketing specialists as one of the fastest growing occupations in the country and expects positions for these professionals to increase by 41 percent nationwide from 2010 to 2020. Their median national annual wage in 2011 was $60,250, with the lowest 10 percent earning up to $33,490 and the highest 10 percent earning up to $112,560.

Bls.gov also cites median salary data* for several related marketing positions, including:

  • Public relations specialists: $53,190
    • Lowest 10%: Up to $30,860
    • Top 10%: Up to $96,880
  • Marketing Managers: $116,010
    • Lowest 10%: Up to $60,230
    • Top 10%: Greater than $187,199
  • Advertising and Promotions Managers: $87,650
    • Lowest 10%: Up to $42,750
    • Top 10%: Up to $186,630

* Based on 2011 annual national median salary data

No two days the same

In addition to potentially offering good pay, marketing may also be the perfect fit for those seeking a dynamic work environment.

"I know it's cliché, but no day is typical," says Krysten Copeland, a marketing specialist with real estate brokerage firm DC Home Buzz. "Because I work with a small-to-medium-sized business, I wear many hats."

Copeland spends her days drafting blog posts, organizing social media campaigns and monitoring sales force leads among other duties.

Like Copeland, Gould splits her days among a number of different tasks. Her daily work may include writing press releases, developing marketing campaigns and meeting with clients. According to Gould, the variety of tasks involved in marketing can mean it is suitable for individuals with different work preferences.

"It is very collaborative at times, and other times it is working solo on writing projects and research," says Gould. "Marketing allows both types of personalities to excel."

Finding work as a marketer

Today's students have a choice of degree programs they can pursue if they wish to go into marketing. Gould believes integrated marketing communications may be appropriate for many students.

"If you want the flexibility to pursue any number of positions, a degree in integrated marketing communications will be best," says Gould. "This is a fairly new movement/trend in the industry, which ties in all facets of marketing communications together for seamless campaigns and strategies that work together for the greatest impact."

Other degree programs for those who want to specialize may include advertising and strategic public relations. Regardless of which program a student selects, Gould says good writing skills are essential for anyone entering the field.

Both Gould and Copeland also say an internship can be key in transitioning from the classroom to the workforce.

"There were several things I learned during my internships that the classroom would never teach," says Copeland, who attended Oakwood University. "Through those internships, I learned which types of work environments I gravitated towards, the type of work I found most rewarding, and what to expect once I graduated."

The future of marketing

While Super Bowl ads will come and go, the need for savvy marketers could remain constant.

"The world we live in is becoming more social, more visual, and more communicative," says Gould, "all of which results in a greater need for marketing, communications, and public relations professionals."

And that means marketing may continue to be a hot industry long after the 49ers and Ravens leave the field.

"Inside the making of VW's Super Bowl ad," USA Today, Jan. 28, 2013, Bruce Horovitz
2013 Salary Guide, The Creative Group
Fastest Growing Occupations 2010-2020, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2011, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Public Relations Specialists, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2011, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Marketing Managers, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2011, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Advertising and Promotions Managers, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2011, Bureau of Labor Statistics