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Are we seeing the death of the ‘Marketing Executive’?

In the space of the last 10 years the world of marketing has changed.


Marketing and advertising have always been a highly dynamic space. But we’ve now entered hyper-speed.

I recently graduated from a Masters in Marketing and I am nearing the end of my 6 month Internship Programme at the Irish Management Institute before moving on to a new marketing role next week.

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My experience of the Irish marketing jobs market? It’s been challenging to say the least.

When I began my 3rd level education, Facebook had barely launched worldwide and YouTube was a mere 7 months old. To put things into perspective – I am 27. Social media, digital and now mobile channels have turned the marketing world and the expectations organisations have of marketing functions upside down.

On top of that, there are large graduate numbers but a small number of jobs – I recall an internship that I applied for that had over 200 applicants (and that was unpaid!).

All this means that recruiters and companies are increasingly advertising for specialist skills. Where organisations used to look for ‘Marketing Executives’, more and more I’m seeing ads for specifics like ‘Digital Marketing Executive’ or ‘Brand Specialist’.

Branding yourself in order to stand out from the rest is a must for Marketing Graduates. The sheer breadth of today’s marketing sphere implies that you cannot be an expert at everything.

So what does this mean for the budding marketer today? In my experience two things are necessary.

Firstly, anyone looking to take up a role in marketing needs to decide ‘Am I going to be a generalist or a specialist?’ and they must make sure that the organisation that is hiring them understands their own requirements.

Secondly, once the role has been established continuing to develop your skills is key. The latest consumer trends dictate that core marketing competencies can be deemed out-of-date within an extremely short period. At IMI I spent time working on social media and took the time to brush up on some of my digital marketing skills by sitting in on modules of the IMI Diploma in Marketing Strategy with Digital Marketing.

So does the pace of change mean the death of the all rounder ‘Marketing Executive’? Yes and no.

Marketing disciplines are changing. But while your current role may require you to act as a specialist, where you may be having a conversation about LinkedIn one minute and about viral media the next – it is important to remember that it is an understanding of the core marketing practices that should guide your decisions regardless of the channel.

In the long run, you will fail in any marketing campaign unless you are guided by a fundamental understanding of the organisation’s offerings.

In summary, today’s marketing graduates need to brand themselves as specialists in the short term but retain the core capabilities of the generalist that will allow them to become the marketing executives of the future.

It’s this type of flexibility that’s required to future proof your marketing career.

Luke Bellew has been working with the IMI Internship Programme. If you are interested in working with us on this programme get in touch at Internship Programme.

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