Becoming a Marketing Assistant

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Although marketing assistants work in an entry-level position, their activities are essential to the marketing organization as a whole. While they may have a variety of duties, their primary purpose is to support the marketing manager or director (or assistant marketing manager) in researching, creating, and implementing marketing plans.

Since the effects of the recession have continued to freeze hiring at upper levels, support staff members, such as marketing assistants, are becoming increasingly important. In addition, marketing assistants have a key part to play in helping their more senior colleagues navigate the ever-more-crucial digital world.

Job responsibilities may include performing research, helping to develop presentations, coordinating campaigns, monitoring response data, and communicating information among various departments. Marketing assistants may also have financial duties, such as tracking invoices, and may perform production roles such as managing the circulation of creative content among various departments.

The marketing manager may also require assistants to help schedule meetings and events, manage data and track inventory, such as physical marketing materials.

Because so much of their time is spent coordinating among various departments, marketing assistants need to have superior interpersonal and organizational skills, as well as an attention to detail. The ideal marketing assistant is comfortable wearing many hats, as they will be called upon to assist marketing managers in various capacities.

The advantage of the role lies in learning a variety of administrative, creative, and technical skills, as well as experimenting with a variety of roles, which can help individuals narrow down their future career paths.

Education and Degree Options

Marketing assistants may have a variety of backgrounds, but employers often prefer to hire an assistant with at least an associates or bachelor’s degree in marketing, communications, or business. Courses in economics, accounting, management, finance, business law, mathematics, and statistics are also beneficial, according to the Department of Labor. Completing an internship is also recommended.

A 2010 survey published by the American Marketing Association and staffing firm Aquent found that marketing professionals expected their firms to increase focus on the following topics in the year ahead. Prospective marketing assistants would be wise to become familiar with these platforms and tools:

  • Social media/social networking: 80% (predicted this would be an area of focus)
  • Mobile media: 64%
  • Blogs: 59%
  • Email campaigns: 58%
  • Search Engine Marketing (organic): 55%
  • Webcasts: 51%
  • Public Relations: 50%
  • Grassroots promotions: 50%
  • Search Engine Marketing (paid): 48%

Newspapers, magazines, and radio were all expected to be area of declining focus.

Job Outlook and Salaries

Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not maintain data on marketing assistants as a unique role, the outlook for the field as a whole is quite strong. Jobs for marketing specialists and analysts are expected to grow 41% from 2010 to 2020, driven by the continued need for organizations to maintain and expand their market share. As of 2010 there were 318,190 marketing specialists and analysts nationwide, and that number is projected to increase to 448,647 by 2020.

While the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not collect data on marketing assistants specifically, they do report that marketing specialists can expect an average annual salary of  $67,130 per year as of May 2010. However, salaries can vary widely: The lowest 10 percent earned $33,490 on average, and the top 10 percent earned over $112,560 per year.

According to PayScale.com, marketing assistants generally earned between $25,000 and $45,000 each year. Salaries were slightly higher for those working in the marketing departments of information technology and legal firms compared to other industries.

The 2010 survey by the American Marketing Association and Aquent found that salaries have been rebounding after the recession: 53% of marketing professionals said their salary had increased in 2010. In addition, 36% of the survey’s respondents expected their organization’s headcount to increase over 2009 levels.

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