Marketing, Sales, and Service Career Cluster Overview
Marketing is anticipating what customers need, and then directing goods and services— and information about those goods and services—from producer to customer to satisfy those needs. Marketers work with advertising professionals to determine how ads should look, where they should be placed, and when the advertising should begin. Marketing and advertising employees research and develop the look and message of an ad. They need to be sure that the ad appeals to the interests of the targeted audience. Marketing professionals also ensure that information about goods and services reaches customers in a timely fashion. Marketing campaigns may begin months before a product is available. This creates a desire for the product in the marketplace and gives the manufacturer a leg up on any competitors.
Closely related to marketing is the field of sales. Sales jobs involve actual transactions between customers and manufacturers, retailers, or wholesalers. In these transactions, money is exchanged for goods or services. Manufacturers produce consumer goods. Wholesalers buy products from manufacturers and sell them to retail businesses, which in turn sell them directly to customers. Jobs in sales are diverse. For example, they can involve managing the sales of goods to an entire region of the country, or the one-on-one sales transaction that takes place between a cashier and customer.
Marketing, Sales, and Service Career Pathways
The marketing, sales, and service cluster contains seven career pathways: buying and merchandising, distribution and logistics, e-marketing, management and entrepreneurship, marketing communications and promotion, marketing information management and research, and professional sales and marketing.
Buying and Merchandising Career Path
People who work in buying and merchandising get products into the hands of the customer. They may work on the sales floor, helping customers select products, or they may design and assemble various product displays that make the products appealing and accessible to customers. Buyers, another category of job in this pathway, select and purchase goods from wholesalers for a retail store or chain of stores. Other examples of careers in this pathway include merchandise displayers, retail sales workers, and retail store managers.
Distribution and Logistics Career Path
Distribution and logistics deals with the movement of raw materials and finished products. People who work in this area manage the shipment of products from manufacturers to stores. They also plan work within manufacturing centers so that goods are created quickly, efficiently, and in a manner that ensures quality. Because their work affects both the quality of goods and the time it takes to deliver them to market, distribution and logistics workers have a great impact on the price of consumer goods. Examples of jobs in this area include export-import specialists, industrial traffic managers, and shipping and receiving clerks.
E-marketing Career Path
E-marketers use the Internet and World Wide Web to market goods and services. By designing Web sites, writing copy for e-mail ad campaigns, or processing orders placed via the Web, these professionals help sell goods and services to customers all over the world, at all times of the day. Examples of careers in e-marketing include copywriters, graphic designers, and Internet transaction specialists.
Management and Entrepreneurship Career Path
Managers of all types direct the day-to-day business of an organization. Entrepreneurs are business managers who create ideas for and set up new businesses either on their own or with the support of financial backers. In a marketing and sales workplace, managers and entrepreneurs oversee and direct all of the advertising, marketing, sales, and public relations responsibilities. In a small startup organization, one manager/ entrepreneur may be responsible for all of these duties, while in large companies there may be several levels of managers in charge of individual departments. Regardless of the workplace, managers and entrepreneurs share the common traits of motivation and strong leadership skills. Examples of careers in this pathway include business managers, Internet executives, and retail business owners.
Marketing Communications and Promotion Career Path
People in this pathway plan, create, and execute marketing and advertising campaigns. With information gained from market research, they write, illustrate, animate, and assemble the catalogs and advertisements that will tell customers about available products. They also conduct public relations and sales campaigns. Examples of careers in this pathway are art directors, advertising account executives, public relations specialists, and sales representatives.
Marketing Information Management and Research Career Path
Careers in this pathway involve research and an understanding of people. Specifically, these professionals conduct surveys, interviews, and market research to better understand consumers needs and wants, as well as openings for new products in the marketplace. This research leads to the development of new and improved products. It also helps other marketing and sales professionals channel their work and messages to the most appropriate customers. Examples of careers in this area include database specialists, marketing researchers, and research assistants.
Professional Sales and Marketing Career Path
This pathway includes much of the business– client interaction that characterizes the sales and marketing field. These professionals communicate with customers, ensuring that they are receiving the right products and services, informing them of new products and services, and channeling customer feedback back to the producer in an effort to improve quality. Examples of careers in this pathway include sales representatives, customer service representatives, and telemarketers.
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Exploring Marketing, Sales, and Service Careers
Jobs in the marketing, sales, and service cluster call for excellent communication skills. To prepare for a career in this field, be sure to sharpen your speech and writing skills while in school. Participating in debate or drama clubs is a great way to learn the importance of accurate and succinct messages, which is critical in this field.
People with a variety of educational experiences can find work in this field. For example, while in high school you can gain sales experience by working in a retail store. The most promising career paths are open to those with at least a bachelor’s degree, generally in an area such as marketing, advertising, business management, or communications. For the creative side of this industry, a degree in graphic design, illustration, English, or journalism is often required.
Perhaps the best way to prepare for a career in this field while you are in school is to be a conscientious consumer. Pay attention to the advertisements you see on television, in magazines, and online. What catches your eye the most? What sort of advertisement do you see during your favorite television programs as opposed to, say, your parents’ favorites? Observing these difference will help you see how marketers and advertisers appeal to different audiences. Also, pay attention to the types of sales tactics used when you are shopping. How does your experience at the supermarket (a place where most everyone needs to shop) differ from, for example, your experience at an electronics store (a place that sells luxury items)?
Marketing, Sales, and Service Outlook
Advertising, marketing, and sales are areas that are closely tied to the health of the nation’s economy. Since economic conditions in the United States have undergone a downturn, the U.S. Department of Labor predicts that the advertising and marketing industries will grow about as fast as the average the average through 2016.
The U.S. Department of Labor projects that employment for retail sales workers is expected to increase about as fast as the average through 2016. This is mainly due to increased retail sales created by a growing population. However, the wholesale trade is predicted to grow more slowly than the average, as many wholesale firms will continue to merge.
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