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Marketing | The Careers Service Marketing – Oxford University Careers Service
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Are you good at coming up with original and innovative ideas? Do you have strong communication and digital skills? Do you enjoy working on challenging and diverse projects? If yes, then you may wish to consider working in marketing or sales. “Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.” The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM).

In other words, marketing helps to make a business visible in the marketplace, whilst also identifying its customers. This involves a variety of disciplines including market research, product development, pricing, packaging, distribution and promotion (which includes advertising, direct marketing, sales and public relations [PR]).

Marketing roles exist in both the private and public sector: from charities to banks, from transport to museums – they, and many other sectors, all recruit marketers! The range of organisations advertising for marketing roles at Oxford includes healthcare, energy services, software houses, retailers, aerospace, manufacturing, charities, telecomms, communication consultancies, brand & marketing consultancies… The list is endless, with an emphasis on large manufacturers and brand consultancies.

Types of job

Consumer marketing managers

…focus on fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs). They direct and co-ordinate sales teams, market researchers and brand managers in ensuring the success of marketing campaigns for the particular product or products they are managing. They focus on consumer advertising, promotion ideas for in-store and also brand development.

Market research

…(sometimes termed “consumer business insight”) provides information about customers, products and services to help marketers make decisions about product development and communicating with customers. Researchers use both qualitative and quantitative methods to draw conclusions and direct business strategies. Market research helps to spot new opportunities, identify issues and measure performance of current marketing campaigns.

Brand management

…can be part of the general Consumer Marketing Manager’s role or can be undertaken by specialist Brand Managers on a consultancy basis. It involves creating a specific set of ‘meanings’ and ‘messages’ associated with a product. These ‘messages’ may result from visual advertising, packaging, the distribution outlets, the price, and so on. The key is that the brand becomes the differentiator and makes the product clearly identifiable and desirable. They work closely with production, sales and finance to ensure the product or service performs to target. They will also monitor marketing trends and customer feedback to ensure the brand meets with customer expectations.

Industrial marketing

… is often called Business to Business (B2B) because its targets are other organisations. Industrial marketing can require a more complex, technical understanding of the products, as the range being marketed can vary from chemicals through to industrial equipment.

Direct marketing

…involves marketing products or services directly to individuals. At the heart of direct marketing is targeting, personalisation of messages and measurability – a lot of which is driven by insights gained from databases of information. E-mail marketing within direct marketing is becoming an important tool. You may be involved in copywriting letters and brochures, doing data analysis, customer profiling and segmentation.

Marketing communications

…is all about getting the right message across via the most effective promotional method. In this aspect of marketing  you could be writing and designing printed advertisements, leaflets or posters, or producing advertising for cinema, radio and TV. The work also includes PR, getting  press coverage for products and securing  sponsorship deals.

Digital marketing – uses the internet to generate responses from a target audience. This could involve elements of email marketing, SEO (search engine optimisation), online advertising, affiliate marketing, text messaging and blogging.

Social media marketing – engages the target audience and promotes an organisation’s brand using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and many others.

Sales executive roles

…(increasingly known as customer development) can be applied to a wide range of products and environments. At the heart of marketing is the customer, but it is the sales sector that comes into direct contact with the customer – whether the actual consumer, another company, or a retailer.

The emphasis in sales is not only on acquiring new business and hitting sales targets, but also on developing ongoing relationships with customers and providing sales support. Consumer sales will often mean working in a liaison role to large retailers and supermarkets, particularly the buyers within these organisations. Other more specialist sales areas include pharmaceutical sales, publishing and media sales, car sales, and financial product sales. Senior sales managers in large organisations are extremely powerful and their relationships with their equally large global clients can determine millions of pounds of profit. Sales roles at this level can be more about coordinating multi-disciplinary teams to ensure the satisfaction of global retailers.

Entry points

Entry into marketing can be through a number of different routes;

Graduate schemes at global marketing firms such as;

  • WPP  – WPP Marketing Fellowship offers three one-year rotations through WPP companies
  • Omnicom Group (DAS) – Accelerate programme offers 5 placements in different DAS agencies over 16 months
  • Also see the Advertising and PR briefings for graduate opportunities within advertising and PR specifically

Marketing graduate schemes at global firms in other sectors which include;

There are also an increasing number of graduate training opportunities in consultancies specialising in research and brand management, such as; Interbrand, The Value Engineers, Sparkler and Happen.

Alternatively, look at opportunities to work as a marketing assistant, in a smaller firms who do not have enough openings to warrant a formal graduate programme. These may be advertised on relevant careers sites (see external resources at the end of this briefing) or you can approach firms directly (see the separate briefing on making speculative approaches).

A postgraduate marketing course is not required to secure a marketing job, however the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management offer accredited, practical courses and modules that you can take to gain relevant skills and evidence your interest in these sectors.

Skills and experience

Skills needed

Wikipedia: The Marketing Mix

Generally in marketing, it’s important to read up on  “the marketing mix” – it’s probably the most famous marketing term. Its elements form the basics of a ‘marketing plan’. Also known as the ‘4 Ps’, the marketing mix elements are PRICE, PLACE, PRODUCT and PROMOTION.

Key skills:

  • The ability to plan, organise and manage teams of people
  • Strong analytical skills, including the ability to work with figures
  • Good communication skills, including presentation and interpersonal skills
  • Motivation to keep abreast of trends in the marketplace, and to initiate change
  • Strong commercial awareness and a keen interest in the product or service being marketed
  • Good digital skills, it is important to be comfortable with using a range of digital platforms

Getting experience

Work experience is highly valued by recruiters. It demonstrates your commitment to and understanding of the role, and adds a new dimension to your CV, helping you make sure that you are happy with your career choice. It is useful to get involved in marketing different events at university, or assisting companies with casual promotion work. Many recruiters seek Campus Brand Managers to promote their organisation and products and this is a popular way to gain experience whilst at University.

Developing an analytical approach to looking at and comparing brands will also help develop your skills and knowledge. Even experience in retailing will be useful if you think about the marketing mix while you are there.

Some firms offer formal summer internships, such as the 8 week marketing summer placement at Sky, the Centrica summer internship and the Goggle BOLD internship across sales, marketing and people operations. Companies recruiting for sales and marketing may also run courses during the Christmas vacation (e.g. P&G Commercial Career Academy 3 day course), Sometimes courses are used as part of the selection process, and in some cases it is essential to attend the company’s marketing course if you want to obtain a marketing job with them.

The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and The Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM) organise programmes and resources specifically for students and graduates to increase their understanding of what marketing involves. The IDM runs a range of initiatives that introduce students to the direct, data and digital marketing profession. Consider applying for the IDM Summer School which is a free week long course working on a marketing brief. Another initiative is the IDM Creative Data Academy for students interested in data, digital and analytics. They also run the IDM student marketing award.

There is often confusion about whether you should be paid to do an internship or work experience. It will depend on your arrangement with the employer and also the status of the employer. To find out if you are entitled to be paid when undertaking work experience or an internship, visit the Government’s webpages on the National Minimum Wage.


Getting a job

Michaelmas Term is an important time for those wanting a role in marketing, or if you are interested in sales with large multinational organisations. Some recruitment deadlines are as early as October and November. Some smaller marketing consultancies (not necessarily restricted to graduates), may become available throughout the year.

Good sources of vacancies are the Guardian website/newspaper on Mondays, the Independent website/newspaper on Tuesdays and the industry journals listed below. The Chartered Institute of Marketing have a useful online resource of Getin2Marketing, and The Institute of Direct Marketing promotes graduate placements, schemes and recruitment agencies.

The competition for places is intense and you need to be thoroughly prepared. If you are not successful with advertised opportunities, consider speculative applications using the vacancy database and archive vacancies in CareerConnect and Oxford Careers Network (OCN).

Equality & positive action

A number of major graduate recruiters have policies and processes that are proactive in recruiting graduates from diverse backgrounds. For example, many major recruiters are members of the Business Disability Forum and endorse proactive schemes such as the Guaranteed Interview Scheme for disabled individuals; Stonewall have a Diversity Champions Programme and issue an annual Equality Index of inclusive workplaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. This includes organisations such as Google and the Co-Operative group.

Rare recruitment connects exceptional people from diverse backgrounds with great jobs in top organisations, there clients include WPP.

Creative Access specialise in helping BAME students into creative careers and their clients include The Marketing Store, Jack Morton Worldwide and All Together Now.

The UK law protects you from discrimination due to your age, gender, race, religion or beliefs, disability or sexual orientation. For further information on the Equality Act and to find out where and how you are protected, and what to do if you feel you have been discriminated against, visit the Government’s webpages on discrimination.

Our resources


The following books are available to read in our Resource Centre at 56 Banbury Road:

  • The A List – Guide to Who’s Who In Media, Marketing and advertising 2016
  • Marketing Your Business, John Westwood
  • Marketing – An Introduction, Rosalind Masterson, David Pickton
  • Marketing Uncovered, Andi Robertson
  • Careers in Marketing, Wetfeet Insider Guides
  • Careers in Advertising and Public Relations, Wetfeet Insider Guides
  • Careers in Brand Management, Wetfeet Insider Guides

Take-away material

Collect the following material from our Resource Centre at 56 Banbury Road:

  • Prospects Directory
  • Times Top 100
  • The Guardian UK 300
  • Target Jobs: Get Directory

Podcasts of past events

Life as a wordsmith: careers in communicating

Speakers from different communications agencies including Green.TV Media Ltd, Culture Trip and Tamarindo Communications. The focus will be on how, and where, graduates
can put their writing skills to work as so many students struggle to find jobs ‘in writing’ beyond journalism.

External resources

Careers sites

Institutes & organisations

This information was last updated on 19 July 2018.
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Recent blogs about Marketing

Interested in Advertising, Marketing and Creative Careers? Apply to the Daniel Marks Planning Academy 2018

Posted on behalf of Daniel Marks. Blogged by Lara Hayward on 04/07/2018.


Daniel Marks is a leader in advertising recruitment and we are keen to help our clients develop and nurture the next generation of strategic thinkers. We recognise that it is incredibly hard for young planners to get a start in the industry. The Daniel Marks Planning Academy represents a unique opportunity to get your foot through the door at some of the best creative advertising agencies in the world.

We are looking for people who are not afraid to challenge themselves and lend their unique vision to some of the most exciting agencies in London.

Successful applicants will receive mentoring, support and a potential permanent job opportunity as a Junior Planner at a leading creative agency in London. Applicants may be recent graduates, junior account handlers or simply have an inquisitive and curious mind looking for a career of influence.


  • 8 May 2018 – Entry Application Open
  • 8 September 2018 – Application Deadline for Submissions
  • 20 September 2018 – Roundtable Judging Event at the Daniel Marks London offices


All the applicant needs to do is to submit their response in answering a strategic brief. We present their work for them to a panel of Judges who are all Chief Strategy Officers at top Creative Agencies in London with a view to offering mentorship, paid internships or even a full-time job up to £25K as a Junior Planner.

Further details on the Planning Academy initiative and how to apply can be found at

If you have any further questions please contact or tweet us @teamdanielmarks using #PlanningAcademy.

Student Panel Volunteers Needed for Recruiters’ Event

Blogged by Claire Chesworth on 31/05/2018.
When: Thursday 21 June
Where: The Careers Service, 56 Banbury Road
The Careers Service is running an event in Oxford for graduate recruiters on Thursday 21 June. The event allows employers to meet students and find out how they can improve their recruitment process. We are looking for students (any year/subject, undergraduates or postgraduates) who have applied for internships or jobs so have some experience of the application process and would be willing to share their ideas.
The student panel will run from 12:30-13:15 at the Careers Service, followed by a free lunch and the chance to network with a range of recruiters. There will be a wide range of recruiters represented, although the majority are likely to be come from finance, law and consulting firms.
If you are interested, please email Claire Chesworth on, and include your year, subject of study and any application experience or internship experience you’ve had so far.

Publishing Assistant

Posted on behalf of Careers Service. Blogged by Julia Hilton on 10/05/2018.

A Publishing Assistant is needed for the Oxford Guide to Careers 2019 to proofread all content and compile the employer listings and adverts. The previous year’s Guide can be seen at

The role involves:

  • Checking that each submitted advert and listing meet specifications
  • Liaising with employers to resolve any problems with their submissions
  • Maintaining a spreadsheet to record the status of each submission
  • Formatting each listing using InDesign, to make it fit into a pre-existing template
  • Getting final approval from employers for all submissions
  • Placing all listings and adverts in the final document
  • Proofreading copy for The Guide 2019

The successful candidate will be required to work approximately 16 hours a week from the beginning of July until late September. The exact hours can be fairly flexible, provided they are within working hours at the Careers Service. The successful candidate will be working in our offices at 56 Banbury Road alongside our Marketing Officer and Editor for the Guide 2019. The role will also require liaison with the Oxford Student Union and their design team.

Person Specification

The successful candidate will be able to demonstrate:

  • High level of accuracy and attention to detail
  • Excellent organisation skills
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Ability to work independently
  • Experience of using an Adobe Creative Cloud product
  • Experience of using InDesign
  • Experience with Photoshop

An interest in publishing as a career may be advantageous, but it is not essential.

Salary details: The post-holder will be paid £11.37 per hour (Grade 4 post)

Start date: ideally 1 July 2018 but we are flexible. This post is for approximately 16 hours per week from July until late September, depending on candidate availability.

Application closing date (UPDATED): 23rd May at 5pm

How to apply: Please send a CV and cover letter outlining why the role appeals and how you meet the person specification to by 23rd May. Interviews will be held in June.

If you have any questions about the role and/or would like to discuss possible hours of work please get in touch with Julia directly.

Internships in Advertising and Marketing

Blogged by Julia Hilton on 28/02/2018.

Applications for AdSchools and internships are mostly opening and closing this term so it’s a great time to be drawing up a shortlist of your preferred schemes. Do your research – what campaigns have these  companies worked on? Have any won awards? What’s their USP? What kind of ads stand out to you and why/why not? These are the sorts of questions you need to be prepared to answer in an application form and interview. The best place to start your research is via our Advertising careers web pages and spend some time looking specifically at the External Resources tab which lists useful sites such as the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), awarding bodies in the industry and careers portals for this sector such as FutureRising.

Examples of upcoming opportunities include

  • AdSchool at VCCP: VCCP, the integrated ad agency behind campaigns such as Cadbury’s ‘There’s a glass and a half in everyone’, Dominos’ ‘The Official Food of Everything’, O2’s ‘Oops’ and’s ‘Compare the Meerkats’ are opening their doors again for a week-long summer Ad School at their HQ in London Victoria, and you can apply now! It takes place from 9-13 April and offers a really valuable introduction into advertising.
  • JWT Jumpt/Start global, 12-week paid, quarterly program. Summer scheme deadline in April 2018
  • AMV BBDO Work experience 2018 will close on 15 April.
  • Grey London 1 month rolling internship as part of their Upstart scheme

There’s plenty more out there so book an appointment with a Careers Adviser if you need some help putting together your strategy for applications in advertising and related careers areas.

Estée Lauder Scientific Research and Development

Blogged by Julia Hilton on 26/02/2018.

A Beautiful Journey: Prestige Beauty Science at The Estée Lauder Companies

  • When: Wednesday 7 March, 17:00
  • Where: The Pichette Auditorium, Pembroke College
  • Book: Registration is essential, via Eventbrite 

Lisa Napolione, Senior VP & Leader of Global Research & Development at Estée Lauder is coming to speak to Oxford students and graduates on Wednesday 7 March. Lisa will be talking about their approach to R&D, including all aspects of the company’s development and the wide range of R&D roles for scientists and engineers across consumer targets.

This event will take place at 17:00 on 7 March 2018 in The Pichette Auditorium, Pembroke College, Oxford. It will be followed by a free drinks reception. The event is free and open to all. Registration via Eventbrite is essential.

This page displays current related blog posts. If none display, you can still stay up-to-date with our newsletter sent regularly to all Oxford students.

Older posts can be found in our archive of past blogs.