Considered working as an Educational Marketer? This interview will take you down the career path of an Educational Marketer including the ups and downs you may experience in the position, what it takes to land the job, what you can expect to earn and more. This is a true career story as told to MarketingJobs.org and is one of many interviews with marketing professionals which among others include Video Game Marketing Manager and Marketing & Media Relations.
I am an account executive for a small marketing firm that specializes in the K-12 education market. I have been in this position for five years, but I have eight years of experience in marketing and advertising. As an African-American female I have faced my share of discrimination, but none of it has been in the workplace. Educational marketing is heavily female and our firm is very racially diverse. I have always felt comfortable working here and my employer encourages my professional success.
As an Educational Marketer, I help companies that make education products -- software, classroom materials, textbooks, supplies, and enrichment activities -- make sales to school districts. This includes designing and printing catalogs, running e-mail campaigns, creating advertisements for trade magazines, and conducting focus groups of with teachers and school districts. One big misunderstanding, especially with the recent popularity of "Mad Men," is marketing is glamorous, full of high-concept idea pitches to clients. Actually, I spent a large portion of my time on the phone with clients making revisions -- we don't pitch ideas, we make our clients' ideas work.
I have high-stress days on a weekly basis, so I would only rate my job satisfaction as 8 out of 10. Most days my job is great, getting to work with our graphic designers or talking to teachers about their needs, and we're constantly creating end products I can look back on and see the results of my hard work. Seeing those finished ads is fulfilling for me, and in that sense I think I've found my calling.
My situation is fairly standard for this industry. I majored in marketing at Auburn, which helped me land two internships during college and find a full-time marketing job after I graduated. I worked in that position for three years before accepting my current job to be closer to my family. My student debt was definitely a problem after I graduated (I had nearly $60,000 in loans) so avoiding debt is something I would recommend to others. There aren't a lot of steady marketing jobs out there right now, and I thank God I was blessed with this position. If I could go back and do things differently, I might have attended college somewhere with lower tuition or applied for more scholarships. I love Auburn but it's expensive!
I learned a lot in school about marketing and advertising, but in the working world I've really learned the importance of human relationships. A lot of business is about who you know, and my first few years at work (possibly because of my background) I felt that just working hard would make people want to work with me. It wasn't until my boss took me to lunch one day that I realized the power of relationships in the office -- she just wanted to get to know me, and once we talked about our lives and common experiences she was much more active in my professional development. I needed to sell myself to the people around me as much as I needed to do good work. That lesson has transferred into the way I deal with clients, too. Building relationships and establishing common bonds is a great way to grease the wheels of your business interactions.
The strangest thing that ever happened to me at my job was when one of our graphic designers accidentally misspelled "school" as "schol," which is obviously embarrassing to send out to educators! Our client received about twenty letters from frustrated English teachers, and they forwarded them on to us along with a complaint about the mistake. We ended up having to refund the cost of the campaign. I learned the hard way about proofreading all materials at least twice!
I want to get up and go to work because we're ultimately helping children. Marketers at big companies only get to help boost profits, but marketers in our industry get to connect people with innovative products to the children who will learn from them. I feel great knowing that I help teachers get excellent materials for their students. Sometimes the job can be challenging -- the advertisement mistake was one time when I felt like quitting -- but overall it's rewarding.
Aside from those one or two stressful days each week, I'm able to maintain a relatively comfortable work-life balance. Because our projects are long-term, I'm able to adjust my schedule to arrive late or leave early. I also get four weeks of paid vacation per year, plus holidays. I make $48,000 per year, which is great considering the state of the economy. If I had a job at a bigger marketing firm the salary would likely be higher, but I like the flexibility and recognition I get from working at a small company.
If a friend wanted to get involved in marketing, I would recommend getting a bachelor's degree in marketing at least. Several of my colleagues have master's degrees as well, which can really open up a lot of doors for promotions. I would definitely recommend internships, as practical experience is what got me this job without having a master's degree.
In five years I may no longer be in marketing -- I'm expecting my first child next year -- but I hope I'm doing something I love and getting paid to do it! Whether that's in marketing or not, it's still too early to say.
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