Tips on a Successful Marketing Career

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Recently Simon O’Day, president of Responsys Asia Pacific, met with University of Melbourne undergraduate student Sophie Randall-Hughes for an interview. In this sit down, they discussed many important factors that new marketing graduates should take into consideration when applying for jobs. We’ll go over a few of those key points here, as well as finding out what makes Simon O’Day happy to be in the marketing field.

No two days are alike

First and foremost Simon discusses what makes his job so fun. His main reasoning for loving his job so much is the ability to turn his portion of the field into something new and exciting every day. No two days are alike. Simon discusses the ‘learning curve’ that he and his coworkers have gone through just in the past 15 years since electronic marketing began. In its infancy, his marketing firm Responsys Asia Pacific was basically making it up as they went along. With the advent of new technologies, they’re still learning to this day.

He went on to discuss the average age of people in the marketing world. While he admits that most of the technological aspects such as data-mining and graphics are done by the younger generation, there’s still plenty of room for ‘old timers’ in their 40s. This is more common in the actual industry sector of the business, networking and the like.

This led to some suggestions from Simon on where new graduates should apply, and what to expect salary-wise. Depending on the type of work each graduate is interested in, they can apply to agencies, or to specific ‘in-house’ companies. With agencies you’re exposed to many aspects and fields within marketing. They sky really is the limit when working with the larger firms. However, if you’re focusing on a brand specific campaign, working for those companies is most beneficial.

The other main piece of advice from Simon is to find a mentor. He states many times throughout the interview how important his mentors were to him. He had a few throughout the years, but still keeps in touch with Mark Ritson from the University of Melbourne Business School. He calls Mark ‘consistently inspiring’. These mentors are usually found in abundance in the larger corporations and most of the companies will pair first year employees with one.

Your options starting out

If you can’t find a large agency to hire you right out of college and still need a mentor there are other options. Working with an in-house firm, you may still get a mentor, as they put lots of time and effort into their recruits. If this isn’t an option, then you can always find mentoring firms that offer placement. One such firm in Australia is the Australian Marketing Institute. They offer assistance for new marketing agents on things like forging the right career path income guidelines.

Some new marketing agents expect to make tons of money right out of the gate. While this is possible in the movies, not so much in real life. Agents can expect to make around $40,000 their first years in the business. This will grow as the agent’s experience levels grow, depending on his niche. Also, larger agencies do tend to provide more income opportunities to new employees.

It’s not unheard of for seasoned marketing agents and analysts to make upwards of six figures after being vetted. This takes a lot of determination, and ‘willingness to adapt’ says Simon. If new recruits are willing to put in the time and effort to learn what’s needed of them, and to pay attention to the ‘job at hand’ they should have no worries about compensation.

The author of this interview write up is an Australian Entrepreneur and founder of A place for handpicked gift ideas.