Quick buck marketeer - Media - News - The Independent

Quick buck marketeer

You've got to think fast and talk fast to survive a career in marketing. Nick Walker reports

The area of fast-moving consumer goods is often the glittering prize for the graduate who hankers after a future in marketing. Big may be beautiful, but fast - and functional - is more fun.

David Jones, director of management training at Unilever's training centre in Kingston, knows why: "Markets that are moving faster are by nature of that fact going to be more interesting." For the experience-hungry freshman, it can be argued, there can be no more better training than selling and marketing the quick-moving consumables, the ice-cream and margarine that Unilever's companies produce. Overtly seasonal goods with a high turnover are going to provide more interesting markets, perhaps even more malleable ones. The nervous newcomer can hope that mistakes will be quickly forgotten, and, if you're good, there's the hope that you can not only make your presence felt, but also do so more quickly.

According to Jones, among the 500 or so companies that come under the Unilever umbrella both in the UK and abroad, those dealing in fast-moving consumer goods also reflect broader movements in marketing. "Principles that were being applied in fast-moving consumer markets are being taken from the manner in which we would market to industrial markets some 10 years ago. In the degree to which you have to approach business in partnership with the consumer, this is very clearly the case."

A partnership-based relationship with the consumer, even for goods with a quick turnover, has been increasingly evident post-recession, says Jones. "You have got to know the industry inside out. Marketing now is about working to bring in as many links with the consumer as possible." The role of those in marketing and their importance in establishing and maintaining brand loyalty has never been more transparent, making this idea territory in which to cut your teeth.

But that's not where the attraction stops. At Unilever's training centre, a year could see anything between 300 and 400 fresh faces pass through training in sales and marketing. Big is not only bountiful; it promises diversity, too. "Not only are you dealing with personal care products, tea, ice cream and so on, but also our consumer marketing trainees will consist of some 20 different nationalities. I think there's a question of critical mass when it comes to training."

Making your first move in a career in marketing has never been easy. Like breaking into any industry, entry-level candidates face a Catch 22: you can't a job without experience, but you can only get experience on the job. Despite a generally sunnier outlook for graduates - graduate unemplyment is at its lowest since 1990 - marketing is still an employers' market. Mars, one of the biggest trainers in the competitive area of fast- moving consumer goods, has noted an important shift over the the past few years. It is a move that doesn't bode well for those looking for that all-important entree.

"Compared with five to 10 years ago there has been a general movement away from graduates towards people with a two or three-year track record," says Gordon Storey, external relations manager for Mars. A glut of candidates made Mars look for anything that made an applicant stand out: experience was an obvious asset. "Someone with a couple of years' experience is someone with a track record. It is simple less of a risk."

For some the message is that you have to be flexible if you want to remain in the fast lane. Roly Cockman is chief executive of the Association of Graduate Recruiters: "Marketing is still one of the most sought-after careers, and that is reflected in a higher-than-average starting salary. But here has also been a shift away from long-term training periods. A few years ago, you wouldn't have been expected to contribute to profit until you had finished your training. Today you're expected to hit the ground running."

John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

Returning to the stage after 20 years makes actress feel 'nauseous'

peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is to offer a BA degree in Performance and Creative Enterprise

Undergraduates will be able to study beatboxing and performance poetry at one of Europe’s leading conservatoires for the first time, after the Guildhall School of Music and Drama revealed plans for a “groundbreaking” degree course.

Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Head of Marketing - London

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Interim Head of Marketing / Marketing Manager / Dig...

Brand Manager / Account Manager

£28 - 36k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Brand Manager / Senior Account Manager is nee...

Sales Executive

£20 - 24k (Uncapped Commission - £35k Year 1 OTE): Guru Careers: We are seekin...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week