Marketing, advertising and PR
Retail marketing

Retail marketing: graduate area of work

Retail businesses employ marketing and PR professionals to promote them and protect their reputations. This hands-on area will suit creative, confident communicators on the lookout for early responsibility and fast progression.

Marketing is a dynamic and fast moving area within the retail industry, as it must keep up with and react to the ever-changing needs of consumers. The function of the marketing department is to promote the brand and react to customer needs.

This involves looking at buying trends and targeting the customer accordingly. For example, you might look at what a customer buys from data collected through loyalty card schemes so that you can send them relevant offers. You might also look at the buying habits in a particular location, in order to market certain products that would appeal to the local consumer.

As technology progresses there are more and more exciting mediums for potential exposure – websites, podcasts and internet blogs are increasingly being used by organisations to reach their target consumers. You will also spend time outside the office, particularly if you are working on local marketing campaigns. This will help you with marketing concepts and it gives variety to the role.

If the pressure is on you might be required to work extra hours, but it’s typically a nine-to-five job with no weekend work involved. There can be many applications for just a handful of places on retail marketing schemes. Related work experience could put you at an advantage.

Starting out in retail

Recruiters will be looking for evidence that you have the skills listed below so it is worth drawing on any experience you can. If you have organised an event at university, been a campus representative or written for the student paper, keep a record of anything you have done.

You are likely to start as a junior but progression depends greatly on your ability. If you can prove yourself you could progress rapidly. As a trainee, you may be given your own projects to manage, which will give you a great deal of responsibility early on in your career.

Once you have accepted a position most employers will support you through a Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) qualification, as well as provide internal training.

Skills for marketing jobs in retail

Good time management skills and the ability to manage projects are vital in this area. It also helps to be energetic, enthusiastic and unafraid to put forward your ideas. Charisma and confidence will get you a long way but you’ll also need to be creative, organised and an excellent communicator.

You will have to demonstrate strong writing skills to create press releases and be extremely articulate to speak to a huge range of people. If you don’t cope well under pressure or have little interest in the news then this is not the job for you – you must be constantly up to date with the world around you and might have to tackle confrontational journalists.