Direct marketing: graduate area of work

Direct marketing account managers liaise with clients, suppliers and agency staff in the administration of campaigns and the co-ordination of associated work.

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The differentiating features of direct marketing are that it communicates directly to its consumers and is therefore able to calculate their responses. This is different to other types of marketing in which it is often harder to measure the target consumer’s response to a marketing campaign.

The direct marketing strategies are used to create direct one-to-one promotional and sales relationships between advertisers and targeted groups of customers who are contacted online, via email, CDs, telemarketing, direct mail, or advertising campaigns. Typical responsibilities of the job include:

  • consulting clients about campaign requirements and objectives
  • formulating strategies
  • passing proposals to printing, IT, media or creative staff
  • agreeing timescales and budgets
  • supervising staff
  • monitoring and chasing work progress
  • writing reports
  • analysing, interpreting and presenting results
  • delivering ideas and final products to clients for review
  • financial administration

Account managers are employed by direct marketing consultancies and agencies to administer client accounts, for which they are the key contact. They are also employed within the marketing departments of major commercial organisations. The work offers high levels of responsibility and excellent opportunities for promotion into consultant or senior managerial positions. Tight client deadlines require an ability to work under pressure but this can also provide a real buzz to the working day.

What's required

Any degree discipline is acceptable for entry, although some employers prefer a social/behavioural science, business, management, marketing, public relations, languages or numerate subject. A number of institutions offer specialist postgraduate marketing qualifications, which can be advantageous.

Relevant experience gained within direct marketing or commercial areas such as retailing, sales and marketing can also be beneficial. All candidates must possess commercial awareness and excellent analytical, organisational, interpersonal, numerical and verbal communication skills.

Where to find out more

Vacancies, particularly training places, attract strong competition. Most opportunities are located in London and major cities. Jobs are advertised via the internet, by recruitment agencies and in national newspapers and publications including Direct Marketing World , Direct Response , Campaign , Media Week , Precision Marketing , The Drum , Marketing and Marketing Week .

Many jobs receive little advertising, so speculative applications are a good idea. The Institute of Direct Marketing and The Direct Marketing Association are also useful places to go for more information.

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