Well done on completing the 20 questions in the marketing career quiz. You should have totaled your answers with A = 1 point, B = 2 points, C = 3 points and have a total score of somewhere between 20 and 60.
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Understanding the marketing career quiz – question by question breakdown
1. Do you enjoy playing with puzzles, solving problems and lateral thinking games?
One of interesting challenges in a marketing career is that no two situations are ever exactly the same. Similar firms within the same industry will require a different strategy, and sometimes to similar campaigns run by the same firm, perhaps a year apart, will have incredibly different results.
Therefore, marketing requires problem-solving, consideration of recent changes, insightful analysis, and lateral thinking. If you enjoy these sort of tasks and style of thinking, and marketing is probably going to be an interesting career for you.
2. In your academic studies to date or in your current workplace, do you like studying topics and answering questions that have one right answer, or do you prefer ambiguity where there could be multiple correct approaches to the question?
Marketing is often described as a University subject where there is no right or wrong answers. Some students are very comfortable with this situation, and some students get very frustrated by it and don’t understand why there isn’t one correct option.
The reality is, in a marketing career, you would need to move equally between situations and challenges with there are multiple approaches that you can take – as virtually every company’s strategy is different – but at times there will be a set a logical approach, particularly when you have access to good marketing research and analysis.
3. Have you started your own business – even on a part-time basis – or are you interested in owning your own business in future?
Entrepreneurial type people are probably more suited to a marketing career, as they have good ideas, initiative, can see opportunities, and would generally think a little bit differently.
If you are someone who is not overly interested in running your own business one day, you’re probably less inclined to do well in a marketing role – as you lack that “pursuit of opportunity” type of thinking.
I started my own small business when I was in high school, these days with numerous low-cost business opportunities on the Internet, I would expect that marketing – focused people would have at least tried to start a small business or have goals to do so.
4. Do you have ambitions to be the CEO of a medium or large size company later in your career?
This is a tricky one. If being a CEO is a very important goal for you, then I would suggest perhaps there are easier pathways. Across the Fortune 1000 companies, only around half of them have marketing represented at the executive level with a CMO (Chief Marketing Officer).
Clearly getting to the executive level immediately below CEO is critical in making the next step. In the Fortune 500 companies, around 90% of them have a Chief Finance Officer, as well is a Chief Human Resources Officer.
Therefore, if being a CEO is your prime career goal, then perhaps an alternative business function to marketing would be more beneficial for you.
4. How well do you interrelate with people?
In marketing, you need to interrelate with most people in the organization. You need to get things done through other staff – which includes: front-line staff, IT support, manufacturing, operations management, finance, unit resources and so on.
But to do so, you need the right mix of skills and people preference style. You need to be comfortable with working with people, but you also need the ability to go away and get some work done come back prepared to influence and engage with people and other managers.
6. Would you consider yourself to be a persuasive person?
I hesitate to use the word “salesperson”, but internally (inside an organization) a marketer needs ability to change people’s minds. In reality, businesses exist in a dynamic marketplace – competitors change, technology changes, and consumer preferences and lifestyles always evolving.
The end result of all these changes is that the organization that you work for will need to adapt and adjust it strategy. Many other managers and staff may not see a reason to implement changes or simply prefer the status quo. The marketer is the one that needs to persuade the organization that it needs to change and adapt from time to time.
7. How well do you handle criticism?
Marketing is a very visible role. Consumers, the media, competitors, other managers, and your manager and the CEO of all aware of what you do and how well you do it. That is, they will see the new products that you bring to market, they will see your advertising, they will see how well the business is growing, and so on.
This will mean, that from time to time, you will be criticized. You will have people who will say, but they don’t agree with the new product or at the last advertising campaign was stupid and so on. Unlike many other managers in the organization (who don’t have this public assessment of their performance), marketers need to be able to accept a higher level of criticism and continue on to pursue opportunities for the firm and not play too safe.
8. How confident are you were dealing with numbers and perhaps spreadsheets?
Around 20 years ago, the average marketer could have got away with knowing very little about numbers and spreadsheets. In the earlier days of marketing it was more of art/creative form where the big idea was “king”.
However, due to the advent of increased customer data and technology, marketing has evolved to be more scientific and analytical. These days, marketers are expected to be quite strong on numbers and base many of their decisions on analysis.
9. In terms of your preferred working environment in the future, would you prefer flexibility or stability?
If you enjoy stability and repetition then a marketing career is probably not for you. Marketing is quite dynamic – both in terms of needing to evolve your marketing strategy over time, as well as facing multiple challenges on a day-to-day basis.
If you enjoy a variety and having no two days the same, then a marketing career is more likely to deliver this outcome.
10. How important is social status to you as a result of your professional occupation?
Probably one of the disappointing aspects of a career in marketing is that in some industries and organizations marketing still lacks the professional status of being a lawyer or accountant or engineer. As highlighted above, marketers are less likely to be represented at the executive level in a large company as well.
Therefore, you desire a strong level of professional recognition and perhaps a marketing career is not quite right for you. However, there are some organizations that value marketers very highly considered as critical in the future success.
11. What is your attitude to the “details” of a particular task or project?
In a marketing role you will need the ability, from time to time, to be very detailed focused. Often you are implementing major projects or spending significant amounts of the organization’s money. While you will need to develop an appropriate strategy, it is also important to execute it well.
This will mean that at times you will need to be very focus on minor points and ensure the implementation of your marketing activities are executed with minimal error.
12. Would you describe yourself as patient or inpatient?
Having a mix of patience and excitement is probably the best combination for a potential marketer. In the current marketing era, marketers are expected to test campaigns and conduct marketing experiments. This information gathering and testing phase requires patience – it is also important that a marketer knows when to “go for it and not wait for more research and data.
13. Are you someone that can see trends and see where things are heading?
When you are putting together a marketing strategy, because the plan will take 2 to 3 years to execute in most cases, you are actually implementing a strategy that is based on the future market – not on today’s market.
Therefore, an ability to understand where your industry and the marketplace is heading is an important skill set for a successful marketing career.
14. What was your approach to science in school – theory or practical or simply bored by it?
While this may seem a strange question, in recent years, marketing has evolved towards conducting “marketing experiments”. This is where a company tests something in the marketplace first – such as a new product being introduced in one city only.
Therefore, if you liked conducting experiments and the like to figure out what works and doesn’t work based on a practical approach, then the modern day marketing era is probably well suited to you and your work style.
15. What is the main purpose, in your opinion, what somebody working in a marketing role in a company?
You need the right mix of profit goals and achieving customer satisfaction. I always took the view that the role of a marketer inside a firm is to maximize long-term profitability for the organization.
However, in order to achieve this profit increase on a “long-term” basis, it is critical that good a level of value is provided to the end consumer.
16. How well do you handle pressure?
To be successful in a marketing role you need the ability to handle pressure, without being too aggressive and putting yourself under too much pressure.
In the case of a marketing career, pressure refers to being the person responsible for generating increase profitability or growth for the firm. In some workplaces you will be THE person who was responsible for the future success or the turnaround of the business.
You will also be entrusted with potentially millions of dollars of the company’s money to invest in new products, new market development, and promotional expenditure. That is a significant responsibility that will generate significant pressure on you.
17. How often would you watch a business show on TV or the Internet?
A successful marketer typically has a strong interest in business and strategy and new initiatives. If you find business shows quite boring, then chances are you will be frustrated by a marketing career.
However, if you are someone who enjoys business discussions, business books and magazines, and even business Internet news – and that is a good sign for future success in marketing and your business career.
18. Would you describe yourself as more like Steve Jobs or Steve Wozniak (the two founders of Apple computers)?
The two founders of Apple Computers a quite different work styles. One was very ambitious in terms of making money, and could perhaps be described as greedy. The other was almost indifferent towards money and generated a lot of pleasure from inventing things and solving problems.
For Apple Computers to have been successful, they actually needed the right mix of both skills. The same with a successful marketer – you will need to be ambitious and profit motivated, but also creative, a problem solver, as somebody who truly wants to add value.
19. Are you a creative person – in what way are you creative?
Because of the various challenges of marketing, you will need some form of creativity and openness to initiatives. In the past, and artistic approach to creativity – that is, coming up with creative ideas from nowhere – was probably the best skill set in a marketing role. However, while broad creativity is still important, there has been a shift to more analytical thinking in the marketing profession.
In today’s marketing world, marketers who have the ability to work with data and marketing experiments, and then see opportunities based on those outcomes are far more valued.
20. Do you consider yourself pragmatic and practical, or more ideas–based?
A good degree of balance between being practical and being ideas-based is important for success in a marketing career. At times, a marketer simply has to look at what is doable or achievable – and sometimes as a result, they need to put the “big dream” on hold and deliver business results.
At other times, a vision of the future, which is tied to some form of big idea for the company is what is needed.