While there can be overlap in responsibilities and goals of advertising and marketing, the two professions have significant differences and their names are not synonymous. Marketing is coordinated efforts a business takes to sell their products, while advertising is a paid persuasive message sponsored by the seller. In essence, advertising is one component of a marketing process. 

In addition to advertising, other parts of the marketing process include market research, media planning, public relations, product pricing, distribution, customer support, and sales strategy. They might also develop pricing strategies with the goal of maximizing the firm’s profits or share of the market while ensuring the firm’s customers are satisfied, oversee product development, or monitor trends that indicate the need for new products and services. 

Advertising Overview

Professionals in the advertising field often work for an agency that serves clients in a range of industries. Specific roles in advertising agencies typically fall within four tracks: account management, account planning, creative, and media.

  • The Advertising Educational Foundation has an excellent overview of the advertising field.
  • Account management jobs are primarily administrative, involve working directly with clients, developing strategy, and at higher levels involve managing people. Typical career paths inside the account management departments at ad agencies look like this: administrative assistant/account coordinator to account executive to account manager to account supervisor to management supervisor to vice president to director. Skill sets include strong social skills and management skills, organizational skills (multitasking is common) and an understanding of marketing.
  • Account planners try to understand the consumer in order to offer better services to clients. They devise strategy for clients and conduct quantitative and qualitative research. Typical career paths are junior account planner to senior account planner to vice president to director. Account planners need to understand psychology and marketing and have strong interpersonal and analytical skills.
  • The creative team turns a client’s strategy into a concept that can be made into a finished ad. People in these roles must have strong communication skills, lots of fresh ideas and ability to take criticism. A typical career path is junior copywriter to senior copyrighter or junior art director to senior art director to creative director.
  • Media is in charge of putting ads where they will most effectively reach a target market. The team has two functions: planning and buying. A typical career path is media assistant, assistant media planner/buyer, senior media planner/buyer, media supervisor, vice president to director. Skills include analytical skills, being detail-oriented and having an understanding of marketing.

Advertisers may also work in-house in the advertising, marketing, or communications department of an organization. In this role, they are likely to conceptualize, plan and implement advertising campaigns, oftentimes working in tandem with an outside agency.

Marketing Overview

A marketer might plan, direct, or coordinate marketing policies and programs, such as determining the demand for products and services offered by a firm and its competitors, and identify potential customers.

A marketer’s role depends on the sector. For example, the consumer packaged goods sector works to promote products seen on store shelves. A typical career path is brand coordinator, to brand manager, to VP of marketing. In the law and financial services sector, a typical career path is marketing assistant, to marketing manager, to chief marketing officer. Nonprofits generally hire marketers with fund development experience, and high tech companies look for candidates who can explain technical terms.

Marketing firms look for candidates with strong quantitative skills, fluency with social media, creativity, good interpersonal and communication skills, ability to multitask and strong research skills. Market and survey researcher positions are good options for students with master’s and PhD degrees.

Advertising and Marketing Job search

The large majority of full-time hiring for marketing and advertising positions occurs on an “as needed” basis. In other words, organizations have positions they need filled immediately—due to a promotion, an individual leaving the organization, increased budget, or from bringing on a new client. Organizations want job applicants to be able to work immediately (with 2 weeks notice for a current job), so applying 6-8 weeks prior to your availability is recommended.

However, many top advertising and marketing firms (like DigitasLBi for instance) begin accepting summer internship applications as early as November/December. It is essential to grow and maintain your network in these fields, as many jobs will be filled through referrals and may not be advertised at all, or advertised when the hiring manager already has another candidate in mind.

Columbia Resources

  • LionSHARE: Large advertising/marketing firms that have recruited Columbia candidates through LionSHARE include Ogilvy, Digitas, Publicis and Universal McCann. Smaller firms include Allied Integrated Marketing, Collective Media and Endai Worldwide. Organizations that have recruited candidates to work in their in-house teams include Penguin Publishing, L’Oreal, Fischer-Price and Samsung Electronics.
  • CCE Sponsored Internships: We host several spring and summer internships. Within these programs, students have held advertising and marketing internships with organizations like Carnegie Hall;The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center; the Harlem Film Center; and the Jordan Tourism Board.
  • Leadership Development Programs: We continue to build a list of organizations that offer Leadership Development programs, who train new hires through rotational programs (i.e. rotating through different parts of a company) or specific, structured training programs. Companies that offer Marketing Leadership Development programs include 3M, DuPont, and the National Football League.
  • Advertising, Marketing, and PR Industry Showcases: We host a panel and networking session for organizations with opportunities in advertising, marketing, and public relations. This event is held in the spring semester and sheds light on the differences between these industries, and allows you to network with professionals from several organizations. Past employers included AOL, Burson-Marsteller, Finn Partners, National Basketball Association, and Time Inc.
  • CCE Career Fairs: Our Undergraduate Career Fair and Spring Career Fair include organizations each from many industries including Huge, Rocket Fuel Inc., Rosetta, Havas Worldwide, and Blue Bite LLC.
  • Vault and WetFeet Guides: We subscribe to career-focused web services such as Vault and WetFeet, which offer profiles of industries, companies, and careers- such as the WetFeet guides to Careers in Marketing and Careers in Advertising and PR, and the Vault Guide to Advertising and PR.

External Resources

Intensive Educational Programs

Internship Programs

Professional Associations

Job Boards

Other resources