Similar but different, exploring roles in Advertising, Marketing, and Public Relations 

We were delighted to welcome professionals from the fields of Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations (AMP) this past December at an Industry Showcase event co-hosted by the Columbia Women in Business Society.

The event was designed to offer students insight into these very distinct fields that often get lumped together with limited clarity on the specific expertise of each. Here is some of what we learned during the panel and networking hour. 

MARKETING: STRATEGIZE HOW TO ACTIVATE YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE

Generally speaking, Marketing is the business of highlighting and promoting products and services in an effort to meet the needs of the consumer audience.  Panelists from Criterion Global and Metric Theory explained that in order to do this well, a marketing agency will buy ad placement space (on tv, social media, print) for their client’s product or service, based on consumer data.

At L’Oreal, there is an in-house marketing team focused on getting their own products into the hands of the consumers who are most interested in using them.  To do this, we learned that data is important but L’Oreal is also interested in understanding how men and women feel when wearing or using L’Oreal products.  Beauty is very personal and a successful marketer needs to be sensitive to the customer experience. 

To be successful working for an internal marketing team like this one, you need to be passionate about your company, your products, and their impact.

The team at Live Nation talked about the business of marketing through music.  Artists have many sponsors eager to market their products through the Live Nation platforms.  With an audience in the millions, data analysis and an understanding of their audience is critical to successful ad placement and sponsor satisfaction.

ADVERTISING: CREATE A NEED OR CONNECTION BETWEEN CONSUMERS AND PRODUCTS

There is also the creative side, and this is where the Advertising function comes in.  Advertising is the business of creatively telling the story of a product or service in an effort to connect the brand to people and culture. 

Panelists from B-Reel, a creative agency, talked about helping their clients tap into people’s feelings and dreams to help people connect with the product/service.  Often the client has a hard time focusing on specific aspects of their products.  Thus, the advertising creative agency will help them pinpoint the most critical aspects.

PUBLIC RELATIONS: SPEAKING WITHOUT SELLING

In Public Relations (PR), different from buying ad placement, a firm is working on behalf of their client to earn communications space and stay relevant to its target audience.  PR firms build a positive relationship between their client (services or products) and the public. 

This work involves intentionally creating a narrative for the client and getting it out through various media channels in order to set a positive impression.  — Panelist from Small Girls PR ​​​​

This can be facilitated through driving press and publicity about a product/service. This work is constantly changing as the goals of the clients change.  It is a process of constant movement, evolution, and iteration in an effort to stay relevant.

A FIELD BEYOND CREATIVITY AND COMMUNICATIONS; DATA SAVVY IS NOW REQUIRED

All of our panelists talked about the importance of analytical skills and the ability to read and manipulate market data on a spreadsheet.  There are no jobs in Marketing that don’t involve data analysis.  Students considering this field need to recognize that analytics are critical to success.  Spending some time while in undergrad to learn how to read and manipulate an excel spreadsheet will serve you well down the road.

Candidates need to come to interviews prepared to ask questions.  These are often competitive roles and curiosity about the company, their clients and projects are important to set a candidate apart.

“Be hungry, not thirsty!”  This is another way of saying new hires in this business need to seek out projects or new opportunities to get involved beyond what is put in front of them. 

“Do what no one else wants to do.”  — Showcase Panelist

If you see an opportunity to take up a project, do it.  Show your willingness to get involved and get your hands dirty, no matter how small or mundane the task may seem.

PUT YOUR LIBERAL ARTS DEGREE TO WORK IN THE AMP INDUSTRY

Many of our panelists acknowledged having Liberal Arts degrees and even attributed some of their success to the skills they learned in undergrad.  Some of the examples shared include writing a strategy brief for a client and thinking critically and creatively about how to approach a brand or client problems.

LEARN MORE

Want to learn more about the AMP industry? Check out our industry pages for more information.