The hardest marketing jobs in the world

So you think you’ve got a tough job? Spare a thought for those working in the five sectors that research conducted for Marketing Week identified as the toughest marketing jobs in the world.

  • Click here to find out which jobs are the hardest to fill
  • Click here to find out how Mishcon de Reya is making its firm more marketable
  • Click here to read the Virgin Media case study

Marketers around the world are facing similar challenges – navigating an increasing number of marketing channels and increasing regulation – while trying to differentiate their brand from its competitors. Many are also overcoming sizable budget cuts.

But there are some sectors that go beyond the usual marketing challenges, according to a survey on the hardest marketing jobs in the world, carried out by marketing recruitment specialist EMR, exclusively for Marketing Week.   

The research reveals that 56% of marketers think tobacco is the hardest industry to market. Government and the public sector follows with 41% of the vote, while 39% say accountancy and 36% say law are the most challenging jobs. The financial services industry also makes it into the top five hardest sectors to market, as voted for by 34% of marketers.

We take a look at these industries, talking to marketing professionals about their current and future challenges.

We decided that if we were going to really propel our positioning as a law firm for the world of business, we needed a big partner.

At the centre of our programme and my budget is an integrated marketing programme with the Financial Times. We’ve created a property called Deals and Dealmakers, which is all about celebrating the entrepreneurial nature of deals.

Every three months we come out with a [branded] supplement within the paper and every week we advertise in the FT. The FT also does email marketing for us to audiences we’ve identified that we want to be involved with. There’s also going to be an event for relevant people, such as chief financial officers, chief executives, and chief operating officers.

That £300,000 programme embodies the whole idea that we’re a law firm for the world of business. That singularity and focus is very uncommon in a law firm.

Our partners and fee earners have been indoctrinated with this new messaging. In any pitch, in any meeting they go to, at any event that they attend, they know what to say about the firm and what makes them different. If you get that right, then you’ve got advocacy, which is critical in any service business.

If you take this approach, then marketing in a law firm is actually phenomenal because suddenly you’ve got the power of 266 people going out into the market and talking about your brand in the same way. That differentiates you from any other law firm.

The partners understand that if they focus on messaging, they will get more business.

New entrants like Virgin Money have been quick to distance their business practices from the underhand motives many consumers believe to be at the root of the banking crisis. That’s what EBO is trying to show consumers, claims Lloyd. “It is the guiding principle for everything we do as a business. We are looking for positive outcomes for all stakeholders, not just the single-minded pursuit of profit maximisation.”

To counter the image of banks as heartless institutions ruthlessly in pursuit of profit, Virgin Money has taken steps to demonstrate to consumers that it is not only fair in its banking practices, but also that it is giving something back. The company invests some of its profits in not-for-profit online fundraising website, which has helped raise more than £15m for good causes.

As the official sponsor of the London Marathon, it also hopes to help runners raise more than £250m over five years.

Virgin Money believes this type of initiative will help to win over cynical consumers who have negative perceptions of the financial services sector. Lloyd says: “UK plc needs to build a sustainable banking sector, focused on delivering value to the economy outside its own financial bubble. To do this requires significant reform of the structure, regulation, governance and culture of the industry.”