Olivia Gold, senior fashion marketing co-ordinator, Debenhams
“My interest in marketing originated from an editorial perspective, because I thought it was compelling how a picture made me like a product or a brand.
“At school I did business studies for GCSE, which included a marketing-specific module that touched on the basics of the 4Ps, but I think you would have to have done business to know about marketing at my school. If you’re a student who has talents, but just doesn’t know where to nurture them, it’s such a big missed opportunity.
“When I graduated in 2012 from my degree in marketing and media there weren’t really marketing internships out there. I saw more PR internships and knowing they sat under the umbrella of comms that’s how I found my way in.
“There need to be more internships and mentorships. Guidance is so important, because it propels people to where they are supposed to be, especially if people don’t have the financial freedom to take something for three months and realise they don’t like it.
“It would be good to have someone who’s at a junior manager level to teach people the basics of how to function in business and the key skills to know.”
Lewis Lawson, digital marketing manager, womenswear brand Izabel London
“I studied music technology at university and aside from working with bands and learning about synthesisers, one of the modules was on how to market yourself and your music online.
“I graduated full of high-minded hopes of a career in the music industry, only to find the reality was much less attractive. I remembered how much I enjoyed that marketing module and I found a marketing assistant role advertised online at a luxury furniture manufacturer in Cambridge: my first step into marketing.
“I don’t remember ever being told about marketing as a career in school, which is a real shame. I certainly feel that the diversity of marketing as a career needs to be communicated to young people, especially as it caters to both the extrovert creatives and the introvert analysts.
“I think it would help more young people to consider a marketing career if they had the opportunity to speak to marketers across different industries from digital marketing managers to data analysts to CRM specialists. Most people I’ve met working in marketing really love their jobs, so I’m sure that energy and passion would make heads turn.”
Pollyanna Ward, digital brand manager, Friesland Campina
“I wanted to be a journalist and a writer, so I ended up doing English at university. During my course I started doing internships at River Island and IMAX to get some brand-side experience, before doing a brief internship after uni at an agency. I would suggest ideas and they’d say, ‘no it’s whatever the client wants to do’ and I got a bit frustrated. While I learnt a lot I realised I wanted to be on the other side.
“The opportunity came up to work at Mondelēz International in digital and social, which was a fantastic foundation. Being in that in-house environment helped me build a broader picture of what a marketer’s job is.
“I think it would help young people to have access to companies a lot sooner. You can be an intern at any agency, whereas with in-house teams it’s almost like there’s a different type of person that’s needed and it’s not an intern.
“Young people need to understand that the marketer doesn’t just design a campaign, they look at the sales figures, they run the digital, the PR. If I thought marketing was exciting I would definitely have done it a lot sooner, but what it means to me now is so different.”