To Reflect and Rebirth

Career Advice: Marketing

The South African marketing sector is undergoing significant changes as it grows and adapts to the new demands of consumers. The emergence of Big Data is the latest transformation faced by the sector and if you wish to be a success in the marketing field, it is essential that you remain up to date with the needs of your industry’s target market.

What Will I Be Doing?

It is an enormous field with a huge array of career options which we look at below.

Account Manager: This involves working within the advertising, digital or direct marketing industries in what is a fast-paced and challenging role. Your main role is to oversee marketing campaigns and your daily activities are likely to include managing a large account portfolio, delivering presentations, attending client meetings and generating new business using your growing list of contacts.

Brand Manager: Your job is to ensure the brand you work for looks the part in terms of integrity as well as appearance. In this role, you can expect to perform the following duties: performing consumer research, managing a team of junior staff, keeping tabs on market trends and organising launch parties for the brand.

Event Manager: In recent years, the marketing industry has changed and now companies know the importance of face-time with consumers. As an event manager, your duties include delivering events on time and within budget, ensuring high quality customer service, providing leadership to your team and travelling to the sites of events for inspections.

Marketing Assistant: In this role you will be responsible for supporting the marketing manager in a job that is a long way removed from the typical 9-5! The list of tasks you are expected to complete is impressive in terms of variety and includes arranging promotional events, communicating with clients, creating online content and organising market research.

PR: If you decide to enter the Public Relations realm you will be responsible for trying to generate publicity for clients. The role has a range of tasks to complete on a regular basis including overseeing social media PR strategies & content production, building positive relationships with the media and writing press releases.


Marketing is a sector where the wages vary drastically; an entry level position such as sales and marketing assistant may pay as little as R6,500 a month depending on where you work while marketing coordinators can expect to earn almost R19,000 a month. As an assistant marketing manager, you may earn up to R20,000 a month.

The salaries rise steeply once you hit management level as marketing managers in South Africa earn an average of over R32,000 a month. If you become a marketing executive, you can earn over R36,000 a month while sales managers may earn R40,000 a month. The job most employees strive for is that of marketing director as it carries an estimated monthly salary of R100,000.

What Are The Education/Qualification Requirements?

As you might expect, competition in this field is fierce so if you want an advantage over other applicants you need a degree in business, commerce or marketing. As the role of marketing assistant is entry-level, you don’t necessarily need qualifications but you are advised to take a certificate or diploma course on the job in order to further your career.

The University of Johannesburg has one of the finest Departments of Marketing in the country. As well as offering a BCom (Hons) in Marketing Management, there are also short courses in retail management available along with a Certificate in Marketing and Customer Centricity. If you have a bachelor’s degree, you should look at the university’s PhD in Marketing Management.

The Oxford College of Marketing offers Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) course qualifications. This is extremely useful since a CIM qualification is internationally recognised; best of all, you can start from an appropriate level which means candidates with some qualifications do not need to go back over old ground.

If you wish to further boost your chances of landing a job, you should consider membership with the Marketing Association of South Africa (MASA). This unbiased and independent entity offers qualifications that help you stand out from other jobseekers. If you wish to elevate yourself to senior level, you should consider applying for Chartered Marketer status.

What Are The Ups & Downs?

Positives: No matter which job you choose within marketing, you are almost certain to enjoy variety in a dynamic role. Since every organisation needs marketing to succeed, you can more or less pick your favoured sector and focus on forging a career in it. In jobs such as PR, there are plenty of events and parties to attend and you may even get to meet celebrities. Additionally, there are ample chances for promotion and once you get towards the top, the financial rewards are impressive.

Negatives: The majority of jobs in the marketing sector involve hard work and pressure as you are constantly expected to meet exacting deadlines. The hours are typically long so forget about having free time to yourself. Finally, if you reach management level, the buck stops with you if something goes wrong.

Am I A Good Fit For The Job?

No matter what role you pick within the marketing sector, you need to have the ability to develop good relationships with people. If you are in PR, this extends to forging relationships with journalists which can be a tricky business. Here are some traits associated with successful individuals within the marketing sector:

  • Excellent organisational skills
  • The ability to work under pressure.
  • The capacity to work as part of a team or as an individual.
  • Outstanding written and verbal communication.