Several of my clients work in marketing. Once upon a time, not that long ago, marketing jobs were easy to understand. A person worked for a company or an agency. Specialty forms of marketing were public relations, advertising, event marketing, or internal communications. Writers and graphic designers often worked on marketing teams as specialty players. (Think kickers and punters in football.) More recently, new terms have entered the field: branding, digital/mobile, and social media.
Anyone entering a career in marketing needs to think about what aspects of the field they want to focus on. While there are a few “generalist” jobs that ask for a Swiss army knife, most employers want a specific skill set. Some of my clients have moved from one area or specialty to another, but it’s often difficult. Employers recruit the employee who knows branding or social media. The challenge for senior managers and directors is to know how to manage special skills they do not know. This is one reason why it is important to work on teams and learn other skills through collaboration.
When someone says they are in marketing, probe a little. In most cases, you’ll see that they are specialists. And in an ever more complex world of communication, that is a good and necessary development.