Charlotte Wright, Marketing Manager at Hays Marketing, weighs up the pros and cons, sharing some advice.
The world of Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) is often viewed as the blue riband arena for Marketers.
It is easy to see why. As consumers, we aspire to the brands and their values on a daily basis.
And apart from the personal association we would like to have with what are perceived as glamorous brands, the most visible embodiment – TV advertising – touches our lives on almost a daily basis.
But more importantly from a marketing and career perspective, FMCG companies are often viewed as “Marketing-Led” organisations, with sufficient marketing budgets, resources and expertise.
Not only do their marketing departments offer exposure to all areas of the marketing mix, but they are often perceived as centres of innovation.
These elements combine to offer excellent training and development of a broad range of marketing skills to the aspiring Marketer.
What are the downsides?
Given the attractions listed above, it is therefore not surprising that competition to join blue-chip FMCG companies is particularly fierce. Most have strong graduate recruitment programmes in place, looking to attract the cream of British universities.
When recruiting for middle and senior management roles externally, most FMCG companies insist on a depth of Consumer marketing experience, whether they are recruiting via recruitment companies, or advertising directly.
So breaking in to this ‘magic circle’ is extremely difficult unless you are bringing a specific skill-set that is sought (such as web or e-marketing, for example).
Secondly, despite our preconceptions as consumers, FMCG marketing is not all about directing TV adverts and rubbing shoulders with celebrity brand spokespeople! It is in fact a very analytical function, where numerical skills are essential components for any Brand Manager – perhaps more so than creative thinking ability.
After all, most FMCG food brands compete in very well developed – and therefore static – markets, which means Marketing is more concerned with defending market share and maintaining the status quo.
This in turn means that the nature of marketing, and indeed the marketing departments, can be bureaucratic and process-driven rather than centres of innovation and excitement.
What are the upsides?
From a content perspective, sometimes it is all about TV adverts and the bright lights of celebrity.
Quite often the only differentiation of your product from the rest is down to the quality of the marketing and the brand message – and you can play a major part in that.
Career-wise, the FMCG sector offers genuine exposure to all areas of the marketing mix, and the perception that FMCG is the premier arena for Quality Marketers exists both internally and externally.
FMCG is therefore an excellent platform to develop your Marketing career, especially since you can ‘export’ your knowledge and experience to other sectors.
In an age when even Law Firms, Accountancy Firms and Charities, now perceive themselves as “Brands”, it is easy to understand why the skills learnt in FMCG lend themselves to career advancement.
Click here to check out the latest FMCG marketing jobs
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