Marketing is a broader subject than most classes lead you to believe. Even in the “Intro to Marketing” course I took in college, the marketing industry was depicted as being a flashy entity concerning four “P’s” (price, production, place, and promotion). At a marketing professional, you would figure out how to manipulate each “P” to make people want your good or services.
Really, you need to know people.
That’s why I was excited about the possibility of incorporating my anthropological background into the marketing mix. If I studied people and their cultures, I should be able to get a neat marketing job explaining those things to business people, right? Wrong. Not only is it extremely difficult to get a job in business anthropology (mainly because they barely exist), but most marketing jobs only deal with one (two, at the most) of those said “P’s.”
Merchandising is the misleadingly dominant part of marketing. It deals with the four “P’s” in a very in-your-face way. I work in merchandising. My company is a 3rd party vendor-type marketing company. Corporations hire us to sell their products because we’re good at it. I’m not a sales person, which is why I’m tucked away in a cubicle making sure the sales people have what they need to do their jobs.
My job is considered a marketing position. This blows my mind. Based on my marketing classes, I in no way would consider this job marketing. That’s what I love about the “real world”—it tells the truth. The classes in college lure you in with snazzy slogans and studying “target markets,” and the “real world” says, “Hold up. Now that you’ve graduated, let me show you a real marketing job.”
I’m not saying those intriguingly glitzy, Mad Men-esque jobs don’t exist. They do! In advertising.
My “marketing” job is a great way for me to learn the ways of the marketing industry—particularly merchandising. I’m seeing the “P’s” in all of their underwhelming glory. It’s very advantageous to have this back-end exposure to making a program work. And, hopefully, it will help me reach my goal of working in business anthropology. Time will tell!