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Sector Spotlight: What it's like working in Marketing

15 February 2022

MA Creative Arts Practice graduate Lewis Brown reflects on his career as a marketer and shares his top tips for getting into the sector.

If you looked at my CV, you’d probably think I have a lot of unrelated interests, or maybe that I’ve switched career path a few too many times for someone still in my 20s. I’ve found marketing is a little weird like that, it intersects with a wide range of industries, brings in people with a variety of skillsets. Maybe it feels different to people who studied marketing in some form, deliberately chososing it as a career path. For me, the through-line has always been storytelling. 

I grew up as an avid reader and an avid gamer (so basically, I was a huge nerd). I remember spending a lot of time with Discworld, Final Fantasy, Artemis Fowl, Chrono Trigger. That got me into creative writing and narrative game design, which have been hobbies sometimes and overlapped with my career at others.

"I’d always recommend pursuing your personal interests when you get the chance, it can help you pick up new skills, expand your network and lead to interesting places."

I studied English Literature at Edinburgh, doing some freelance copywriting and slam poetry on the side – I recommend the Loud Poets if you ever get a chance to see them live – then I studied Creative Arts Practice at Newcastle, and had a great experience with the Culture Lab on campus. Then I ended up writing marketing copy for a paint company. You see what I mean about unrelated interests, but with a through-line? 

I don’t necessarily believe that your career and your passion have to be the same thing, that for any creative interest to be legitimate it has to be a source of income. That kind of thinking can be a trap, sometimes you do just need a job that pays the bills without making you unhappy. But that doesn’t mean you can’t flex those muscles, make the time spent pursuing those interests work for you. Creative writing, for example, certainly helps with CV writing. And while I haven’t been called upon to perform a poem for a while, it certainly helps that I’m not afraid of speaking in front of a large group. I think those are what they call transferrable skills.

My current job is working for the video game company Ubisoft, I’ve been with them just under six months at the time of writing. I’m a Web Content Specialist, which means I implement news articles on multiple different websites – much more technical that I’d have thought I’d be capable of when I graduated. But it’s just one step removed posting articles on a single website in my previous job, which is just one step removed from what I was doing before. You get the idea.  

Right now I’m a very small part of games that tell very big stories. Three big titles – Watch Dogs Legion, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Immortals Fenyx Rising – all launched fairly close together, so there were a lot of fun articles to implement all in a pretty short stretch of time. But if anything, I prefer the stories that come after; I think my favourite articles to format are the ones which include community-created content, for games like Rainbow Six Siege where people are clearly still in love with them years later. 

"For anyone considering marketing, I’d say go for it. For some people it’s a stepping stone into digital media, visual design, filmmaking, etc, and for others it can be fulfilling on its own. But you’re bound to meet some interesting people and expand your skillset."

And for people trying to find a way into it – polish up your CV, and put it on LinkedIn, Indeed, CV Library, etc. In my experience, quite a few marketing departments find potential candidates that way.