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Marketing Strategist

What does a Marketing Strategist do?

A marketing strategist attempts to improve a company’s competitive position in the marketplace by researching, improving or developing strategies based on research results, working with marketing accounts the company holds, measuring the results of strategy implementation and communicating strategy goals to workers. They plan, direct or coordinate advertising policies and programmes, or produce collateral materials, such as posters, contests, coupons, or give-aways, to create extra interest in the purchase of a product or service.

Within this broad spectrum, a marketing strategist’s duties may be slightly more specific, such as:

  • conferring with department heads or staff to discuss contracts, selection of advertising media, or products
  • reading trade journals and professional literature to stay informed about trends, innovations and changes
  • inspecting layouts and advertising promotional material for adherence to specifications
  • planning and preparing advertising and promotional material to increase sales
  • working with customers, company officials, sales departments and advertising agencies
  • gathering and organising information to plan advertising campaigns.

What qualifications do I need?

Typically, marketing strategists study a bachelor’s degree in marketing, and gain special knowledge or experience in a particular niche or market segment. In some instances, they further hone their expertise and establish themselves as experts by pursuing an advanced degree in their area of marketing specialty. A National Senior Certificate that meets the requirements for a diploma or degree course is a prerequisite for this course of study. A marketing strategist can work as a staff member inside a company or as an outside consultant who provides specialised help as needed. Consultants are more likely to need advanced educational credentials to further a career as a strategist than a person who works for only one company. Staff members have the luxury of convincing an employer of the value of their professional opinion through everyday work, while consultants must often rely on their objective credentials to persuade a client to pay for their expertise.

What subjects do I need?

Contact each institution for their specific requirements, but these subjects are recommended: 
• Mathematics
• Economics
• Accounting
• Computer Sciences
• Business Sciences


Where can I study?

IMM Graduate School of Marketing
Bachelor of Business Administration: Marketing Management

Monash University
Bachelor of Business Science: Marketing

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
Bachelor of Commerce: Marketing Management

Central University of Technology
National Diploma/Bachelor of Technology: Marketing

Umgungundlovu FET College
National Diploma: Marketing Management

University of Johannesburg
Marketing Degree

North-West University
Marketing Degree

University of Pretoria
Marketing Degree

Cape Peninsula University of Technology
National Diploma/Bachelor of Technology: Marketing

Tshwane University of Technology
National Diploma/Bachelor of Technology: Marketing

Where can I get more info?

Institute of Marketing Management – www.imm.co.za
Marketing Association of South Africa – www.marketingsa.co.za
Southern African Marketing Research Association – www.samra.co.za


Interview with a Marketing Strategist

Patricia Saunders | MARKETING STRATEGIST | Radmark

Patricia Saunders | MARKETING STRATEGIST | Radmark


Describe your job function
I am a marketing strategist and work for a leading media solutions company that represents well-known radio and online brands in South Africa. One of the important functions I assist with is providing insights – from consumer to business, competitor analysis to current trends, and everything in between – to benefit our stakeholders and our clients.

Why marketing?
The science of marketing, particularly the drivers that influence a consumer’s reaction to a brand or advertised message, aroused my curiosity. Coca-Cola is a wonderful example of a brand’s longevity and success. Launched in 1886, the brand has touched the hearts of millions through clever advertising campaigns and remains the biggest-selling soft drink in history, as well as the best-known product in the world.

Where did you train?
I completed a marketing degree, graduating with honours from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth. After studying, I entered the dynamic and exciting world of media, working in radio and top-end glossy magazines.

Describe a typical day
There is a lot of variation within the job spec, so a typical day involves a fair amount of multitasking, ranging from brainstorming ideas for long-term planning to profiling audience demographics.

What do you enjoy most?
The mental stimulation, analytical as well as creative input, and colleagues who believe that teamwork gives us the edge!

What don’t you like?
The tight deadlines and long hours that add to the stresses of modern-day life.

Career highlight?
Being awarded Radmark Employee of the Year, which was an immense honour as my colleagues work to very high standards. I attended a radio conference in the heart of London as a prize.

Experience vs training?
Enthusiasm, a positive attitude and a good dose of common sense can certainly make up for a lack of experience or formal training!

What abilities does a strategist require?
A strategist should have the ability to plan ahead, be able to pay attention to detail, and possess excellent communication skills. They should also have a love of research and reading, and a people-centric approach.

Advice for newcomers?
The field of marketing has broad scope, with many options and career paths. There is a marketing function within any business and any industry. Be curious and read as much as you can on various topics. Then you will come across as someone who is informed, interested and insightful.

Your job in three words
Challenging • Stressful • Rewarding