The marketing industry is a fast-moving one. The sector is evolving along with advances in digital technology, analytics, and the ever-increasing amount of customer data that companies can access. Thus, marketing job seekers should demonstrate up-to-date knowledge and skills and a good grasp of marketing theory, practices, and strategy.
The best way to prepare for a marketing job interview is to anticipate what the interviewers will ask. That requires doing research on the company and the job that you are applying for.
This article will explain how to prepare for a marketing interview so that you can be confident in your answers. We list common interview questions that might be asked for a marketing role and suggest how to answer them.
How well you perform in an interview for a marketing position depends on how well you prepare. Because there are so many aspects to marketing, each job will be different and the questions you might be asked will vary depending on the job. Therefore, it is vital that candidates fully prepare by researching the company and the job that they are applying for.
Read the company’s website and try to understand their branding. Look at recent marketing strategies that they have used so that you can talk about them in the interview. A great idea is to try to find a marketer on the inside who can give you first-hand insights into the company’s marketing activities and the role you are applying for.
The more you know about the company, its culture, its products, and its marketing, the more you can anticipate the types of questions they will ask you. Basically, the questions will determine whether you have the right knowledge and experience for the tasks specific to that job.
The job description will give you some idea of the tasks you will be charged with, but it’s also a good idea to find someone to talk to in the company who can really give you the low down. The HR contact at the company might be able to put you in touch with someone. Another avenue is to check out the company’s LinkedIn page. See if you can message an existing marketing employee and ask them if they would be willing to answer some of your questions.
In addition to preparing responses that show your understanding of the company’s specific approach to marketing, you should be prepared to answer general questions on marketing theory and practices. Also, you will be asked about your personal experience in marketing. The following are general marketing questions that you should know the answer to or prepare answers for.
You should know the answers to these basic marketing questions even for an entry-level position.
What are the 8 Ps of marketing?
Answer. The 8 Ps of marketing are product, place and time, pricing, promotion, process, physical environment, people, and productivity and quality.
Don’t just know the 8Ps, but also be prepared to tell the interview how each one fits into the marketing process. For example, how can you pick the right product? How can you determine the right price for a product?
What are the 4Cs of the marketing mix?
Answer: The 4Cs of the marketing mix are the Consumer, Cost, Convenience, and Communication.
The 4Cs are arguably more important today than the 8Ps because they reflect the customer-driven approach that companies embrace today in their digital marketing.
Can you explain the difference between B2B and B2C?
You should know which type of marketing you will be doing for the company you are applying to.
Answer: B2B marketing, or business-to-business marketing, involves smaller, niche markets where businesses are selling to other businesses and sales are bottom line-driven. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) subscriptions, security solutions, and office supplies are examples of B2B sales and marketing. B2C, business-to-consumer marketing, is larger scale, and sales are based on emotions. Online and offline retail marketing are examples of B2C marketing.
These are more context-specific questions that require you to apply your marketing theory and knowledge to situations. They also are designed to tease out what experience you have and whether you are a good fit for the position. They will include behavioral interview questions where you will be asked how you responded to a situation in your past job.
What marketing channels do you have experience in?
Use this question to show not only the marketing channels that you have worked with but how you used them successfully. For example, if you have hands-on experience of email marketing, explain how you came up with the marketing list, created the content, and automated the process.
Example Answer: In my last job, I curated an email campaign that resulted in a 25% increase in conversions. We narrowed down the targets based on geolocation and demographic data and created new content that was more relevant. We used an email solution to send targeted, timely, bulk emails.
Are you familiar with social media marketing and analytics functionality?
This question is straightforward. In your answer, give details on what marketing tasks you have done on social media platforms.
Example Answer: I managed social media in my last job by communicating and collaborating with other users, scheduling, monitoring and managing posts, and conducting analytics using specialized tools to assess brand awareness and the effect of marketing campaigns. I have used Google Analytics and Woopa.”
Can you explain content marketing and the significance of search engine optimization (SEO)?
In answering this question, show your knowledge and experience by giving an example of your role in content marketing. Try to link what you did with the job you are applying for.
Example Answer: Content marketing uses content such as blogs, articles, podcasts, and videos to draw traffic from a target audience to a site. The subject matter could be educational, controversial, or otherwise appeal to the emotions of the reader. The content uses strategically placed keywords to get a desired ranking and traffic through SEO. Keywords are placed in titles, meta tags, URLs, heading, and text.
What are three important skills for a marketing career?
There are various answers to this question, but what is most important is to give good reasons for your answers. For example, if you say that understanding the customer is a top skill, explain why a customer focus is important. You might use Amazon’s approach as an example and explain that Amazon has built its platform and services by focusing on what the customer wants—one-click ordering, next-day delivery, etc.
Example Answer: Three important skills for a marketing career are understanding the customer, analytical skills so that you can parse data, and communication skills. Amazon focuses on the customer and tries to anticipate what the customer wants before the customer knows it. The company uses data to understand and predict customer behavior and trends. Communication skills are important because part of marketing is educating the customer about a product, which requires delivering clear and comprehensible information in an appealing way.
What do you know about this company’s branding and marketing strategy?
This question shows why conducting research before your interview is so important. This is your opportunity to show what you know about both marketing and the company you are applying to. Come up with a good answer here, and you can blow the socks off the hiring managers.
Talk about the company’s target market, point out key aspects of the company’s marketing strategy, and earn bonus points if you can come up with a marketing idea for the company that the interviewers like. Just be ready for follow-up questions!
Example Answer: It’s clear that the company is talking to the millennial generation as its target market. The branding is appealing to that generation and features company videos, a website, and Instagram campaigns that engage that age group. I do think that the company’s latest products could be targeted to a wider audience, however, and adding an age-specific dimension to each product with focused marketing channels might increase conversions and customer success.
How would you manage a product launch?
It’s best to answer this question in the context of the company you are interviewing with. For example, if you are interviewing with a pharma, talk about the launch of a new drug, not the launch of new software. Again, if you have researched the company, you will know how the company manages new product launches.
Example Answer: As this company did with its new allergy product. A launch requires lead-up time for adequate PR and customer education before the hard launch. There should be an established product marketing team where the team members have defined roles. There should be a fully developed and tested website and a well laid out PR plan in place leading up to the launch to create media buzz. Metrics and data should be tracked pre and post-launch so that any adjustments can be made quickly depending on customer receptivity. Data is key.
How have you managed negative product reviews in the past?
Try to find out how the company has managed this type of situation in the past and answer accordingly. For example, does the company respond to a bad review post immediately and do damage control?
Another option is to use the STAR technique to answer the question. This is a good idea if you have a real example of when you personally handled a situation where a customer was frustrated. First, explain the situation. Next, describe the task that you needed to do and the actions that you took. Lastly, describe the results of your efforts.
Example Answer: It’s important to monitor social media in real-time as just one bad review can ruin a company’s reputation. A negative review should be addressed immediately with a response that shows the company listens to its customers and makes changes if necessary if the complaint is valid. The goal is to be responsive and show that the company cares about its customers. In my last job, a customer complained that a product broke within two weeks of their receiving it, and they posted a critical account. I got clearance from my manager to provide a refund and to send the customer a replacement. I posted a response explaining the actions that we were taking and that we would look into the product’s manufacturing. The customer posted a reply saying that they were happy that the company took such a proactive and responsive stance.
The answers to these questions will be uniquely your own. However, try to answer them in a way that shows off your marketing know-how, your creativity, and your approach to problem-solving.
Why did you choose a career in marketing?
The answer to this question should show your affinity and passion for marketing. You might link your natural abilities with your marketing career. You could also mention previous jobs where you were exposed to marketing or industry influencers who you follow.
Example Answer: I naturally look at things from the customer’s perspective and try to think about what the end-user wants. I like to find ways to influence the customer using psychology. I find marketing fascinating in that regard. I especially enjoy and follow Seth Godin.
How do you keep up with the latest industry trends, marketing tools, and techniques?
This question is trying to determine how current you are with the marketing industry and its ecosystem. Describe any training courses or marketing seminars you have attended and any industry publications or blogs that you read.
Example Answer: I follow the world of retail and always watch how the big companies market their new products. I research marketing concepts and try to employ them in my work if they make sense and it is possible to integrate them. I attend marketing events and conferences when I can, and I am an avid reader of the Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and Fast Company.
What makes you the right candidate for this position?
This question is your chance to shine. Differentiate yourself from the competition by giving an example of when your marketing work really made a difference in past roles. Use measurable data to impress the interviewers. If you are an expert in an area, for example, social media management or web analytics, use that in your example.
Example Answer: In my current role, I just developed and was the marketing manager for a branding campaign for a newly launched product from start to finish with great results. It was really original, and we weren’t sure how the story would be received. I applied my skills in Woopa analytics to monitor the effect of the campaign. In the first three weeks, we saw increases in sales of 40%. That experience really gave me great insights into the design, implementation, and monitoring of campaigns.
Many of these questions will be answered differently depending on the job that you are applying to and your own unique situation. However, what is common about all of them is that you need to prepare your answers. Preparation is key before the interview process begins. Research the company culture, its branding and marketing, and your potential role. That's all part of marketing a product, which in this case is you!