[fusion_text]It’s hard to get your first great marketing job.

Every marketer has a tipping point that propels them into career success.

When I pinpoint the tipping point in my early career, the jobs that helped me make huge leaps in the right direction, people are often surprised when I rave about my early days as a freelance promotional marketer, brand rep, event manager, and contract event photographer. Personally, I will be forever grateful to the promotional marketing opportunities I had the gut feeling to chase down, as they contributed tons of value and opened meaningful doors.

Promotional marketing work isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s not that stable if you aren’t willing to work for it, you won’t get accepted for all of the jobs you apply for, and employment ranges from short durations (1 day events) to event-based, monthly, part-time, or, if you are lucky, full-time work. In many cases you will get paid upfront, but you’ll be responsible for saving money for paying taxes later on.

If you’re willing to put in the work, promotional marketing jobs can be truly rewarding, in ways you may only realize, like me, a decade later. 

Here are my personal tips for how to get a job in promotional marketing. Enjoy.[/fusion_text][title size=”1″ content_align=”left” style_type=”default” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]Kick-start your career with promo marketing jobs[/title][fusion_text]If you’re early in your marketing career (or looking to spice up your resume), I suggest you say “yes” to promotional marketing. 

One of the most important “yes” moments in my marketing career was saying “yes” to promotional marketing jobs. Some random agency lady found my resume (which at the time included 1 year at a Bank of America call center, seasonal work at The Gap, babysitting, waitressing, and years upon years as a Dunkin Donuts artistic doughnut froster and cheery voice at 5 am taking drive-thru orders) on careerbuilder.com.

Apparently all of my minimum-wage and customer service jobs made me an ideal candidate to help with a one-time Lipton Green Ice Tea promotional launch at a Gwen Stephani concert. Honestly, I thought idea of something this fun being called a “job” was suspect and that the agency recruiter was B-A-N-A-N-A-S. She wanted me to work for a day or two? All I needed was to send her a bio of how personal I am and a headshot to prove I won’t scare people away? It sounded too good to be true. But it was only one day. and I was basically getting to hear Gwen live, for free, ahem, PAID, so I said yes.

[/fusion_text][title size=”1″ content_align=”left” style_type=”default” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]Benefits of promotional marketing jobs[/title][fusion_text]I figured out the value of working as a marketing freelancer before graduating college. Looking back, it all made sense, but at the time I was just taking on new opportunities that excited me, filled my extrovert need of face-to-face people-time, helped me earn money and fund my move from Rhode Island to Maryland, and gave me flexibility of schedule while I interviewed for full-time marketing positions right after college.[/fusion_text][title size=”1″ content_align=”left” style_type=”default” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]Get amazing brands on your resume[/title][fusion_text]Employment as a promotional marketer can give your resume a boost. You’ll get to work with awesome consumer brands to create memorable experiences. You’ll learn how to create impactful brand awareness marketing campaigns while getting paid.

You have a better chance of getting awesome brands on your resume as a promotional marketer than you would applying to be an intern or an entry-level employee. Plus, you will likely make more money.

During my promotional marketing days, I worked for brands I loved. I learned how important personality and one-to-one marketing is for big consumer brands. I learned how products are launched, how to find events that target specific demographics and audiences, and how to engage strangers.[/fusion_text][title size=”1″ content_align=”left” style_type=”default” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]Try a BUNCH of marketing jobs[/title][imageframe lightbox=”no” lightbox_image=”” style_type=”none” bordercolor=”” bordersize=”0px” borderradius=”0″ stylecolor=”” align=”left” link=”” linktarget=”_self” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”down” animation_speed=”0.1″ hide_on_mobile=”no” class=”” id=””] [/imageframe][fusion_text] 

There’s a huge variety of promotional marketing jobs. Try them all out!

Here are some of my favorite and most memorable promotional marketing jobs:

  • Monster Energy Drink was my longest promotional marketing job. I worked there before landing full-time marketing jobs, and continued while working full-time jobs to make extra money on the weekends. I drove a humungo branded Chevy Silverado with outside speakers from event, to festival, to car dealership, to greek life houses, passing out free drinks all over Baltimore, DC, and Virginia as a shift manager. To this day if I smell someone drinking Monster I have flash backs. I continue to have so much brand dedication to Monster that I still look at the Red Bull Mini Cooper with an unconscious stink-eye. Whoops.
  • With an art school background, I loved working as a tailgating and fan photographer at Baltimore Raven’s games and for the Baltimore Marathon. Sometimes I could use my regular point and shoot, other times the events would supply me with a big DSLR camera.
  • I would take on short-term sampling and brand rep gigs – I sampled food in Giant grocery stores for their East Coast grand openings, was part of the street team that helped launched Bud Light Lime in DC, handed out Lipton Green Tea at a Gwen Stephani concert in Massachusetts.
  • My love for promotional items may date back to promo marketing days. I spun a wheel of prizes for Career Builder at the Maryland State Fair and managed a DC Lottery tour that included taking photos of people holding “bags of money” in front of paparazzi back drops.
  • A lot of brands work with colleges to sponsor events. I roamed the campus of University of Deleware on behalf of CosmoGirl Magazine. This was a memorable event because I got some free Paul Mitchell styling left-overs.
  • Some promotional marketing events are high-profile. I attended a Newport Film Festival wrap up party (after promoting a record label at the event) with famous Hollywood actors like Rachel Dratch from SNL and Clare Danes. Ok, did I meet them personally? No. But did Rachel ask me where the bathroom was? YES. Good enough, haha.

[/fusion_text][title size=”1″ content_align=”left” style_type=”default” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]Earn income while building your resume[/title][fusion_text]Not only did I get to go to a bunch of cool concerts, festivals and events while getting a ton of free branded Tshirts from the companies I repped (lets be honest, in my early 20s those perks alone were very exciting), but all of the experience helped me earn money while building my resume.

Plus, it was so much easier to find a full-time marketing job while I was working part-time jobs. It let future employers know that I wasn’t letting all my marketing knowledge get stale after college, I was actually adding to my skill set.[/fusion_text][title size=”1″ content_align=”left” style_type=”default” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]IMPORTANT: promo job warning[/title][fusion_text]One key thing to note is that any “agency” you work for should always be free. If the agency is legit, you will be able to post your bio, browse jobs, and receive email updates on work assignments FOR FREE. They will take a cut from the brand that hires them, but you won’t be required to pay just to have the job.

I have heard about people signing up for modeling agencies that they pay who got the same jobs I got off Craigslist. Only difference is they would often get paid LESS because their “model agency” took another cut (after the cut the guerrilla marketing / promotional marketing agency took for placing reps with brands). If you get an offer, do a simple google search to make sure you are getting the best cut and being repped by the original company.[/fusion_text][title size=”1″ content_align=”left” style_type=”default” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]Find awesome promotional marketing jobs[/title][fusion_text]My first job for Lipton Green Iced Tea found me on careerbuilder.com. At the time (8-10 years ago) I found plenty of promotional marketing jobs on craigslist under “Events Gigs” – including my multi-year part-time job at Monster Energy Drink. I signed up for a ton of brand ambassador agencies for free, which I found through google searches. I highly recommend signing up for Lynn & Company and Event Pro Staffing. They got me a ton of gigs over the years.

To this day, I am still on the email lists for some of the promotional marketing companies. But now they are even more interesting. Companies wanting me to work the Axe Spray kiosk at Cosco, ride segways passing out coffee (spoiler alert: I have hired people to do that for promotions myself now that I am a full-time marketer), and dress up as an M&M character (disclosure: I never did a full character costume myself, but hey, why not?).[/fusion_text][section_separator divider_candy=”” icon=”” icon_color=”” bordersize=”1px” bordercolor=”” backgroundcolor=”” class=”” id=””][title size=”1″ content_align=”left” style_type=”default” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]What’s your opinion on promo marketing jobs?[/title][fusion_text]I’d love to hear how you feel about promotional marketing jobs.

Have you ever been a freelancer? Never heard of them? Wondered how all those samplers found their jobs? Going to give it a try?[/fusion_text]