How do I get into FMCG Brand Marketing?

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How do I get into FMCG Brand Marketing?

At Tarsh & Partners, we see many candidates with excellent marketing backgrounds who tell us they would like to make the move into an FMCG brand marketing role. It’s easy to see why FMCG marketing is so attractive; working for global consumer goods leaders with portfolios of exciting brand names and generous marketing budgets is the ultimate dream for many marketers.

The opportunity to create innovative new brands and products to meet the needs of a fast-paced and constantly changing consumer world is very appealing! So why is the move so difficult to make? Surely, a passion for brands, a love of food/drink/cosmetics, a professional qualification and a strong suite of marketing skills are transferrable?

The truthful answer is, moving intoFMCG is not that straightforward. There is a set of skills and attributes that FMCG employers look for that are pretty much essential, so let’s look at what those are, and how you can align your own experience to maximise your chances of getting noticed.    

Firstly, what does an FMCG marketer actually do? To put it simply, FMCG brand marketing is all about understanding the DNA of a brand; analysing consumer insights and then using that knowledge to develop compelling new concepts and propositions, that are both attractive to consumers and able to be manufactured and sold profitably through existing or new routes to market. Finding that balance between manufacturing capability, consumer demand and commercial viability is your raison d’être  

How does day-to-day brand marketing differ from, say, product management, or marketing communications? We could write a book on the subject, but here are some examples:

- Developing the annual brand plan as well as longer term (3 and 5 year) strategic plans

- Working with consumer data sources such as Nielsen, IRI and Kantar to monitor what’s going on in the market

- Brand health and KPI tracking, with regular reporting to key stakeholders

- Identifying market trends and opportunities for new or existing product development  

- Ad-hoc market research studies; writing research briefs, concept testing with consumers

- Conducting brand equity studies, segmentation and U&A studies

- Writing briefs for R&D teams to develop new products or to tweak existing ones

- Developing and sourcing new packaging or revamping existing formats

- Understanding the impact of recipe changes, packaging updates and supply chain issues

- Understanding and adhering to market regulation and governance

- Working with commercial functions to balance trade (supermarkets, wholesalers etc) demands for marketing support, promotions and exclusive products, whilst fighting to build and maintain brand equity

- Driving repeat purchase outside of promotional periods to ensure volume and value targets are met

- Justifying and driving through price increases, to both the supermarkets and the consumer

- Rigorous sales analysis and accurate forecasting in collaboration with sales and category teams

- P&L management that extends well beyond managing the marketing budget. Understanding revenue, cost of goods, gross contribution, profit and EBITDA

- Directing and managing the delivery of integrated marketing plans across OOH, digital, social media and in-store

Check your skills and experience against the following list and ask yourself if you have relevant examples that you can include in your CV and talk through with confidence in an interview situation.      

- NPD project management - writing technical briefs, working with technical teams and manufacturing, building the commercial plan for launch and executing this with trade marketing & category management colleagues

- P&L management experience. This means having owned the P&L either for the entire brand, or for a piece of NPD that you have had sole responsibility for, such as a recipe change or new flavour

- Some exposure to ad hoc market research

- Involvement in or responsibility for a brand proposition project

- Exposure to ATL communications

- Experience of the design process, including writing a design brief, working with a design agency or internal studio and presenting designs for signoff

- Management of consumer promotions & PR across on and off-linechannels


In summary, whilst it isn’t impossible to make the move into FMCG brand marketing, it can be challenging tomake sure you have, and can highlight the experience you need. You can ofcourse contact us and we will be able to give you unbiased advice and help present your skills in the best way to achieve your objectives. If we are unable to help you make the switch, we’ll be open honest and do our best to advise you to find the right career path.