How To Become a Marketing Coordinator
Laura Lyons of ATO Records says, “the only thing that I can count on being the same every day as a Marketing Coordinator is dealing with a whole lot of emails and spreadsheets. As the “Coordinator” part of my somewhat vague job title suggests, there’s a lot of liaising between different parties involved in our artists’ careers.
“My general duties as a Marketing Coordinator can be broken down into a few categories: tour marketing (ticket holds, guest lists, finding promotional opportunities for our artists in the markets they hit on tour); digital marketing (creating assets for our social media and website, tracking and analyzing data); indie-retail marketing (setting up promotions, educating stores on new releases).”
She adds, “I imagine this is slightly different at every label, especially at a major label. I work at a large indie.”
Hours vary at different record labels, although most Marketing Coordinators will have regular daytime office hours. Some nights and weekends are also part of the deal when the label holds artist events. Lyons says, “I have what’s close to a 9-5, although our hours are a bit more forgiving. . . On top of that, we’re expected to support our bands at all their shows in town.”
The hierarchy of marketing department roles will vary depending on the size of each record label, but generally speaking, the path to becoming a Marketing Coordinator would stem from experience as a Music Intern, Marketing Assistant or Music Marketing Representative. From Marketing Coordinator, an individual could advance to a role as Marketing Manager or Director of Marketing.
To get a job as a Marketing Coordinator, Lyons says, “the best thing you can do is get meaningful internships in the music industry under your belt and be actively involved in your local music scene.” Record labels usually post Marketing Coordinator openings online, but of course, a referral from someone at the label or someone in the music industry who is affiliated with the label will make it much easier to get an interview.
To get on the path towards becoming a Marketing Coordinator, Lyons suggests aspiring record label employees:
- “Get an internship.
- Get involved in your local scene on the marketing side of things, if possible (street teams, working at a venue, etc).”
Experience & Skills
Industry experience is necessary for aspiring Marketing Coordinators. Lyons says, “I think the most important thing is to do office-based internships at other music companies, preferably in the marketing department. I landed my job after completing an internship with an affiliated company; they referred me when there was an opening at my label.”
She adds, “In college, I spent most of my free time putting on shows, festivals, and events via clubs and part-time jobs so that probably showed I knew what I was getting into.”
The type of person who would make a successful Marketing Coordinator is someone who can “be ready to learn on the go, make mistakes, and learn from them,” Lyons says.
“Over a year into my job, I still learn new things all the time. Since you’re dealing with so many people, it’s important to always have a friendly, positive attitude. Organization is also very, very important–dealing with so many email chains, guest lists, and multiple bands will be overwhelming if you can’t keep it all organized. You’ll also stand out if you’re proactive and find opportunities for artists rather than waiting for people to tell you what to do.”
Education & Training
Most Marketing Coordinators have at least an undergraduate degree, which not only gives them the requisite business-related knowledge but also access to internships that can boost their likelihood of getting hired after college.
Lyons says, “Honestly, I don’t think it matters what you major in. I didn’t graduate from a music industry program and haven’t found that I’m any less prepared for my job than my peers who did. That being said, internships, strong extracurriculars, and involvement in your local music scene are key.
“The music industry is small, and having people that can vouch for your passion and work ethic is what’s ultimately going to get you a job, especially at the entry-level.”
“There’s a Facebook group called the Music Industry Career Networking Group that’s a great resource,” Lyons says. “You have to apply to be added into the group, so it’s only for people who have had experience in the industry (internships, jobs, musicians).”
There are no unions or professional organizations specifically for record label marketing department employees.
What is the single biggest suggestion you would give to someone wanting to get into this career?
What’s the #1 mistake people make when trying to get into this career?
“In my opinion, taking a self-serving approach to networking can come across as disingenuous. The word ‘networking’ kind of grosses me out, but it’s important to do.
“Remember that you’re not meeting people so they will do things for you, you’re meeting people so you can learn from them and bond with them about a shared love of music. I don’t consider myself very good at networking, but I’ve made some awesome new friends who happen to have the same passions and goals as I do, and that’s worked out pretty well for me in the professional world as well.”
What is the question people should ask about this career but rarely do?
“People don’t ask about salary because I suppose that’s one of those things you don’t ask, and I guess they shouldn’t, but since this is a job resource I’ll say that I’m living comfortably but not glamorously. Generally, that’s the case for entry-level music industry jobs across the board.”
What is one thing I should have asked which I didn’t?
“You really covered it all.”
If you could describe in one word what makes you successful, what would it be?
Extra Credit: The Beatles or Rolling Stones?
Laura Lyons is the Marketing Coordinator at ATO Records, home of My Morning Jacket, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Alabama Shakes, Old Crow Medicine Show, Gogol Bordello and Trey Anastasio. Her work on King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s Nonagon Infinity album garnered Lyons and her colleagues a nomination for the Marketing Genius Award at the American Association of Independent Music’s Libby Awards. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia’s Arts Administration program.