Getting Into… Online Marketing


In this guest post Florence, a recent graduate and intern on the Wayfair marketing team, gives an overview of what online marketing entails, what the key roles are, and how students and graduates from any discipline can pursue a career in this area.

Wayfair is an online retailer of homeware. It’s currently the number one online home retailer in the USA and is rapidly expanding into Europe. All of Wayfair’s business happens online—there is no shop—which means that the digital image of the company and its online activity is paramount to its success. Here’s a little more about what working in online marketing is like.

What is online marketing?

Online marketing refers to how businesses market, promote and advertise themselves on the internet. From the content on their own website, to advertisements featured on Google and the emails that they send to their customers, online marketers use a mixture of analysis of consumer behaviour and creative content ideas to captivate customers and make their business successful.

What are the key roles in online marketing?


Acquisition aims to gain new customers through advertisement. By analysing consumer behaviour—investigating what consumers are looking for and spending their money on—the acquisition team work out which avenues to spend their budget on and set up advertisements on Google. This role involves a lot of data analysis and requires a good understanding of consumer psychology.


Retention tries to retain customers so that they keep on purchasing from a company. The retention team do this primarily through emails. They send out mass emails to millions of customers and tailor each email depending on the engagement level of the customer; those who regularly shop at Wayfair receive different emails to those who have only shopped once at Wayfair. This job involves a lot of analysis of customer data too but you also need to be a little creative with writing emails—good puns never go amiss!

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

SEO refers to a company’s visibility on search engines i.e. how high up on Google search they rank. To get your website higher up the Google rankings and gain organic traffic it needs to have rich and relevant content on it and other websites need to link to it, as this signals to Google that it’s a reliable and popular site. So those working in SEO need to be comfortable with writing content for the website using the keywords that customers themselves are using to search, and also be able to think of exciting and engaging content ideas that are shareable and linkable—going viral is the ultimate goal!

How can you get into online marketing?

I graduated in summer 2015 with a BA in German and Linguistics and stumbled into a position in online marketing without really knowing what it was or whether it would be right for me, especially as I had no commercial experience. When I started I realised that a lot of people in the team didn’t have a business degree—there’re are a lot of humanities graduates here—and they use their research, analytical and writing skills to come up with engaging new ideas to attract customers.
I think to get into something like online marketing which requires a wide range of skills, you first have to gain a thorough understanding of your own skills and those that you have developed whilst studying. I thought about everything I had done at university and what skills each thing had given me. I wrote many essays and gave presentations regularly that really helped me to develop my writing and communication skills. I also spent many hours in the library reading through books and journals which helped me to hone my research skills and analysed and evaluated endless studies and sets of data, thus improving my analytical skills. I think students are also great problem solvers—during essay and project writing you’re always hitting barriers that you overcome using your knowledge, resources and skills.
All of these experiences and skills apply to online marketing so if you have a think about what you’ve learnt from your degree you’ll find there’s a lot that is highly relevant to a professional role. I’ve found it’s been really rewarding to actually clearly see how you can use the skills you’ve picked up in university in a real-life working situation. Online marketing is a particularly fast-paced and creative environment so it’s really exciting to work in and I’m constantly learning new things and developing new skills. I would say enthusiasm for your work and for the business and a constant willingness to learn goes a long way for any graduate!
To find out more about Wayfair and check out their job opportunities, please visit

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Filed under Advice, Develop your employability, Getting into..., How I got my job, Networking, Work Experience

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