A marketing assistant is someone who provides clerical and project support for a marketing department or manager. A virtual marketing assistant does so via the telephone and Internet, and is not generally located in the same geographical location as the person she supports. Functions can include such tasks as processing correspondence, managing spreadsheets and databases, executing or tracking social media campaigns, and making travel arrangements. The assistant might be a direct employee of a company or a self-employed independent contractor.
The primary difference between a virtual marketing assistant and a traditional assistant is location. Virtual assistants frequently work from their homes and may assist managers or departments in other cities or even other countries. Those being assisted might be in a single location or spread out amongst several, and they may work from a corporate or home office as well.
In most cases, the work performed by a virtual marketing assistant is quite similar to the tasks a traditional assistant would manage. The specific nature of the work depends on the company and individuals involved. In some cases, work is primarily administrative and includes jobs such as coordinating correspondence and managing electronic files, meeting schedules and travel arrangements. A virtual marketing assistant might also be responsible for entering data into and running reports from databases, such as those used to track campaign metrics or budgets.
An advanced virtual marketing assistant might also be responsible for specific aspects of the marketing plan. This could include managing social media campaigns or blogs. It might also include trafficking print or online advertising insertions or writing basic copy. Other duties can include developing and maintaining standard language for contracts, proposals and bids.
When the right virtual marketing assistant comes together with the right company, the arrangement can be highly beneficial for both parties. The company may be able to access skilled talent that is unable or unwilling to commute to an office or to relocate to the company's primary location. The assistant can benefit from the convenience of working from home and will save on commuting costs as well as the costs of office attire. Many such arrangements also allow the employee to work a more flexible schedule. The downsides to a virtual marketing assistant arrangement include lack of control for the company and lack of social interaction for the employee.
While many such assistants work as direct employees for individual companies, others work for consulting firms. As such, they may take temporary assignments with different clients or might work part time for one or more customers. Others may choose to become self-employed as independent virtual marketing assistants. In this case, the individual will need to recruit clients and invoice for her services as well as perform daily duties.