Are you an influencer?
Do you love to discover and research new products? Can you convince people to do things? If this sounds like you, a marketing degree might be the right fit.
If you have good people skills, a generous helping of creativity and imagination, sharp analytic abilities, and fluency in social media technology, there is a spot in marketing for you. Even if you don’t know what it is yet.
Marketing is a good major for undergraduates because it is a broad and varied field of study with a multitude of different career tracks. Students who are not quite sure what they want to do have an excellent chance of finding out after exploring marketing a bit.
Those who get bored easily will love the fast-pace and ever-changing nature of the marketing profession. And who doesn’t like big money? Read on to learn more about this exciting higher education option.
What is Marketing?
The American Marketing Association defines marketing as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”
From the viewpoint of consumers in the target audience, marketing is essentially synonymous with advertising and related activities. Communication, pricing, promotion, and distribution strategies are the primary aspects of marketing we see every day.
In reality, marketing is the complete multi-stage process of offering a product on the market, with the usual objective being the establishment of a continuous volume of sales flow for the purpose of generating profit. The marketing process includes:
- Conducting broad market research;
- Segmenting and targeting the market;
- Developing strategies for distribution, pricing and promotion;
- Developing a communications strategy;
- Budgeting; and
- Establishing long-term market development goals.
Marketing as an academic subject involves learning how products are moved from concept to the consumer. Students learn about components and aspects of the marketing process and how to implement a marketing program. The study of marketing is interdisciplinary and draws on such diverse fields as anthropology, economics, mathematics, neuroscience, psychology, and sociology.
Marketing degree holders often work in sales and public relations. The field also generates a variety of roles centered on research and analysis. Most marketers work in the business sector, although jobs with the government and non-profit organizations are common. Marketing is a fast-paced, demanding field, competitive but extremely rewarding for talented individuals.
What are the qualities and skills a marketing student needs?
The marketing process is comprised of many individual components, most of which demand a diversity of skillsets and bring together a wide variety of occupational specialties. In the same way, the interdisciplinary nature of marketing as an academic subject calls for students to possess a range of qualities and skills.
Excellent communication and interpersonal skills are a foundational requirement. Public relations is a primary aspect of marketing, and many roles in the field are client- or customer-facing. Success in a marketing major calls for a student to be good at collaborative work and an exceptional communicator.
Analytic and numeracy skills are essential for work in the research and analysis side of marketing. Students need to be familiar with handling data and comfortable working with charts and graphs.
Project management skills are useful because every marketing campaign takes the form of a new project. The component stages of the marketing program need to be broken into tasks, with a realistic completion schedule and budget established. Human resources in the program then need to be managed and coordinated to assure that program targets are met.
Technical skills are highly valued because so much modern marketing work is facilitated by digital technology. Software is used to work with data, and social media and other modes of online communication and outreach have become dominant marketing channels in the past two decades.
Creativity and imagination are always useful in marketing work. Branding and promotion are on-going endeavours to create mass appeal by constantly presenting products and services as fresh and attractive.
Influencer abilities are used to inspire others to think in new ways and adopt new perspectives. Marketers are in the business of persuading people.
The ideal marketing student combines technical and soft skills with the ability to sell, adaptability, and an open mind that makes innovation come easy. Marketers are also the type of people who keep learning at every stage of their lives and careers.
What is the best preparation for studying marketing?
High school students considering a marketing undergraduate degree should work to become proficient generalists. Build a strong academic background, with some extra focus on reading and math. Take any marketing, business, or economics classes available.
After-school and summer work, especially in the retail sector, is very helpful. You may even get to take part in real marketing activities. Starting your own small business doing things such as walking dogs, cutting grass, or babysitting is even better.
The B.A. or B.S. in marketing is ideal preparation for graduate school. Any business study is useful. Math skills should be advanced. Spending a few years in the working world is great, and some graduate programs are willing to offer credit for relevant work experience. Know what marketing study really entails, have visible career objectives, and a clear, valid reason for going to graduate school.
What coursework is required for a marketing degree?
There are a number of degree options in the marketing field. The standard set of undergraduate degrees are available – the 2-year associate degree and 4-year Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees. Graduate students can earn a Master of Arts or Master of Science. Either degree will take about 2 years of full-time study. Getting a PhD in marketing is also a possibility.
Marketing is a very broad field. Specialization even at the bachelor’s degree level is the norm, and graduate students choose from a wide range of study tracks. The dynamic technology- and trend-driven nature of the field results in the near-constant appearance of new areas of study. Example specialty fields that are encountered at both undergraduate and graduate levels include:
- Digital Marketing
- Public Relations
- Marketing Research and Analytics
- Marketing Management
- Social Media Marketing
Marketing programs fall under the business umbrella, and most marketing undergraduate degree programs draw from the core business administration curriculum. Marketing students learn how to research and analyse buyer behavior and market conditions. They explore strategies for market segmentation, product development, pricing, and distribution. A course of undergraduate studies usually covers some or all of these topics:
- Advertising Management
- Brand Management
- Business Communication
- Buyer Behavior
- Digital Marketing
- Basic Operations Management
- Information Systems
- Marketing Analytics
- Organizational Behavior and Management
- Public Relations
- Principles of Marketing
- Microeconomic Analysis for Business Decisions
A master’s degree in marketing leads to those high-paying marketing manager slots. Many people who decide to take a marketing graduate degree already have a few years of work experience and know what they need to take their career to the next level. For those not aiming at academic or research positions, the master’s is usually the terminal degree. Specialization and choice of the M.A. or M.S. degree will determine graduate curricula in marketing, but course offerings like the following are standard:
- Brand Management
- Consumer Insights for Marketing Decision Making
- Global Marketing
- Internet Marketing
- Marketing Channels
- Marketing Communications: Advertising and Social Media
- New Product Development
- Quantitative Analysis for Marketing Decision Making
- Retail Strategy
- Technology Commercialization
Marketing graduate degree programs offer many interesting specialization and elective courses. Internships and special project-based and experiential study programs are also common.
What are the benefits of a marketing degree?
A marketing degree positions you to enter a fast-growing, ever-changing field, one that offers excitement and an outlet for creativity on top of being quite rewarding from a financial standpoint. The course topics are interesting and opportunities to study for the degree, whether at the graduate or undergraduate level, are very accessible due to the expanding number of online marketing degree programs being offered.
The unique aspect of marketing is that the field is changing so rapidly in response to developments in digital technology that brand new occupational niches are being created almost monthly. Positions like Content Marketing Manager, Online Product Manager, Search Engine Marketer, and Social Media Manager did not even exist just a few short years ago.
Another benefit of a marketing degree is that it is a business-related degree that taps you into a deep pool of demand from an occupational standpoint. As long as free enterprise and capitalism are flourishing, competition will force businesses to market their products. Keeping up with the field and remaining always ready to learn more all but ensure a stable, lucrative employment picture into the future.
H3>What can you do with a marketing degree?
There is so much variety in marketing careers that is can be difficult to identify which branch of marketing fits your skillset and career goals. Where ever your interest lies, the marketing field is likely to offer something. Take a look at a few of the positions marketing degree holders typically fill:
Jobs for Marketing Majors
- Admissions Representative
- Brand Manager
- Marketing Assistant
- Market Research Analyst
- Media Buyer
- Promotions Manager
- Public Relations Manager
- Social Media Manager
The many different occupational specialties available to the marketing degree holder translate to variation in the opportunities available in the field. Numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate average to slightly above average growth for most marketing occupations through 2026. Market research analyst is one of the best occupational specialties in marketing, with the number of positions expected to grow by 23%.
Marketing management is also a promising career path, with projections for 10% growth. Jobs for advertising managers should increase by 9%. The shift toward electronic media is having a profound effect on some marketing specialties. For example print media advertising positions are declining, while new media jobs such as search engine marketer are so fresh that there are no employment figures for them. Success in the competition for marketing career slots will go to those quickest to incorporate new skillsets.
Salaries for Marketing Majors
Marketing is a well-paid profession, particularly at management levels. For fresh bachelor’s degree graduates, mean entry level compensation is $45,996. In comparison, a marketing manager brings in $63,406 per year on average. Managers in advertising and promotions do very well, pulling a median salary of $129,380 with typical entry-level qualification being a bachelor’s degree. For marketing students with the talent and ambition to reach the very top, recent median starting salary numbers for corporate chief marketing offers stood at $164,000.
Is a marketing degree right for you?
A marketing degree opens the door to such a variety of career choices that it is difficult to think who would not be a fit for the major. Extroverted sales people, math lovers, tech wizards, artists and writers, corporate ladder-climbers – this major offers potential for nearly everyone.
Marketing is also a major that is fun to study. Case studies and projects focus on real-world scenarios and developments currently in the news. There are chances to take part in research projects that can turn up some interesting findings, and you might be able to get published. Definitely take a closer look at marketing as you make your higher education plans.