Convincing somebody to spend money is often difficult, but it can be done.
That is what marketing professionals do every day. Their goal is to maximize demand for a product or service and figure out how to attract and retain business. Part of their mission is to understand what customers want and need to ensure that the company they represent offers something that customers are willing to pay for.
One advantage of a marketing degree is that it offers many career options.
“You can be anything, from a sales representative all the way up to a marketing manager,” says Kelsey Chan, a growth marketer and co-founder with the Singapore-based technology company CocoSign. “Some popular options are sales manager, media planner, and PR specialist.”
Another occupation available to someone with a marketing degree is a position as a market research analyst, whose job is to identify what customers are interested in buying and what price they are willing to pay. Analyst jobs for U.S. employers usually require a bachelor’s degree, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, which reports that the median U.S. salary in this profession as of May 2019 was $63,790.
Marketing professionals who excel in their careers can advance to management jobs with six-figure annual salaries. According to the BLS, the median salary among U.S. marketing managers was $136,850 in May 2019. Compensation is also generous in related occupations, with median salaries of $126,640 for sales managers, $125,510 among advertising and promotions managers, and $116,180 for public relations and fundraising managers.
Marketing Jobs and Careers
Because every industry requires marketing, there are many types of marketing jobs.
“A marketing degree is a universal degree because every business needs help generating awareness and revenue,” Tracie Hitz, the founder and president of Hitz & Branding, LLC – a Nashville-based personal and professional branding company – wrote in an email. “The core principles are the same whether you’re working in the healthcare industry or the music industry.”
Hitz, who earned a master’s degree in integrated marketing communications from Northwestern University in Illinois, defines marketing as “telling the story of your brand,” and says that she spent two decades of her career focusing on sports marketing.
Marketers can pivot from one industry to another, Hitz notes, so long as they have a track record of creating and implementing successful marketing plans. “If you can show that you moved a company forward through your marketing campaigns, it doesn’t really matter where you had that success.”
Here is a list of some positions where a marketing degree is a valuable credential:
- Advertising and promotions manager
- Content strategist
- Copywriter for an advertising or marketing agency
- Data scientist
- Director of digital marketing
- Market research analyst
- Marketing specialist
- Marketing manager
- Chief marketing officer
- Public relations manager
- Public relations specialist
- Sales manager
- Sales representative
- Search engine optimization specialist
- Social media manager
Josh Cole, chief marketing officer for Sky Zone Franchise Group – a multinational franchise for indoor trampoline facilities – says he doesn’t restrict himself to candidates with marketing degrees when he recruits for marketing jobs.
“I honestly have never specifically hired an employee because they had or did not have a degree in marketing,” Cole wrote in an email. “Marketing platforms and technologies, not to mention consumers and industries, are constantly changing.”
“I believe wholeheartedly the most important attributes for new hires are intangibles — intelligence, curiosity, drive, and adaptability,” he continued. “I would rather hire a liberal arts major with the right intangibles who has shown some genuine interest in marketing than a marketing major who isn’t as strong in the key intangibles.”
Valuable Skills in the Marketing Industry
Experts note that because marketing is rapidly transforming as a result of technological innovation, it is often desirable to pursue training on how to use specific marketing tools. Technical certifications are a plus on resumes.
Robb Hecht, an adjunct professor of marketing at CUNY—Baruch College in New York City, notes that coursework in artificial intelligence, automation and data science is especially helpful. He says that the key to excelling in the marketing profession is having insight into how consumers behave and why.
It also beneficial to possess knowledge of social media algorithms, e-commerce platforms and search engines, he says, adding that an understanding of the Salesforce customer management software is also ideal.
Michael X. Heiligenstein, director of content strategy at Flex – a bill-scheduling platform – suggests that prospective marketing students carefully examine the syllabus for any marketing course they are considering to ensure that they take classes that are current.
“The field changes so rapidly that textbooks aren’t able to keep up with it, and you’re going to need some web resources to stay up-to-date,” he says.
Keith Sant says he supplemented his bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Washington with inexpensive online education.
“I realized quickly that to earn a good wage I didn’t need more academic education,” Sant, a managing partner and marketing manager with Kind House Buyers – a real estate company based in Washington state – wrote in an email. “I needed to learn skills that would generate revenue for a company.”
Sant notes that specializing in a particular marketing technique such as search engine optimization can make someone more competitive for jobs, as can developing expertise on marketing strategies that work within a particular industry such as real estate.
Eleanor Bennett, a digital marketing specialist at Logit.io – a technology company in the U.K. – says how much a marketer earns typically has more to do with job experience than the type of degree attained.
Bennett, who earned a postgraduate diploma from The Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing in London, suggests that prospective marketing students look at marketing job advertisements before choosing a marketing degree program.
“The biggest single contributing factor to choosing one marketing degree over the other,” she wrote in an email, “is how many recruiters and hiring managers are citing these as relevant qualifications that they are looking for?”