Delving Into the Marketing Major
For any company that has a product to sell, employees with a strong marketing background are a must and no business could survive without them. Marketing involves being able to prepare a targeted marketing strategy, communicating that strategy clearly to potential clients to advertise a product or service, believing in what you are trying to sell and following through with the strategy. All the while, marketers need to be able to analyze their strategies and determine if goals are attainable.
In business, marketing is at the heart of growth and strong marketing strategies will allow any company to realize its potential. If you enjoy working with a team, developing long term goals and working to deal with complex problems, a major in marketing may be perfect for you. The marketing major focuses heavily on advertising and communication, working to develop students’ ability to create strategies for marketing particular products and to communicate those strategies to colleagues.
Marketing should train students to identify potential clients and come up with specific plans to reach those customers. Students need to develop their problem-solving skills and will be encouraged to think outside the proverbial box to deal with unique business challenges. Marketing majors will learn how to set their product apart and create long term plans which will accomplish that goal. Courses in consulting, statistics and product analysis will further students’ aptitude in these areas.
Those who decide to pursue an associate degree in marketing will be educated in basic business functions and marketing fundamentals. These types of programs generally take two years to complete and require students to earn around 60 credits through courses like principles of management, business and professional writing, principles of marketing, entrepreneurial marketing, advertising management, and principles of accounting.
As a foundational degree, an associate in marketing may be awarded at a two-year college or used to transfer to a four-year college or university to pursue a higher-level degree.
Those who earn a bachelor’s degree in marketing will receive a business education that focuses on aspects of marketing such as the target markets, customer relationship, buying behavior, and marketing strategies. Common courses include marketing management, consumer behavior, marketing strategy, advertising and promotion, marketing research, and professional selling and sales management.
These types of programs generally take about four years to complete and require students to earn around 120 credits. A bachelor’s degree in marketing can lead to a number of graduate programs such as a master’s degree in business administration. Post-graduate work will often concentrate on a specific area of business and will allow students to further their careers in an area of interest.
Those interested in a graduate education within this field can earn a master’s degree in marketing or an MBA with a concentration in marketing. A master’s degree program in marketing incorporates advance coursework in marketing research, consumer behavior, product development, and relationship management. These types of programs require students to complete at least 30 credit hours beyond the baccalaureate degree and can take up to three years to complete.
An MBA with a concentration in marketing consists of advanced courses in core business subjects with the option to take several elective courses that focus on marketing. Generally, MBA students are required to complete anywhere from 48 to 60 credit hours, which can take from one to three years to complete depending on program format.
Those interested in research or education can pursue a Ph.D. in marketing, which goes a step further than a master’s degree. It consists of advanced coursework and research studies concerning consumer behavior, marketing management, models of markets, and firm behavior.
Doctoral-level marketing programs are designed for those who wish to pursue an academic career or apply their knowledge in market research. These types of programs may also require students to conduct research, fulfill teaching requirements, or complete a dissertation. A Ph.D. can take from three to five years to complete and require students to complete a minimum of 84 credit hours of graduate coursework.
Supplementing Your Marketing Major
In today’s business world, marketing plays an essential role when it comes to profitability, as no company can be successful without generating consumer markets and maintaining customer satisfaction. This major integrates the creative disciples of advertising and sales with those of a more scientific nature, making it a rather broad area of academic study. Therefore, there are many related and complementary areas of study that are beneficial to marketing majors who desire to build their knowledge and customize their education.
First of all, there are many specializations within marketing for students who wish to develop an area of expertise within the field. Those who want to pursue a career within a particular niche of marketing may want to consider focusing on a concentration. Many colleges offer these types of specializations as a formal area of concentration, but others may only offer elective courses on them. Some common concentrations within marketing are business marketing, international marketing, marketing research, brand management, sales management, nonprofit and services marketing, advertising, and entrepreneurship.
Students also have the choice to further pave their career paths through choosing a minor. Common minors for marketing majors include social sciences, psychology, mathematics, economics, sociology, neuroscience, communications, or anthropology. Students may also choose a minor based on the type of organization or industry they desire to work within. Those who are interested in marketing retail should consider minoring in an area like consumer science, fashion merchandizing, or retail management. Students who want to work in a high paying industry like information technology services should minor in a subject like computer science, communication technologies, or information sciences.
Learn More About the Marketing Major
- U.S. News and World Report: Marketing Program Rankings
- MIT OpenCourseWare: Marketing Strategy
- FINS: Sales and Marketing Career News
The Marketing Major in the Job Market
Marketing degree holders will be able to move into any area of business and as a result will have many opportunities for employment after receiving their degree. Degree holders can move into marketing management positions, consulting and advertising positions and have the skills to get involved with human resources, management and sales. While entry-level positions often start at around $35,000, marketing managers earn an average salary of around $50,000 and marketing directors average about $80,000. With advanced degrees, marketing degree holders can improve their earning potential and earn much more.
Those with an undergraduate degree in marketing can pursue careers as marketing assistants, marketing representatives, and marketing specialists. These types of marketing professionals assist with an organization’s promotional activities concerning products and services. This can include duties related to planning promotional programs, monitoring target markets, developing marketing strategies, and ensuring customer satisfaction. According to PayScale, the annual salaries for marketing assistants range from $27,113 to $38,455, marketing representatives from $30,837 to $51,380, and marketing specialists from $35,080 to $52,015.
Those who decide to obtain a graduate-level education in marketing, earning a master’s or Ph.D., can pursue careers within higher-up management positions such as marketing managers and marketing directors. Professionals in these types of positions oversee marketing departments and are responsible for promoting products and services, identifying potential markets, and developing pricing strategies. They also work with other managers in promotions, sales, product development, and advertising to collaborate in the monitoring of market trends and development of new products and services.
The annual salary of marketing managers ranges from $44,285 to $75,582 while those of marketing directors ranges from $49,623 to $118,471, as reported by PayScale. In addition, those with advance degrees in marketing also qualify for positions as market research analysts, in which they would create methods to obtain data concerning consumer preferences through survey design. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary of these types of analysts was $61,070 in May 2008.