Studying Marketing

I’m interested in studying marketing. What can you tell me?

Marketing is an essential part of business strategy. Business operations rely on marketing efforts to move products and services into the hands of their consumers. Marketers use advertising and promotional strategies to attract, serve and keep customers by building relationships with them. Accordingly, this field combines elements of related subjects like business, sales and public relations. Companies need marketing to make a profit, so students with marketing skills should have excellent job prospects after graduation. Students who succeed in marketing typically are self-confident, creative and able to quickly understand numbers and data. If you are interested in this field, you can study marketing at every degree level, from associates to doctoral. And if you just want to learn the fundamentals of marketing, you can earn both undergraduate and graduate certificates.

Let's hear some other perspectives

An Interview with Stacie Bias

Stacie Bias

Student, Bachelor of Arts in Marketing Management,Western Governors University

“Marketing makes sense to me, and it feels natural. Often when people are talking casually to each other, they are actually selling ideas or objects without even knowing it. Getting a marketing degree is just learning how to do what we do naturally even better.”Read the Full Interview

An Interview with Stefan Sleep

Stefan Sleep

Student, PhD in Marketing,University of Georgia

“Most people who study marketing are inclined to get an MBA, so they do not consider a PhD right away. But if you have a very analytical mind, a PhD might be a better option. If you can handle the intellectual rigor, the careers which can come from a PhD in marketing are very flexible and rewarding.”Read the Full Interview

An Interview with Sandy Becker

Sandy Becker

Professor of Marketing,Rutgers Business School

“One study tip that I strongly recommend is that students immerse themselves in an ongoing exchange of ideas about marketing.”Read the Full Interview

Marketing Professional Overview

What exactly is a marketing professional?

Marketing professionals have 2 major job duties. First, they advertise and deliver products and services to their company’s customers. Second, they build both long- and short-term relationships with those customers in order to keep them coming back to the same company. To accomplish these duties, marketing professionals create marketing strategies by identifying their business’s customers and finding ways to efficiently provide products or services to satisfy them better than their competitors can. They also provide customer service during and after the sales process so that customers will return rather than make purchases from competing businesses.

Let's hear some other perspectives

An Interview with Mitch Tarr

Mitch Tarr

Marketing Consultant,ZinMarketing.com

“If a student told me that he or she wanted to become a marketing consulting, I would tell him or her that marketing is a discipline and that the best way to learn this discipline is by doing it. If students want to understand marketing, then they need to do more than take marketing courses. They need to get firsthand experience.”Read the Full Interview

An Interview with George Torok

George Torok

Marketing Professional,George Torok Seminars

“Marketers spend most of their time working with people and trying to find reasons for their behavior. A great marketer can follow their curiosity to discover a marketing strategy, and then use that strategy and their natural people skills to succeed.”Read the Full Interview

An Interview with Anthony Matesi

Anthony Matesi

Marketing Communications Specialist,Handi-Foil

“People think that marketing is all about dollars, and that everyone is very “in-your-face” and pushy. But there are many things that can be done to improve products and create a better relationship with consumers, and I truly enjoy helping make products and people’s experiences better.”Read the Full Interview

Making the Right Choice

Is there anything else I should consider in deciding if marketing is the right choice for me?

Many people think marketing and the related field of advertising are the same thing, but these are different fields. Therefore, it is important to understand how marketing relates to advertising before you commit to this program.

Marketing vs. Advertising

Marketing is the entire system of business activities that are intended to attract customers and sell products, while advertising is simply a piece of that system. Specifically, advertising is a public and impersonal means of drawing attention to a product or service. Common advertising spaces are newspapers, billboards and television and radio ads. Even though marketing encompasses advertising, it also includes customer service, public relations and market research, which determines whether markets can support certain products.

Marketing Professions

What marketing professions can I choose from?

Some of the major marketing professions that you can choose from include:

Education Required:

High school diploma

Average Salary:

$45,250

Work Environment:

Advertising agencies, media corporations

Job Description:

Advertising sales agents sell ad space on different platforms, including the radio, television, Internet and print publications, to businesses and individual clients. They meet with potential clients to persuade them of the benefits of advertising. Some advertising sales agents also draft contracts, oversee their client’s accounts and develop sales tools.

Education Required:

Bachelors (4 years)

Average Salary:

$43,000

Work Environment:

Corporate businesses, advertising agencies

Job Description:

Advertising copywriters compose web- and print-based marketing copy that is designed to promote sales, products and services. Many advertising copywriters also help to market their copy. In addition, they frequently meet with their clients to consult with them about innovative slogan ideas and creative advertising themes.

Education Required:

Bachelors (4 years)

Average Salary:

$57,550

Work Environment:

Corporate businesses, advertising agencies, government agencies

Job Description:

Public relations specialists are responsible for creating and upholding a positive image of their employer. In order to create a favorable public image, they serve as the liaison between their employer and the media by writing press releases, responding to public queries or complaints and creating fundraising plans.

Education Required:

Bachelors (4 years) or masters (2 to 3 years of graduate school)

Average Salary:

$60,570

Work Environment:

Corporate businesses, government agencies, financial institutions

Job Description:

Market research analysts conduct research into the buying and selling markets in specific regions. They investigate the potential value of new products in order to help companies understand what products consumers want, what groups of people are most likely to buy these products and how much these groups will pay for them.

Education Required:

Bachelors (4 years) or masters (2 to 3 years of graduate school)

Average Salary:

$108,260

Work Environment:

Corporate businesses, advertising agencies

Job Description:

Marketing managers use the principles of sales, advertising and promotion to create marketing plans and strategies to help sell products and services. They work with corporate executives to negotiate advertising contracts and develop product pricing plans. In addition, they are responsible for hiring decisions and overseeing the work of their employees.

Job Outlook

What is the job outlook for marketing professionals?

The job outlook for marketing professionals is expected to be strong. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, market research analysts can look forward to a job growth of 41%, which is much higher than the national average for all occupations. In 2010, the United States employed approximately 282,700 market research analysts, but that number is expected to jump to nearly 400,000 by 2020. Job prospects will be best for people who have a masters degree and a strong background in statistics and data analysis.
Profession Employment Projected Average Growth

Average Salary Growth 2006 - 2011

Profession 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

Salary By Percentile

Profession 10th 25th 50th 75th 90th

Education Requirements

How long would it take me to become a marketing professional?

You should expect to spend several years in college before you are qualified to be a marketing professional. Nearly all marketing jobs require a bachelors degree, which typically takes students about 4 years to complete. And if you want to stand out among the competition, you should plan to earn a masters degree, which will take another 2 to 3 years of graduate school.

Areas of Study

What can I expect to learn while pursuing marketing?

You will gain both knowledge and skills as you pursue your marketing program.

KNOWLEDGE

Marketing Principles

The principles of marketing cover key topics of marketing, including what is called the “marketing mix,” which is a set of tactics that marketers use in their strategy. These tactics are price, place, product and promotion. In addition, marketing principles cover consumer behavior, e-commerce, product development and customer relationships.

Economics

Marketing courses address both macroeconomic and microeconomic theories. Economics concerns the production, distribution and consumption of goods. Some key concepts that economics courses will discuss include broad topics like supply and demand, inflation and growth. In addition, it covers fair markets, labor supply and competition.

Business Finance

Business finance refers to corporate money management in both domestic and international companies. It discusses topics like financial planning, investments and securities, business valuation and long-term budgeting. Business finance students can also expect to learn about risk analysis, foreign income taxation and finance issues that affect international businesses.

Business Law and Ethics

Business laws are the legal regulations that govern corporate transactions. Courses in this subject cover workplace issues like contract negotiation, tort laws, labor laws and employee rights. In addition, business ethics addresses the role of moral decisions in the business world. Students will investigate the ethical obligations of businesses like fairness and loyalty to employees.

Applied Statistics

Applied statistics describes data analysis and interpretation. Marketing students learn to gather, organize and analyze information by using mathematical concepts like probability and random variables. It also discusses how to use computer software and statistical tools to present mathematical information clearly to clients and other marketing professionals.

SKILLS

Sales Techniques

In your marketing classes, you will learn many advertising sales techniques that are designed to promote products. You will understand what consumers want and persuade them that you can meet those expectations. For instance, you will learn how to plan advertising campaigns to make products and services seem desirable, scarce, elite or cutting-edge.

Research Methods

During your marketing program, you will be trained to conduct research about specific products to see whether different markets can support them. Your marketing classes will teach you about primary and secondary market research practices such as how to collect, analyze and interpret data. You will also learn to create questionnaires for web, telephone and personal surveys.

Management

Marketing is an important component of business, so your curriculum will teach you business management skills. For instance, you will learn good hiring practices and ways to organize your team of employees effectively. You will also learn how to manage projects, negotiate employee contracts and create realistic budgets.

Customer Service

Customer service will play an important role in your success as a marketing professional because it will keep consumers and clients returning. Your marking program will teach you to be reliable and approachable. You will also learn to listen to your customer’s problems and to efficiently deal with them in an appropriate and courteous manner.

Web Writing

Solid web writing skills are crucial for marketers since the Internet emphasizes the value of text. In your marketing courses, you will learn how to write marketing content that search engines recognize and reward. You will also learn to write blogs and infographic scripts that interest readers and promote your company and its products.

Academic Degrees

What academic levels are available in the field of marketing?

You can study marketing at every academic level. In addition to associates, bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees, you can also choose to earn both undergraduate and graduate certificates.

Select the degree level you are interested in:

  • Certificate
  • Associate’s
  • Bachelor’s
  • Master’s
  • Doctorate

Certificate

If you want to learn about the basic principles of marketing without investing in an entire degree, you might want to consider earning a certificate.

What are the different types of certificates that I can earn in marketing?

Undergraduate Certificate
An undergraduate certificate in marketing teaches the basic principles of the field. The undergraduate certificate is the best option if you want an introduction to marketing for personal reasons or to supplement a business curriculum.

Graduate Certificate
A graduate certificate in marketing has graduate classes that teach advanced marketing principles. The graduate certificate is preferable if you want to increase your education to get a promotion or to build your resume.

How long will I have to study to earn my certificate in marketing?

Undergraduate Certificates

Undergraduate certificates in marketing usually require students to complete 12 to 18 credit hours. Most students are able to earn their undergraduate certificates in 6 months to a year.

Graduate Certificates

Graduate certificates in marketing usually require students to complete 15 to 18 credit hours. Most students complete graduate certificates in about a year.

What types of courses will I take while studying for my certificate in marketing?

Undergraduate Certificates

The exact courses that you take while studying for your undergraduate certificate in marketing will vary according to your program. However, you are likely to take classes in advertising, branding, marketing strategy and sales techniques.

Graduate Certificates

Like the undergraduate certificate, your classes will vary depending on the program that you decide to attend for your graduate certificate in marketing. However, you will likely take courses in consumer behavior, marketing management, promotions and market research.

What types of jobs can I hope to secure with a certificate in marketing?

Undergraduate Certificates

An undergraduate certificate in marketing will not prepare you for many jobs. You may be able to work as an advertising sales agent, but the main function of this certificate is to introduce you to the field so you can decide if you want to pursue further study.

Graduate Certificates

A graduate certificate in marketing will not prepare you for much on its own. But if you choose to supplement a related business degree with this certificate, you may be eligible for entry-level marketing jobs or business management jobs.

What are the requirements for admission to a graduate certificate program in marketing?

In most cases, you need to have a bachelors degree in any subject to be admitted into a graduate certificate program in marketing. However, a few schools admit students into graduate certificate programs without a degree if they have 10 or more years of related work experience.

What about getting an online certificate in marketing?

A lot of reputable schools offer online marketing certificates. Certificates are intended to introduce you to the field, but you will not become an expert through online marketing programs. Therefore, there are no significant reasons not to pursue your marketing certificate online. However, it is a good idea to compare the classes that are offered in the online marketing certificates that you are considering with the curriculum of traditional programs to make sure that you are gaining a quality education.

Associates Degree

Many schools have associates degree programs in marketing, which will introduce you to the basic principles of the field. However, it will not prepare you for many jobs. The primary reason to earn an associates degree in marketing is so that you can transfer your credits into a bachelors degree program.

What are the different types of associates degrees that I can earn marketing?

Associate of Arts AA

An AA in marketing has more classes in the humanities in addition to basic business courses. The AA degree is the best choice if you want to transfer your credits into a bachelors degree program.

Associate of Science AS

An AS in marketing has many science and math classes, so you will have a technical background. The AS is also a good choice if you want to transfer your credits into a bachelors degree program.

Associate of Applied Science AAS

An AAS in marketing has technical courses that are meant to prepare students for a career. The AAS is the best option if you want to enter the workforce as soon as you graduate.

How long will I have to study to earn my associates degree in marketing?

Associates degrees in marketing typically require students to complete 60 to 65 credit hours. Most students are able to complete their associates degrees in about 2 years.

What types of courses will I take while studying for my associates degree in marketing?

If you choose to earn an associates degree in marketing, you will take introductory marketing and business classes. Some of the classes that you will take include sales techniques, advertising principles and finance accounting. You will also take classes in business law, ethics and business communication.

What types of jobs can I hope to secure with an associates degree in marketing?

An associates degree in marketing will not prepare you for many jobs in the marketing field. The best reason to get a marketing degree at the associates level is so that you can transfer your credits to a bachelors program. However, you may be able to work as an advertising sales agent who sells ad space to businesses and individuals.

What about getting an online associates degree in marketing?

Several schools offer online marketing associates degrees. Earning your marketing associates degree online may be a good option for you. There are few drawbacks to attending online marketing programs at this level of education, because you will not have a chance to practice your skills in a hands-on environment. Instead, you will mostly be learning business and marketing theory. Therefore, you can earn your marketing associates degree online if you intend to transfer into a bachelors degree program later.

Bachelors Degree

A bachelors degree is the most common degree level that marketing students pursue because it qualifies you for all entry-level marketing jobs. This degree teaches a business curriculum with a focus on developing marketing techniques and sales skills.

What are the different types of bachelors degrees that I can earn in marketing?

Bachelor of Arts BA

A BA in marketing has many humanities and liberal arts classes to give you a broad educational background. The BA degree is a good choice if you want to go on to graduate school and earn an MBA.

Bachelor of Science BS

A BS in marketing has more science, math and computer classes to give you a technical background. The BS is best if you want to perform market research analysis or find a job directly after you graduate.

Bachelor of Business Administration BBA

A BBA in marketing has a core business curriculum that teaches management concepts along with marketing. The BBA is the best option if you want to be a marketing manager.

How long will I have to study to earn my bachelors degree in marketing?

Bachelors degrees in marketing typically require students to complete 120 to 130 credit hours. Most students complete their bachelors degrees in 4 years.

What types of courses will I take while studying for my bachelors degree in marketing?

If you decide to earn a bachelors degree in marketing, you will take a core business curriculum that you supplement with specific marketing classes. Some of the business classes that you will take include economics, finance, business communications and public relations. Some of the marketing courses that you will take are consumer behavior, marketing research and international marketing. You may also take advanced classes in specific types of marketing, like sports marketing and Internet marketing.

What types of jobs can I hope to secure with a bachelors degree in marketing?

A bachelors degree in marketing will prepare you for many entry-level marketing jobs. For instance, you could work as an advertising sales agent, a copywriter or a public relations specialist. After you gain 3 to 5 years of work experience, you may be qualified to work as a market research analyst or marketing manager.

What should I consider when deciding on a school to earn my bachelors degree in marketing?

When you are looking for a good marketing program, you should look for colleges and universities whose business schools are accredited by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Although accreditation is not mandatory, you can be assured that you will earn a high-quality marketing education if you attend an accredited program. In addition, you should look for schools that offer internships so that you can gain some work experience. Internships will boost your resume and allow you to apply your skills in a work environment.

What about getting an online bachelors degree in marketing?

Many schools offer online marketing bachelors degrees. However, you should be cautious when it comes to choosing online marketing schools. Like offline degrees, you should look for online marketing bachelors programs that are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Accredited online marketing programs will offer you a good education that employers will respect. In addition, it is especially important that your online marketing degree offers you an internship because you will need the chance to practice your skills in a hands-on setting.

Masters Degree

Many schools offer graduate marketing degrees at the masters level. Although you do not need a masters degree to get started in a marketing career, it will give you an edge over your competition in the job market and can qualify you for higher paying jobs that entail more responsibility.

What are the different types of masters degrees that I can earn in marketing?

Master of Arts MA

An MA in marketing focuses on understanding consumer behavior to create strategic marketing plans. The MA is the best option if you want to continue your education and earn a doctorate.

Master of Science MS

An MS in marketing emphasizes research methods and statistical analysis. The MS is the best choice if you want to work as a market research analyst or start your marketing career after graduation.

Master of Business Administration MBA

An MBA offers a broad business curriculum where you can specialize in marketing. The MBA is the best option if you want to work in marketing management.

How long will I have to study to earn my masters degree in marketing?

Masters degrees in marketing typically require students to complete 30 to 45 credits. That means students can expect to study for 1 to 3 years to earn this degree.

What types of courses will I take while studying for my masters degree in marketing?

The exact courses that you take for your masters degree in marketing will vary somewhat according to the type of degree that you choose to earn. No matter what, you will take courses in marketing research and marketing management. If you get an MA, you will also take classes like consumer behavior, promotions and e-commerce marketing. On the other hand, an MS curriculum is likely to have classes in statistical analysis, financial analysis and business law. Finally, an MBA will have many business classes like financial accounting, organizational management and information systems.

What types of jobs can I hope to secure with a masters degree in marketing?

A masters degree in marketing prepares you for any job in the marketing field. A handful of the jobs that you will be qualified for include market research analyst, marketing manager and public relations specialist.

What should I consider when deciding on a school to earn my masters degree in marketing?

At the masters level, you should primarily consider whether or not your program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Employers see accreditation by the AACSB as the gold standard for business programs, and by extension, marketing programs. While you can earn a good education from a non-accredited program, you can be sure that you will gain a top education from marketing programs that are accredited.

What are the requirements for admission to a masters degree program in marketing?

To apply to a masters degree program in marketing, you need to have a bachelors degree. Your degree does not have to be in marketing, but it is helpful if you have experience with or a degree in a field related to business.

What about getting an online masters degree in marketing?

Online marketing masters degrees are very common. If you choose to pursue your marketing masters degree online, you should make sure that it is accredited by the Association for Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). That way you will know that your online marketing masters degree will provide you with a good education and potential employers will look favorably on your degree. As of 2012, several dozen online marketing programs were accredited by the AACSB at the masters level. If you attend an accredited program, there are no significant drawbacks to online school.

Doctorate

Doctoral degrees are the most prestigious degrees that you can earn in marketing. They are not very common, because a masters degree is the highest professional degree in the field. But if you want to teach marketing at the university level and conduct academic research, you will need a doctorate.

What are the different types of doctorates that I can earn in marketing?

Doctor of Philosophy PhD

A PhD in marketing has advanced business and marketing classes that focus on theoretical research. The PhD is the best option if you want to pursue an academic research career at a college or university.

Doctor of Business Administration DBA

A DBA in marketing technically has more applied research, but this degree is very similar to the PhD. The DBA is also a good option if you want to teach and conduct research at a university.

How long will I have to study to earn my doctorate in marketing?

Most doctoral programs in marketing require students to complete 60 to 72 credit hours. Students are generally expected to complete their doctoral degrees in 5 to 7 years.

What types of courses will I take while studying for my doctorate in marketing?

If you choose to pursue a doctorate in marketing, most of your curriculum will be determined by the particular research that you choose to pursue. However, you will be required to take a selection of advanced courses like consumer behavior, research methods and product planning.

What types of jobs can I hope to secure with a doctorate in marketing?

A doctorate in marketing is intended to prepare you for an academic teaching and research career at a college or university. If you want a professional marketing job, you should not earn a doctorate.

What should I consider when deciding on a school to earn my doctorate in marketing?

When you are looking for a school to attend for your doctorate in marketing, you should look into the research interests of the faculty at the schools that you are considering. The kind of research that your school’s faculty produces is a good indication of the work that you will be expected to produce as a student in that program as well as the quality of the program itself.

What are the requirements for admission to a doctorate program in marketing?

You need to have a bachelors degree to apply to a doctorate program. Your degree does not have to be in marketing, but your chances of admission will be improved if you have a strong business and research background.

What about getting an online doctorate in marketing?

A limited number of schools offer an online marketing PhD, but you should not attempt to earn your marketing doctorate online. In general, doctorates require you to conduct intensive research. You will need to form a strong relationship with your professors and advisor in order to perform this research, and that will be nearly impossible to do through an online marketing program. Keep in mind that you may be able to take some classes online through distance learning programs, but you should not complete the majority of your marketing doctorate online.

Licensing Information

What else should I keep in mind when considering studying marketing?

After you earn your degree, you can earn professional certification in marketing.

Professional Marketing Certifications

You can earn professional marketing certifications through the American Certification Institute (ACI). These certifications may enhance your resume since they demonstrate your knowledge of marketing fundamentals. However, you should keep in mind that these certifications are not mandatory and you can find a marketing job without them. If you decide to pursue these certifications, you will need to pass an exam and pay a fee. The 3 successive levels of ACI marketing certifications are:

• Certified Marketing Professional
• Certified Marketing Manager
• Certified Marketing Executive

Questions & Answers

Select a category to find answers to your questions

Resources

What are some other resources that can help me learn more about pursuing a degree or certificate in marketing?

American Certification Institute

BPA Worldwide

Business Civic Leadership Center

Business Marketing Association

BtoB – The Magazine for Marketing Strategists

Chief Marketing Officer Council

eMetrics – Marketing Optimization Summit

Institute for the Study of Business Marketing

The Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice

Marketing Power – American Marketing Association

Smeal College of Business Webinars