5 Types of Degrees for a Career in Marketing

"Marketing" is a much broader field than some people think. It's not all coming up with catchy slogans or designing new labels for products. The field of marketing is as diverse as the array of products and services available in the marketplace. One thing all marketing careers have in common, however — they almost certainly require a degree. But which degree should you choose to pursue if you want a career in marketing? That's the good news — you have a lot of options to choose from.

Bachelor of Science in Marketing

What can you do with a bachelor's in marketing? Students who achieve a bachelor's degree in marketing can fill a variety of roles in the field. Many become marketing or sales managers, or go on to be market research analysts. A bachelor's degree can also be a stepping stone to a more advanced degree like a Master's of Business Administration in Marketing. You can also choose to specialize within your field, such as focusing on digital marketing.

This can be a perfectly lucrative career option. Marketing managers come up with overall strategies for selling a product or service. This means analyzing potential markets, competition, and demand — making it a great choice for those with analytical minds. This is a "big picture" career and will likely involve supervising others. The median income among marketing and sales managers tends to be about $134,000 a year or more, though that much earning power might require a master's (see below)

Bachelor’s of Advertising

Much as with a bachelor's in marketing, an advertising degree focuses on how products get sold in the marketplace — although often with a less analytical, more psychological approach. Getting your bachelor's in marketing means not just learning about the elements and products, but also how consumers think when making a decision to purchase something. An advertising degree is also likely to offer art and design skills, as communicating ideas through sketches and storyboards is likely to be a core part of your career. There will still be focus on analytical and statistical skills, since you will need to know how to measure the success of your marketing campaigns.

Communications Degree

While you can pursue a wide variety of careers with a communications degree, there are some outstanding career options in marketing for those with a bachelor's (or more) in communications. For example:

  • A marketing coordinator's job is to help organize others to make a marketing campaign all it can be. You will likely be working with a director or vice president, helping each team reach their goals. This will involve monitoring marketing trends and social media, gathering information like sales and marketing trend reports, and working with vendors and team members.
  • Social media strategists are responsible for directing a company's marketing efforts through social media platforms. This is likely to include creating and managing content as well as forming strategies about which platforms will work best for getting a particular marketing message across.
  • A public relations specialist is marketing of an image or brand, rather than specific products. It involves helping companies communicate their ideas clearly to the public, either through press releases or verbal communications. A typical public relations specialist earns anywhere from $50,000 to $75,000 a year.

Business Analytics Degree

A degree in business analytics is ideal for those with a more high-tech mindset, since it deals with the junction between marketing and big data. A business analyst's job is to interpret data and apply data models to inform business decisions for their clients or employers.

While some business analysts go into finance instead, a business analytics degree is a great fit for a marketing career. It requires not only keen analytical abilities, but the ability to creatively strategize. You should enjoy the tasks of in-depth research and solving real-world challenges, as well as have a natural curiosity and a keen eye for detail. You must also develop the confidence to make "predictions" about the future based on the data you analyze.

The average salary for someone with a master's in business analytic is around $72,000 a year.

Master’s of Marketing Research

Should you decide to take your marketing education to the next level, a master's in marketing will give you the skills and knowledge you need to make your way into major management positions — so this is a degree to pursue if you want to manage and oversee employees and help craft them into an effective team.

Students with a master's in marketing tend to go on to become sales managers, marketing managers, or promotions managers. While similar in salary ($120,000 to $130,000 a year), they vary in terms of responsibilities and skill sets.

Promotions managers, for example, focus on increasing sales through things like contests, coupons, samples, gifts, and so on. It also might involve overseeing the design and creation of print advertising, displays, mailers, and more.

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