A good marketing team sees a product or service through ideation to the final sale and beyond. The sprawling process lets marketing experts innovate, collaborate with different departments, and analyze data, depending on their position and interests.
Marketing is a diverse field, and marketing degrees can work for creative minds and technical experts alike. But with so many jobs for marketing graduates, choosing a career path can be challenging.
Let’s dive into different education opportunities, career tracks, and salaries for marketing grads.
Is a marketing career worth it?
As technology shifts give consumers more buying power, marketing will be among the most in-demand jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the expected job growth for marketing managers between 2021 and 2031 is 10% — a faster-than-average rate. That means there should be about 33,700 new jobs in that timeframe.
There are plenty of high-paying marketing degree jobs to match that demand. The BLS reports that a marketing job’s salary varies based on the specific role, but on average, sales, advertising, and marketing managers earn a median annual salary of $133,380, with top earners making above $208,000. Market research analysts, on the other hand, make about $63,920 per year.
If you’re looking for high job growth rates and decent salaries, then a marketing career is worth it. The BLS-reported outlook indicates job security and stability, and there are dozens of varying positions available to suit your skills and background.
How to get a marketing job: Start with an undergraduate degree
Successful marketing professionals think of creative ideas, build innovative marketing campaigns, communicate with team members and stakeholders, and leverage data and technology to measure their success. These jobs require a slew of hard and soft skills to succeed, and a degree in marketing — or a similar major — can lay the foundation.
A marketing bachelor’s degree will teach you topics like finance, consumer behavior, and sales, and the approaches to learning will vary depending on the type of degree you pursue. Business-forward degrees might focus more on sales, and humanities degrees might teach more creative skills.
Here are the main differences between three types of bachelor’s degree programs that let you study marketing:
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BBA): A business degree with a concentration in marketing outlines the relationship between business and promotions.
It usually offers complementary courses in subjects like leadership, operations, and ethics. If you’re interested in becoming a manager, a BBA is a good choice because it provides you with the tools you need.
Bachelor of Arts in Marketing (BA): This type of degree approaches marketing through the humanities lens using critical thinking, communication, and holistic learning.
If your career goals lean towards public relations, media planning, or art direction, the diversity of a BA could be more in line with your career outlook.
Bachelor of Science in Marketing (BS): This type of degree teaches marketing through the lens of science, math, and technology using logic, reasoning, and quantitative skills.
If you’re interested in a career as a data scientist, market analyst, or e-commerce manager, a BS can give you the right credentials.
Any bachelor’s degree is a good place to start your career development journey. But it isn’t the only way. A shorter associate degree can provide you with the foundational tools and know-how to break into an entry-level marketing role or sales career path.
An associate degree typically takes two years to complete and can provide more flexibility. A four-year bachelor’s might not be practical for people with other responsibilities, like working parents or people looking for a career change later in life.
But the BLS reports that a bachelor’s degree pays an average of $371 more per week than an associate, so it’s worth it if you want to earn a higher salary.
7 hard and soft marketing skills
Marketing programs teach a unique combination of business, social sciences, and technical skills. They give you the tools to think strategically, create market relevancy for products and services, and measure the impact of your work for employers and clients.
Here are seven in-demand skills you’ll gain from a marketing degree:
Analytical skills like critical thinking, creative thinking, and problem-solving
Effective verbal and nonverbal communication skills
Technical literacy in quantitative and qualitative research methods
Business know-how that stretches across the lifecycle of a product or service, from branding to final sale
Product development skills like pricing, packaging, and operations
Understanding of different media platforms, like social media and print
Soft skills like leadership and teamwork
Benefits of marketing for organizations
Marketing teams work together to advertise and support a business and its products. They assist sales departments, collaborate with product developers and designers, and report outcomes so the process can improve.
Marketing brings short-term and long-term goals to life through these steps, which is why the demand for these professionals is so high — almost every business needs marketing to get off the ground and thrive.
Here are six ways marketing professionals help businesses succeed:
Build brand awareness and increase consumer engagement
Drive conversions and sales to increase profitability
Create initiatives that increase customer loyalty
Design brand or company style guides to keep communication consistent
Leverage targeted market and consumer research to uncover new opportunities
Craft advertising campaigns that drive sales upward
9 jobs for marketing majors
The marketing field has something for everyone. Creatives can apply their imaginative minds to design and advertising, while people who prefer technical work can find opportunities in data science and digital marketing strategies.
Here are nine jobs that are perfect for marketing graduates:
1. Market research analyst
Market research analysts use a mixture of qualitative and quantitative research tools — like surveys, focus groups, and statistical software — to analyze marketing outcomes. They investigate consumer purchasing habits, target demographics, and market opportunities to inform potential strategies.
Market research consulting is a common career option within this path, meaning you can contract out your services and get a flexible remote job. You can also work for a research agency or in-house at a large company.
A bachelor’s degree is enough to enter the field, although optional certifications and master’s programs can improve your skills and give you an edge. The occupation is in high demand, with 19% projected growth through 2031 and a median annual salary of $63,920, according to the BLS.
Copywriters use their command of the written word to create copy that builds brand awareness, advertises goods and services, and captures the attention of target consumers. This job can offer a lot of flexibility. You can freelance from home for individual clients or advertising agencies, or work for an agency or in-house advertising department.
While English and communications majors can break into copywriting, a bachelor’s degree in marketing helps you better understand how to reach an audience and analyze the effectiveness of your writing. The BLS reports that copywriters have a median annual salary of $62,340.
3. Sales engineer
Sales engineers are a type of sales representative who sells technical products or services. They act as liaisons between customers and engineers, using feedback to improve marketing strategies and develop products. Sales engineers have strong attention to detail and communication skills that help them break down complex products into engaging sales pitches.
Many sales engineers have a background in engineering, but the ability to create sales presentations, conduct market research, and analyze product development make business majors with marketing concentrations competitive candidates.
The median annual salary is $103,710, although the industry you work in is a big factor for compensation. Sales engineers who work in computer systems design have an even higher median salary of $127,180, according to the BLS.
4. Public relations (PR) specialist
A PR specialist crafts and maintains a positive brand image for a company or individual. These experts have exceptional verbal and nonverbal communication skills and often need to de-escalate situations.
They’re usually in charge of handling media press releases, developing social media strategies, and leveraging relationships to improve their client’s brand awareness.
Although PR agents often work in entertainment, they also work for nonprofits, government, healthcare, politics, and the business world. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for PR specialists is $62,800, but those with more work experience or high-profile clients could make over $124,620.
5. Product marketing manager
Product marketing managers lead teams to create a blueprint for product marketing strategies. They’re strong people managers who coordinate with various other experts throughout a product’s lifecycle, from sales managers to research analysts.
Marketing managers earn an average salary of $133,380 per year, according to BLS numbers, with the potential for bonuses and commissions. They earn the most in the information industry at $163,360 per year.
6. Social media manager
Sometimes referred to as community managers, digital engagement specialists, or social media specialists, a social media manager communicates a brand across digital channels.
They build brand reputation, grow audiences, and support advertising and sales initiatives. Successful social media specialists skillfully leverage creativity and reason. They dream up innovative content and analyze metrics to understand its success.
The BLS puts social media management under the same umbrella as marketing management, so average salaries are the same. Glassdoor reports more specifically that social media managers earn an average of $51,619 with $3,757 in bonuses per year.
7. Brand manager
Brand managers analyze customer and market trend research to build strategies that change the public perception of a brand. They use unique storytelling that engages target customers, working between research teams and sales and advertising departments.
Brand managers can work in-house on a single brand, at marketing agencies that work with various brands, or as contractors or consultants. According to Glassdoor, brand managers have an average annual salary of $66,997, with top earning potential reaching $128,275.
8. Digital marketing specialist
Businesses increasingly depend on data to understand what motivates consumer engagement and sales conversion. Digital marketing specialists find that data online and use it to implement digital strategies. They pinpoint market opportunities, consumer insights, and strategies like social media marketing.
There are several pathways to a career in digital marketing, including a bachelor’s degree specializing in digital marketing, information systems, or another related field. Glassdoor reports that these experts earn an average salary of $57,028.
9. Media planners and buyers
Media planners and buyers organize advertising efforts to make sure each ad attracts target consumers. Planners analyze consumer demographics and media habits and decide which media are best for a particular campaign and a business’s budget. They also find media space, negotiate schedules and pricing, and track ad performance.
According to Glassdoor, media planners have an average base pay of $72,508 with potential for bonuses and commissions, although top earners reportedly make up to $120,000.
Should I get a master’s degree in marketing?
You should get a master’s degree if you’re ready for the next step in your career. Depending on your long-term professional goals, it can give you the specialized knowledge that you need for your career aspirations. Plus, as technologies change, formal training in artificial intelligence, data science, and social media offers a competitive edge.
A background in marketing is becoming increasingly important for senior and C-level executives. According to a 2017 global analysis of CEOs at the top 100 Fortune 500 Companies, 15% of American CEOs had a marketing background.
That means your marketing experience could pave the way for management and supervisor positions, and a master’s degree can give you the expertise to get there.
If you don’t have the resources for a master’s, or if you just want a different option, there are other ways to boost your know-how and stand out as a job seeker:
Internship programs: Internships and externships give you work experience and can help you learn what areas of marketing you like to work in.
Certificate programs: Certificates, which many colleges and online platforms offer, can deepen your knowledge about a specific industry sector, like marketing strategy, digital marketing, or marketing management, just to name a few.
Online courses: Online classes and courses are shorter and can help you learn the ins and outs of specific tools, like Google Analytics or Amazon advertising.
Consider reaching out to your manager or human resources team about potential upskilling initiatives, sponsoring coursework, or mentorship programs to gain hands-on experience. You might not need to seek out another pathway to learn more about the field.
Ready for market
Whether you’re a college student, marketing graduate, or worker considering a return to college, marketing offers a world of job opportunities.
Taking the time to understand your learning and work style, professional goals, and ideal role in an organization will help narrow down the available jobs for marketing graduates and put you one step closer to your dream job.