A complete guide to careers in marketing
In recent years the marketing industry has changed in many ways. A significant development has been the array of digital tools available, which allow marketers to study audiences, measure behavior, and target messages toward ideal customers.
This trend has led to new marketing careers and increased job opportunities. A typical route into these new positions – as well as more traditional marketing roles – is an undergraduate degree. Most candidates choose a bachelor’s in marketing or a closely related field.
The 4Ps of marketing
- Product – what is being sold?
- Price – how much will the customer pay for it?
- Place – where will the product be marketed?
- Promotion – what advertising will be used?
What is the difference between sales and marketing?
The aim of marketing is to get people interested in a product or service. It is not only about generating sales, but also increasing brand visibility. Careers in marketing involve identifying the needs of customers. This allows the sales team to understand the audience they are selling to.
Sales is primarily concerned with the sale of goods and services. It is more transaction-based, with clear short-term performance goals. Sales plans typically involve creating processes that enable staff to hit quotas.
The table below displays some key differences between sales and marketing.
Aim is to get people interested in a product or service
Goals are often about developing the long-term brand
Typical educational route is a bachelor’s in marketing, business, or related field
Aim is to sell the product or service
Goals may be short term (based on sales quotas)
Typical educational route is a bachelor’s in marketing, business, communication, or related field
Note that whilst they may be different, marketing and sales departments still need to be closely aligned.
Is marketing a good career?
Marketing is an excellent career for strategic problem-solvers who want to understand the mechanics of human behavior. High salaries, diverse roles, and ample opportunities for creativity are among the reasons to consider a career in marketing.
Marketing job outlook
The long-term marketing job outlook is encouraging. Between 2018-2028, market research analyst and marketing specialist positions are expected to increase by 20.4%, equating to 90,700 annual openings. The outlook is also positive for marketing managers, with jobs increasing by 8.1%, the equivalent of 26,000 job openings a year.
Average marketing salary
In 2022 the average marketing salary was $50,010. Entry-level roles began at an average of $35,798, with more experienced professionals earning around $100,00. For salary information of specific marketing disciplines, see the marketing career path section at the bottom of the page.
What degree do you need to get into marketing?
Most entry-level positions require a bachelor’s, while more advanced marketing roles may necessitate a master’s. There are 3 main types of marketing degrees to choose from.
A bachelor’s in marketing provides a broad introduction to the field. Students gain experience in creating advertising campaigns, assessing market demographics, and understanding basic consumer psychology. The degree can position a candidate for a range of entry-level marketing roles.
The master’s in marketing is for students who want to increase their knowledge of a specific area of marketing. Many positions in marketing require a master’s-level education, so following up your bachelor’s with a master’s can improve job prospects.
Those who sign up for a master’s in business administration (MBA) often do so to advance an already successful career. An MBA is a powerful credential for people looking to move into executive-level positions. It is available with a marketing concentration, making it an excellent alternative to a master’s in marketing.
|Course length||Format||Available online||Prerequisites|
|Bachelor’s in marketing||4 years||Full time||Yes||High school diploma and satisfactory college entrance tests|
|Master’s in marketing||1-2 years||Full time||Yes||Bachelor’s degree|
|MBA in marketing||2 years||Full time||Yes||Bachelor’s degree and 3+ years work experience|
Explore the best graduate marketing program per state
Marketing career paths
The marketing career path can be long, winding, and usually depends on the ambitions of the individual. Some choose to change track as they discover new marketing areas they would prefer to focus on. That said, the most common route up the marketing career ladder is detailed below.
Step 1: Get a bachelor’s degree
Although entry-level roles for candidates with a high-school education do exist, most require at least a bachelor’s. Companies accept candidates who majored in any field, but it helps if your degree is business-related or in marketing.
Step 2: Get an entry-level marketing job
With a bachelor’s degree you can secure an entry-level role related to your area of interest. These positions include:
Market research analystMedian salary: 64K US$
Gather and analyze information about online markets. The role may include studying digital metrics, analyzing tactics, and making recommendations to increase market share.
Social media coordinatorMedian salary: 42K US$
Social media coordinators assist with executing a company’s social media strategy. They develop content, engage customers online, and review analytics to make suggestions.
Marketing specialistMedian salary: 53K US$
This role can include various marketing duties, depending on the company you work for. These tasks may include organizing events, working on content, and overseeing aspects of the social media strategy.
Step 3: Get a master’s in marketing or an MBA
Once you have some marketing experience under your belt, you might return to school to study for a postgraduate degree. An MBA or master’s in marketing can provide the leadership skills necessary to become a manager. For some management roles a postgraduate marketing qualification may even be a requirement.
Step 4: Become a marketing manager
If you work for a very small marketing department, you might oversee the entire team. At larger companies you are more likely to lead a team in your specialty area, for example managing the social media marketing section. More information about both of these positions can be found below.
Marketing managersMedian salary: 153K US$
A marketing manager oversees a company’s marketing efforts to increase profit and market share.
Social media marketing managerMedian salary: 57K US$
A social media marketing manager oversees the social media strategy and is responsible for meeting the agreed targets.
Step 5: Get an executive marketing position
After working as a manager for several years, you may be promoted to a C-level position. These high-level executive roles include:
Director of marketingMedian salary: 92K US$
The director of marketing oversees the entire marketing operation and provides the team with direction. The average salary for a director of marketing can be much higher at larger companies.
Chief Marketing OfficerMedian salary: 175K US$
This position reports directly to the CEO. The role usually involves macro-level strategy and is less hands-on than others.
Marketing communicates the value of a company’s product to potential customers with the goal of boosting sales and revenue. There are numerous marketing strategies and mediums available to any business, making marketing a career that is stimulating, solid in terms of long-term demand projections, and open to progression in various directions. If you are just beginning your educational journey, find out more information on undergraduate marketing programs, and start researching the relative value of different colleges and universities. For those already in the business world, consider whether a masters in marketing or an MBA is right for you.
What’s the biggest difference between a bachelor’s and master’s in marketing?
A bachelor’s provides a broad education that covers areas not specific to your degree, such as ethics, statistics, economics, and even literature.
A master’s degree focuses on your area of study, for 1 to 2 years the emphasis is on marketing.
What’s the difference between a bachelor’s of arts in marketing and a bahcelor’s of science in marketing?
A bachelor of arts is a more broad course of study. It provides an overview of all areas of the field, and might suit a person unsure about which area of marketing is for them.
A bachelor of science focuses almost entirely on one specific area of marketing. It usually appeals to students with a particular career path in mind.
How hard is it to get a job?
A degree in marketing is applicable to many different sectors. Those with marketing experience often find a wide range of options open to them.
What is the difference between a communications degree and a marketing degree?
Communications covers journalism, marketing, and public relations. A marketing degree focuses specifically on communications for the purpose of marketing products or services.
How to I get started in the marketing field?
Entry-level jobs such as maintaining a social media feed are available to those who show a talent for marketing, even with minimal experience or education.
For more advanced positions, education can be a big advantage. Keep in touch with the people you meet during your studies. Guest lecturers, internship colleagues, and others, can all help you break into the field.
Does it make sense to continue directly to a master’s after a bachelor’s degree?
Some choose to get some real-world marketing experience before enrolling in a master’s program. Others find that moving directly on to a master’s after their bachelor’s program is better for them. It is a personal choice based on your career goals and circumstances.
What’s the best marketing job for me?
Focus on your education, experience, and skills. You might like to make a note of the companies you admire and the kind of professionals you would like to emulate. This can help to identify the opportunities that are the best fit for you.