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Is a Marketing Degree Worth it? 6 Reasons The Answer Could be 'Yes'
Changes in technology, buyer habits and the economy are rapidly shifting the marketing landscape. Companies are trying to navigate change and seize opportunities brought on by these new realities. That’s why marketing careers are in high demand—with positions like market research analysts expected to grow by an astounding 20%.
Companies in all industries need savvy marketing professionals to get ahead. But how do you master the technical, creative and interpersonal skills needed to be successful?
Here’s why a marketing degree is the answer.
Reason 1: You want to break into the marketing industry without a lot of experience
Earning a marketing degree is about much more than learning about advertising or selling. Along with knowledge of basic marketing principles and constructs, a successful marketing professional couples an ability to determine strategy with an ability to communicate those ideas in a compelling way. In addition to deep knowledge of the profession, a successful marketer must have an understanding of the other business disciplines because they work cross-functionally across an organization. Understanding the functions of operations, human resources, accounting, finance, and technology are all part of a good marketing degree program.
Unlike a more general education, like business administration or communication, a marketing degree helps you learn current industry best practices and industry-standard tools, and prepares you to apply those to real-world situations. If you’re competing for entry-level positions, this specific knowledge will set you apart from other candidates. It will also prepare you for specialized positions in areas like digital marketing, search engine optimization and social media—in addition to entry-level generalist marketing roles.
Reason 2: You want to learn new skills that are critical to marketing today and in the future.
As with many careers in today's environment, marketing has changed dramatically over the past 5 to 10 years. The marketing profession now requires more than an understanding of traditional marketing and promotional techniques.
Digital advertising, marketing automation, and new technologies—from virtual and augmented reality to voice assistants—are all shifting the marketing landscape. Even more, the ability to collect and analyze data on each and every individual consumer in the marketplace has been a dramatic development. It allows marketers to target their products and offerings to consumers more precisely and cheaply than ever before.
Companies are investing in digital marketing and transformation to increase efficiency and grow their business. They need marketers with specialized skills who can create targeted, data-driven and multi-channel marketing initiatives. As a result, a new graduate entering into the marketing profession is expected to have foundational skills in these areas.
- Digital marketing: Paid digital marketing across search engines and social networks now dominates marketing spend in many industries. You need to understand how to develop paid campaigns, audience targeting, budgets and creative that will break through the noise.
- Data analysis: Data-driven marketing is an essential aspect of a successful business. While not every marketer needs to be a data and analytics master, they must have a strong understanding of the various tools and metrics you can use to track, analyze and optimize marketing campaigns.
- Market research: Understanding consumer behavior is the foundation of product development, marketing and sales. You need the skills to conduct, distill and analyze first-hand and secondary research to give your company an edge on the competition.
- Search engine optimization (SEO): Nearly every transaction today begins online. That’s why SEO is ingrained into every aspect of marketing—so your products, services and content can be found organically.
- Customer relationship management (CRM): CRM is used to organize and manage customer information and interactions with a company. It helps bridge the gap between sales and marketing and is pivotal to building loyal customer relationships.
Reason 3: You want to be (or already are) an entrepreneur.
If it was ever the case that an entrepreneur could succeed by merely pursuing a great idea, those days are long gone. The United States currently has 27 million entrepreneurs and nearly 14% are starting or running new businesses. If you are, or aim to be, one of these business owners, you also need to understand an unmet consumer desire, translate that understanding into a product or service, and then craft a compelling offering that meets the consumer on their terms.
Entrepreneurs with marketing degrees are able to effectively brand their business, promote their products and services, and reach the right customers. Undergraduate degrees in marketing also provide a broad-base of business knowledge, which often includes a business core of accounting, finance and management. These essential business skills will help you start, run and manage your business as it grows.
Reason 4: You want to get a promotion or earn more money in your current organization.
Even in today's labor market, with unemployment at or near historic lows, a college degree—bachelor's or master's—is often considered the minimum requirement. Perhaps even more important than getting a job, a college degree can significantly improve the speed and the extent to which an individual can progress through a career. That ease of entry and ability to progress equate to higher pay and better opportunities.
Reason 5: You want to transition to a career in marketing without missing a step.
We see advertising and promotional activities all around us. Some of what we see we like, others we don't. It’s tempting to believe that our intuition about what works and what doesn't is evidence of our own marketing prowess. That perception, along with the creative, interesting, fast-paced nature of the profession make marketing attractive to both those who are degree-qualified and those who aren't.
Yet, marketing is a profession that, like any other, requires more than a perceived knack for one aspect. If you’re looking to change careers, your intuition alone may not be enough. Successful entrants into the field are expected to have, at minimum, a broad-based subject area knowledge. Preferably, that general knowledge will be supplemented with a deep knowledge in a particular sub-topic. Ideally, that knowledge can be demonstrated through a portfolio of projects or work experience. An applicant with that sort of knowledge and preparation will be the first to get considered, the first to get hired, and the first to get promoted.
That’s why, even if you have professional experience or a degree in a different field, a bachelor’s or master’s degree in marketing is highly beneficial. A bachelor’s degree will provide foundational knowledge in marketing principles and an opportunity to develop projects that show your prowess. For those who already have a bachelors, a master’s degree in marketing will help you gain specialized marketing expertise to complement your previous experience. Either way, getting a marketing degree can help you change careers seamlessly and put you on the path to advancement within your new career.
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Reason 6: You want to land a job you love in a fun and challenging field.
Marketing is integral to the success of any business, no matter the industry or business model. That offers a wide variety of career paths for marketing graduates. Usually, professionals tend to gravitate to one of two sides of the profession—the client side or the agency side. On the client side, you work in a marketing department of a company, diving deep into their business, products and services to create the most compelling marketing campaigns that accomplish strategic goals. On the other hand, agencies work on a much broader client portfolio, acting as consultants for any number of marketing projects.
Whichever path you choose, there are exciting, high-growth careers waiting for you.
Get Your Marketing Degree at Franklin University
Franklin University offers fully-online marketing degrees at the bachelor’s and master’s level. These programs offer an opportunity for working adults to gain marketing expertise without pausing their career. You will also have the flexibility to complete your degree at your own pace and learn from experts who have extensive practical experience in the marketing industry.