Should I Be a Marketing Major? Everything You Need to Know to Decide

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You can’t hear an advertisement on the radio or see a pop-up in your browser window without wondering about the marketing strategy that’s behind it. This natural interest in the world of business and promotion has you pondering whether you should become a marketing major.

Working in marketing sounds fascinating, but you know the reality won’t be like living in an episode of Mad Men. So, what’s it really like to be a marketing major, and what jobs are available to those who earn a degree in this business specialty?

A Marketing degree might not transform you into the next sales and advertising legend overnight, but it could open doors for marketing major jobs that wouldn’t be available to you otherwise. Keep reading to hear from marketing pros who have stood in your shoes to get all the facts about what it’s like to be a marketing major.

Jobs for marketing majors

One of the first things you’re probably curious about is what kind of job you’ll potentially be qualified for if you earn a marketing degree. Marketing encompasses much more than creating the ads you see on TV. Marketers need to understand basic principles of consumer behavior, which they can apply to both “traditional” and digital marketing strategies.

Marketing majors are entering a broad field, so they can tailor their skills to land a job in a specialized area of marketing that interests them, such as marketing design, copywriting or marketing analytics. Because companies in every sector use marketing campaigns to drive their business, marketing majors can also choose to work for a variety of companies.

“You can work for marketing agencies, but you can also work for nonprofit organizations, multimillion- dollar companies or the little business on your street,” say Marie Lamonde, content marketing specialist at DashThis.

We reviewed the data on more than 253,000 job postings seeking applicants with a marketing degree to highlight some of the top job titles for marketing majors—here’s what we found:1

  • Marketing manager
  • Marketing specialist
  • Account manager
  • Sales representative
  • Digital marketing specialist
  • Product marketing manager
  • Marketing analyst
  • Communications manager

Marketing major salaries and job outlook

Marketing employees are a valuable part of most organizations since it’s their hard work that drives sales and lands new clients and customers. Salaries vary by job title, but most marketing majors have the potential to land a job that offers a comfortable income.

Market research analysts earned a median annual salary of $63,230 in 2017, and employment for this occupation is projected to grow 23 percent through 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).2 That’s much faster than the 7 percent average projected growth for all occupations and could result in as many as 138,300 new jobs nationwide.

According to the BLS, advertising, promotions and marketing managers have the responsibility of leading a marketing team, a role which earned them a median salary of $129,380 in 2017.2 Their job growth also exceeds the national average, with the BLS projecting an increase of 10 percent through 2026.2

The BLS attributes the growth of these marketing positions to the changing landscape of digital marketing.2 Many organizations hire team members to manage specific aspects of digital marketing, such as social media and search engine optimization (SEO). Market research analysts are especially needed to help analyze and organize data that companies are continuing to collect through online channels.

What can you expect from marketing major courses?

Before you can land a job, you need to gain valuable skills by completing a degree program. You’re probably wondering what courses marketing majors can expect to encounter, as well as how those courses prepare them to launch their careers.

Marketing majors take courses that give them a solid foundation in marketing strategy, buyer psychology and the business world as a whole. “When studying marketing, you don’t learn the technicalities, like how to create a Facebook ad or a website, you learn the strategies,” says Lamonde. “You’ll learn to think from a marketing and business standpoint and make the right decisions.”

Having this type of education under their belts puts marketing majors in a good position to bring their skills to any type of company and to keep pace with changes in digital marketing technology. “College-level courses are superb at providing the opportunity for students to think through a larger strategy and plan,” says Andrew DeBell, digital marketing consultant and cofounder of Water Bear Learning.

This is just a sample of the courses students take as part of the Rasmussen University Marketing Bachelor’s degree:

  • Consumer Behavior
  • Business Project Management
  • Foundations of Digital Marketing
  • Marketing Communications
  • Marketing Law and Ethics
  • Advanced Marketing Strategies

Skills and qualities marketing majors need

Everything about being a marketing major sounds appealing so far, but you still aren’t sure whether you’re cut out for this career path. You need to be confident you have the skill and qualities it takes to succeed as a marketing major.

The experts agree that the best marketers can see the world both analytically and creatively. “The best marketers need to be a good blend of art and science. Pay close attention to the data, but also realize that their audience are humans that enjoy creativity and art. For students that can balance both of these mindsets, they are bound to have a successful future in marketing,” DeBell says.

Marketing takes creative ideas and applies them to the business world, so students with a natural interest in business and consumer buying habits can be a great fit for a marketing degree program.

“If you love ads, talking about new products and how to grow a business, then marketing is surely a good fit for you,” Lamonde says.

We analyzed the skills real organizations are looking for in their employees. See what our analysis of more than 253,000 marketing jobs revealed about today’s in-demand marketing skills.1

Transferable skills:

  • Communication
  • Creativity
  • Collaboration
  • Microsoft Office
  • Writing
  • Organization
  • Planning
  • Research

Technical skills:

  • Sales
  • Budgeting
  • Social media
  • Project management
  • Customer service
  • Business development
  • Digital marketing
  • Market strategy

Could you be part of the next class of marketing majors?

Now you know the ins and outs of what it’s like to be a marketing major, from the courses you’ll take to the skills you’ll learn. If landing a marketing major job is on your radar, you might be wondering whether a degree is really necessary to get your foot in the door. Find out with our article, “Is a Marketing Degree Worth It? 4 Things to Consider.” (analysis of 253,596 marketing degree jobs, Jan. 01, 2018 - Dec. 31, 2018.)
2Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, [information accessed January 30, 2019] Salary data represents national, averaged earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries, and employment conditions in your area may vary.

Ashley Brooks

Ashley is a freelance writer for Collegis education who writes student-focused articles on behalf of Rasmussen University. She believes in the power of words and knowledge and enjoys using both to encourage others on their learning journeys

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