With more advertising continuing to shift into digital spaces, perceptive students and professionals looking to return to school may be asking, "Is marketing a good major?" The answer will depend on what you want out of your degree experience and eventual long-term career goals, but the advertising industry as a whole seems poised to grow even stronger over the next decade.
The Market Outlook
In part thanks to the proliferation of smartphones, wearables, and other constantly connected devices, digital marketing remains a strong growth industry. Forrester Research recently released a report that predicted digital advertising spending would climb to $103.37 billion by 2019,1 while eMarketer projected a total ad investment of $180.12 billion across traditional and digital in 2014—resulting in the largest annual increase since 2004.2
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts similarly steady job growth in marketing industry professions. Marketing manager positions are expected to increase by 13% through 2022,3 with employment of market research analysts expected to surge by 32% (a growth of more than 20,000 additional jobs).4
What Does a Marketing Degree Involve?
The American Marketing Association defines marketing as "the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large." Because the field encompasses an entire system of practices rather than specific products or industries, business marketing majors will study a variety of topics. Classes may cover anything from supply/demand laws and market research techniques to consumer behavior and the psychology of advertising.
So is marketing a good major for you? If you consider some of your strongest skills to be in the following areas—or want to develop them further through a degree program—then a major in marketing could be a good career move:
Marketing majors must above all be able to analyze complex data and transform it into accessible and appealing ideas that can be used to reach and influence consumers.
- Strong communication skills
- Intuitive understanding of consumer culture
- Firm grasp on economic theory
Entry-Level Jobs With a Marketing Degree
Because it's such a versatile major, there are a number of careers you can pursue with a marketing degree. Common marketing major jobs include:
- Marketing Manager
- Market Analyst
- Sales Representative
- Public Relations Coordinator
- Advertising and Event Promoter
- Social Media Manager
Pay scales will vary depending on the position and the industry. The median annual wage for advertising and promotions managers, for example, was $88,590 in May 2012, according to the BLS, while the median annual salary for marketing managers was $119,480.5 Note as well that these are median salaries; starting salaries for those new to the industry most likely will begin at a lower rate.
Ready to learn more? Explore online degrees at AIU.
1Forrester Research, "US Digital Marketing Forecast, 2014 To 2019: Spend Will Top $100 Billion, Overtaking Television Advertising," on the Internet at http://www.statista.com/statistics/275229/us-interactive-marketing-spending-growth-from-2011-to-2016/ (visited August 11, 2015).
2eMarketer, "Total US Ad Spending to See Largest Increase Since 2004," on the Internet at http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Total-US-Ad-Spending-See-Largest-Increase-Since-2004/1010982 (visited August 11, 2015).
3Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/advertising-promotions-and-marketing-managers.htm (visited August 11, 2015).
4Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Market Research Analysts, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/market-research-analysts.htm (visited August 11, 2015).
5Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/advertising-promotions-and-marketing-managers.htm (visited August 11, 2015).
The presence of specific potential jobs on this list does not guarantee availability of career opportunities. All statistics referenced are national historical averages and the figures in your area and at the time of your job search may be different.