Sometimes there is confusion about the differences between sales, marketing and merchandising. They all get lumped into the same general category. However, while all three disciplines have a similar focus – wooing the consumer -- they each serve a different purpose within the business world.
Marketing is generally the first step in the process. Working in marketing means you create the products and programs that meet the customer’s needs and establish the price and location of where consumers can purchase a company’s goods or services.
When you enter a marketing degree program, you will study general business topics such as accounting, information technology and human resources. In addition, you will focus on a course of study that provides you with a deeper understanding of marketing theory, concepts and principles as well as a general overview of sales and merchandising.
Marketing is a common degree program that most colleges and universities offer as part of their business curriculum. And though course titles may differ, the subject matter will be similar. Some of the specific marketing topics you are likely to learn about include:
As with most degree programs there are Associate degree and Doctoral degrees available in the field of marketing. However, a Bachelor degree, MBA and/or Master degree of Science with a concentration in marketing are the most popular and are generally considered the best bet for your financial investment.
In fact, if you are wondering what degree program is right for you, consider that experts say that on average an MBA in marketing earns $10,000 to $20,000 more annually than those holding a BBA in marketing (PayScale.com 2010).
While much of what you will learn in college will involve business and marketing concepts, best practices and theories, you also will have the opportunity to learn important skills such as:
If you like a career that is highly visible within an organization and provides you with the opportunity to use your creativity to help boost the company’s bottom line, a career in marketing might be a great option for you. In fact, marketing is often cited as one of the most popular areas of concentration for business degrees.
That being said, plan on attending a traditional four-year college or university or check out one of the many online college programs now available.
If you’re still debating as to whether or not you should pursue a degree in marketing consider this: according to the Careerbuilder.com article, “The Most Popular Graduate Degrees,” the Graduate Management Admissions Council found that students who receive their MBAs earn 55 to 64 percent more than before they graduated. Add to that the fact that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) suggests that positions that generally require an MBA – chief executives, marketing managers, financial managers and sales managers – are regularly among the top-25 highest-paying careers. And keep in mind marketing managers are found in “virtually every industry.”
Whether you are considering a job in advertising, market research, market analysis, public relations or another marketing-related field, the BLS suggests that there is “keen” competition for these jobs and that even those who graduate with a Bachelor degree require a high level of creativity, and strong communication and computer skills to get the best job opportunities. In addition, the overall growth rate for marketing careers over the next few years is expected to be average – 13 percent.