Marketing is a broad career path that includes various jobs in research and communication for marketing-related firms or in marketing departments of companies. Your interest in marketing-related careers, your research skills or creativity may support a major in marketing, but other fields may offer better income and employment potential.
Marketing is one of the most flexible business-related career paths because of how broad marketing is as a business function. Marketing includes customer and market research, product design and development, sales, advertising, public relations and customer service. If you prefer the analytical and research side of marketing, you could work for a research firm or as a company's market research analyst. On the more creative side, you can work in various advertising and public relations roles, such as advertising account executive or PR specialist. Sales and customer service jobs are plentiful in manufacturing, wholesale, retail and service business environments.
You should also consider the propensity for jobs with a marketing degree relative to other business and vocational degrees. U.S. Census bureau data from 2010 showed an unemployment rate of 5.9 percent for marketing and market research degree holders and a 6.1 percent unemployment rate for people with advertising or public relations degrees. Business and management majors had a similar 6 percent unemployment rate, but finance majors had only a 4.5 percent unemployment rate. Engineering, nursing and education were among several other degree programs with sub-5 percent rates. Liberal arts graduates had a 7.6 percent unemployment rate.
Income and Promotion Opportunities
The median income for marketing grads was $59,000 and 25 percent earned $90,000 or more, according to bureau data. Advertising and PR grads had a $50,000 median salary with 25 percent earning at or above $74,000. Management or executive promotions can lead to higher income. General business majors had comparable income, but finance grads had a median of $65,000 and the top 25 percent of grads earned at least $101,000. Engineering, computer science and medical degrees typically led to the highest income potential, and education and human services degrees were near the bottom.
Taking a career aptitude test early in school to learn your interests, abilities and preferred work culture can help in deciding what marketing path is right for you. Students often struggle initially to discern market research or analyst careers from account management or creative careers. These are typically very distinct marketing jobs. The value companies place on marketing varies. In some businesses, marketing is a priority. In others, marketing is viewed as a necessary expense but one of the first areas to see cuts in a budget crunch. Thus, company and job changes within marketing are fairly common. A minor in psychology is useful for a research or analyst track, while graphic design can help you on a creative marketing path.
Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.