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Online Degrees in Marketing

Companies are always trying to maintain the buyers they have, appeal to new consumers, and lure away the customers of competitors. Successful marketing plans help achieve these goals by maximizing the potential of a brand and bringing it to the attention of the right group of consumers. Applying effective pricing strategies, media communications and targeted research are just some of the ways marketers enhance a brand's value.

Students who earn their marketing online business degrees learn how to manage a brand, market it to target demographics, and create a positive image for a business. Courses may cover business operations, consumer behavior, competitive analysis, organizational structure, social networks or business-to-business marketing.

Choosing the Right Online Marketing Degree

Associate Degree in Marketing: An associate degree in marketing typically takes two years to complete, but can take longer if a student studies part time. Courses train students in subjects like macro and microeconomics, advertising principles and accounting. Individuals also need to fulfill a number of general education requirements. These courses can include history, English composition, psychology, computer technology, and mathematics. Upon completing an online learning program in marketing, students may qualify to become junior marketing associates, merchandisers, account associates and other entry-level roles. Graduates may also transfer their credits to a four-year institution and earn a bachelor's degree.

Learn more about Online Associate Degrees in Marketing


Bachelor's Degree in Marketing: Bachelor's degree programs typically take four years of full-time study to complete, or two years if a student earns an associate degree first. Classes touch on subjects like marketing research, financial accounting, business analysis, and product and brand management. Two common degree types at the bachelor level are the Bachelor of Science in marketing and Bachelor of Science in business administration with a concentration in marketing. After graduating from one of these programs, students may be qualified to become public relations specialists, marketing analysts or survey researchers.

Learn more about Online Bachelor's Degrees in Marketing


Master's Degree in Marketing: Theseprograms teach advanced marketing topics and generally take two years to complete for full-time students. The degree can be earned as a Master of Science in marketing, or as a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in marketing. Subjects of study include brand management, marketing analytics, supply chain management and international marketing. Graduates of these online education programs may be able to become sales managers, marketing managers or public relations managers.

Learn more about Online Master's Degrees in Marketing


Doctoral Degrees in Marketing: Doctoral programs can take three to seven years to finish, and cover the most advanced topics in the field. Students can choose to enroll in one of two different programs: a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in marketing, or a Doctor of Business Administration with a concentration in marketing. In the Ph.D. program, students learn about research methodologies that can help them work as researchers or college faculty. The DBA program teaches students theories and practices designed to be used in real-world business scenarios, which may help prepare them for executive roles.

Once students finish with the core coursework, they must complete a doctoral dissertation to earn their degree. The dissertation is an original contribution to the field of marketing. The dissertation is reviewed by a panel of faculty members chosen by the doctoral candidate and his/her department chair. Once the paper is accepted for submission, the student must successfully defend it to the panel.

Learn more about Online Doctorates in Marketing


Career Opportunities for Graduates of Marketing Programs

A wide range of careers may be available to graduates of marketing degree programs, including positions in multinational corporations, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and colleges and universities.

Many marketing grads can be found working for firms that take on the marketing responsibilities of clients from different industries. Beyond dedicated firms, marketing professionals may also find in-house work at companies ranging from publishing to computer supplies to insurance carriers.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that market research analysts earned mean annual wages of $66,850 in 2010, while marketing managers earned $122,720.

  • Common industries: Computer systems design and related services; management, scientific, and technical consulting; insurance carriers; professional, scientific, and technical services
  • Salary range: $66,850 (market research analysts) - $122,720 (marketing managers)
  • Workers employed in the U.S.: 261,780 (market research analysts), 164,590 (marketing managers)
  • Preferred skills: Communication, empathy, teamwork, leadership

Entry-level roles in marketing can include assistant account executive, assistant media planner or assistant art director, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). While positions on the sales and business side of marketing usually require a bachelor's degree, entry-level positions in the art department are available with a two-year associate degree.

Professionals who want to move up in the field can become marketing managers or art directors. A master's degree may be required for management roles at larger firms, but on-the-job experience tends to be equally important in marketing positions, the BLS reports.

Market and survey researchers are other key members of a marketing team. While four-year marketing degrees are sufficient for entry-level jobs, many market research positions involve difficult quantitative and research tasks that require a master's or doctoral degree. Market and survey researchers may work with numerical data or human subjects to gain information on how products are used, what prices are most efficient, and how markets are changing.

Marketing professionals don't just create advertisements -- they play a critical role in helping companies anticipate consumer demand, identify the right products and services for diverse customer segments, and develop brand recognition and loyalty. Performing these various duties successfully requires understanding topics such as consumer motivation, pricing theory and brand management. Individuals with a doctoral degree in marketing work to develop new theories in these areas or enhance existing knowledge to better leverage marketing insights for their company.

There's more to marketing than simply promoting a product. Professionals in the field need to understand the tools of market research, product development, communication strategy, and effective delivery of products and services. An online marketing associate degree program can help train students to act as liaisons between a company and its consumers. Through this connection, marketing professionals seek to build lasting relationships that produce satisfied customers and profitable companies.

What Does an Associate Degree Program in Marketing Entail?

An associate degree program usually takes two years of full-time study to complete. Online marketing programs help improve students' business knowledge with a focus on marketing activities such as advertising, research, customer service, retailing, packaging and distribution. General business coursework may include topics in accounting, economics, finance, business law, and management. Examples of potential courses include:

  • Business Writing: Students in this class typically learn how to craft messages for broad circulation by properly targeting readers, using clear language, and carefully organizing information. Skills in this course can be used to construct email, letters, press releases or other important announcements. If a company has to issue a recall of a product, crafting a carefully worded press release may help save its reputation and profits in both the short and long term.
  • Studies in Consumer Behavior: This class focuses on how consumers search for, purchase, use and evaluate products. Students learn how marketing strategies can positively or negatively affect customer behavior. For example, when McDonald's releases a new marketing campaign, the company usually will monitor how customers react to it, and adapt the message as needed.
  • International Marketing: This class discusses how applying marketing concepts can help transform a national brand into a global one. Students may learn how to modify strategies according to economic, cultural, political and social differences in foreign markets. For example, soccer is huge in many countries outside the United States. As such, a company like Adidas might use international soccer stars to promote its products in foreign markets.

On top of core marketing coursework, students are usually required to complete a number of general education units. These may include classes in mathematics, public speaking, natural sciences, and history.

Career Outlook for Graduates of Associate Degree Programs in Marketing

While most marketing positions generally require a bachelor's degree or higher to qualify, associate degree holders may be able to find related work in retail or sales. One position they might consider is advertising sales agent.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), professionals in this role find and visit prospective clients with the goal of selling advertising space. To achieve this, sales agents might explain how different types of advertising could help a company expand their brand. They also prepare and deliver sales presentations to existing clients. The BLS expects national employment of advertising sales agents to grow 13 percent between 2010 and 2020, spurred by media companies' continued dependence on advertising revenue. Advertising sales agents in online media could be especially in demand, as the BLS expects digital advertising to become more and more popular (bls.gov/ooh, 2012).

The job of marketers is to find out what consumers want and match them with products and services that fulfill these desires. If performed correctly, buyers feel like they are receiving quality deals, and companies earn both positive recognition and a satisfied customer base. An online bachelor's degree program in marketing can help give students the knowledge necessary to effectively study market conditions and consumer demand. With these skills, graduates may find themselves guiding a company's interactions with its consumers, forging a strong relationship that benefits both parties.

What Does a Bachelor's Degree Program in Marketing Entail?

Students pursuing an online bachelor's degree in marketing can normally complete it in four years of full-time study, or two years if they earn an associate degree first. The two most common degree types are Bachelor of Science in Marketing and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in marketing. Curriculum varies based on which program individuals choose, but there's often considerable overlap. Possible courses include:

  • Research Methods for Marketing: This course introduces students to various tools that marketing researchers use to collect and study data. Topics covered in this class may include sample selection, data collection, result validation, and analysis of findings. With these skills, graduates can potentially help companies produce surveys to identify who falls into their target demographic, and how best to reach those people. This can allow for a more focused use of a company's marketing budget, netting the maximize number of customers with the smallest allocation of funds.
  • Business-to-Business Marketing: Companies often need tonegotiate with each other for products, raw materials, and distribution. This course can help students learn how to work with suppliers, manufacturers and other middlemen in order to purchase goods and services. Learning how to negotiate deals can help businesses create healthy, beneficial relationships with their partners, making production more streamlined and cost-efficient.
  • Communications for Managers: Since managers interact with employees, clients and other executives on a daily basis, communication skills can be essential. Students in this course learn how to express themselves clearly through written, verbal and technological mediums. Knowledge gained in this course may help individuals motivate employees, enhancing their productivity and happiness while at work.

In addition to core courses, bachelor's programs typically include both general education and elective requirements. General education units cover basic skills such as math, English, and science, while electives are specialized courses often chosen by students themselves. These classes should supplement one's greater understanding of marketing, business, or customer relations. For example, students may elect to take a course in psychology to learn more about how the consumer mind works.

Career Outlook for Graduates of Bachelor's Degree Programs in Marketing

Students who earn a bachelor's degree in marketing may qualify for a wide range of careers. For example, with the research methodologies typically learned through this online program, graduates might excel as marketing research analysts. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these professionals gather and analyze data on market trends, consumer habits and competitors to make informed recommendations regarding a company's marketing plans. They also help determine the success of marketing efforts. As companies increasingly use research data to improve their marketing tactics, the BLS expects this field to grow 41 percent nationally between 2010 and 2020, which is much faster than average (bls.gov/ooh, 2012).

Can corporations focus on maximizing profits and customer satisfaction at the same time? Do these two facets of business have to be mutually exclusive? Marketing experts know how to navigate this gray area, finding the delicate balance between making profits and building a good relationship with consumers. Crafting a strong brand, enticing new customers with targeted marketing communications, and mitigating problems with timely, thoughtful public relations campaigns are all tactics a marketer can use to accomplish this. By learning about advanced marketing strategies, such as how to conduct market research and understand emerging trends, individuals with a master's degree in marketing may be equipped to help a company extend its brand influence.

What Does a Master's Degree Program in Marketing Entail?

Full-time students pursuing a master's in marketing through online education may be able to complete their degree in one to two years, depending on the school and program they enroll in. This particular graduate degree can typically be earned in one of two forms: as a Master of Science (M.S.) in Marketing or a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in marketing.

An M.S. degree program generally features coursework that teaches students how to nurture a brand and expand its reach, develop messages that reach specific demographics, and create marketing plans that take advantage of traditional and/or new media. Examples of possible courses include:

  • Marketing Ethics: In this class, students build a framework for taking an ethical approach to marketing. Ethics discussions typically revolve around pricing, advertising, international marketing, and controversial products. Skills in this course may help students rehabilitate a brand by building a marketing campaign that is honest and features a fair price point.
  • Advanced Consumer Studies: This course focuses on the behavior of different consumer demographics. Students learn how to study the cultural, sociological, psychological and economic factors that influence customers when making purchases. Using this knowledge, companies can develop marketing strategies to better promote their goods and services.

Students who choose to pursue the MBA path tend to take more classes dedicated to advanced business principles and fewer in marketing. Examples of potential marketing courses in an online MBA program include:

  • Brand Management: Students in this course research current trends, theories and case studies in order to better understand how to build and maintain a brand. As creating the right image can positively impact a company's traction in the marketplace, knowing how to plan and execute successful branding strategies is crucial. For example, if Coca-Cola wants to change the look of its bottles and cans, research can be done to find out what style consumers prefer and how it will affect their perception of the brand.
  • International Marketing Strategies: In order to stay competitive, some companies need to expand their business into foreign markets. Strategies that work in the U.S may not translate well to different countries, so corporations must develop campaigns that are culturally relevant to each international market they wish to enter. Students in this course typically learn how to explore the different aspects that influence purchasing choices in foreign markets, and how to use those to gain a marketing advantage. For example, food companies looking to sell goods in Muslim countries must be careful not to include pork products in their advertising campaigns.

Career Outlook for Graduates of Master's Degree Programs in Marketing

Many individuals earn their master's degree while maintaining a career in order to better qualify for management positions in their field. Some of these positions may include sales manager, marketing manager, or public relations manager. Certain employers require candidates for market research analyst positions to hold a master's degree as well.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), sales managers are responsible for overseeing sales team operations, preparing budgets, approving expenditures and creating training programs. Marketing managers, on the other hand, help companies understand consumer demand and identify new markets for products and services. Public relations managers review press releases, take part in interviews and supervise PR specialists. BLS expects nationwide employment of sales and marketing managers to grow by 12 and 14 percent, respectively, between 2010 and 2020. During that same span, public relations managers and specialists are estimated to see national job growth of 21 percent (bls.gov/ooh, 2012).

With companies in a constant battle to ensure their products and services capture the attention of consumers, those with visionary marketers often emerge victorious. Whether they pilot efforts to create a brilliant social media campaign, freshen up an aging brand with a new logo, or unveil a drastic pricing model, these professionals develop and implement groundbreaking strategies that can lead to increased market share. Those wishing to reach this level of marketing proficiency can choose to earn an online doctoral degree. In addition to helping companies achieve success, online doctoral programs in marketing can also prepare individuals to teach the next generation of marketers at the college level.

What Does a Doctoral Degree Program in Marketing Entail?

Earning a doctoral degree through online learning typically takes three to seven years to complete, including work on a dissertation. There are two different degrees that can be earned at this level. The first is a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in marketing, and the second is a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) with a concentration in marketing.

The Ph.D. path is typically of interest for students who want to work as researchers in their field, or who want to become college and university educators. Graduates of this program will be trained in research methods such as multivariate analysis, where students learn how to observe and analyze multiple variables simultaneously. They may also study econometrics, which uses statistics and computers to find empirical evidence of economic relationships and causality.

Students who wish to earn a DBA with a concentration in marketing will find courses that focus on marketing concepts that can be applied in corporations, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and consulting firms. This online program features many business and management classes, which may help prepare graduates to become executives. Topics of study can include business-to-business marketing, organizational behavior, information systems, and leadership. Some DBA programs also feature courses that teach research techniques, though not as many as a Ph.D. program.

In addition to completing the core coursework, students also have to research and defend a doctoral dissertation. This paper is based on original research and analysis of an existing problem in marketing. The doctoral candidate and his/her department chair choose a panel of faculty members to review the dissertation. Once the paper is accepted for submission, the student must successfully defend it to the panel, answering any and all questions posed.

Career Outlook for Graduates of Doctoral Degree Programs in Marketing

Depending on which degree is earned, graduates may qualify for different careers. Online education programs that lead to a Ph.D. train students in the methodologies and theories that may help them become college educators or researchers in the field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment of postsecondary teachers to increase 17 percent nationally between 2010 and 2020, slightly higher than the national average (bls.gov/ooh, 2012).

Those who earn their DBA study topics that may help them become top executives in corporations, government agencies or nonprofit organizations. Jobs for top executives are expected to grow 5 percent between 2010 and 2020. While executive leadership is important, the BLS notes, there are simply not as many available opportunities compared to lower-level positions.

Students aren't limited by those distinctions however, as there are Ph.D. graduates who help run companies, and DBA holders who work in academic settings. Students who have more questions, or want to learn more about online learning, can search through the schools below. An admissions counselor will contact you with more information.


Sources:
"Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers," Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-13 Edition), Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/advertising-promotions-and-marketing-managers.htm
"Advertising Sales Agents," Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-13 Edition), Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/sales/advertising-sales-agents.htm
"Market Research Analysts," Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-13 Edition), Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/market-research-analysts.htm
"Postsecondary Educators," Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-13 Edition), Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 10, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm
"Public Relations Managers and Specialists," Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-13 Edition), Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/public-relations-managers-and-specialists.htm
"Sales Managers," Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-13 Edition), Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/sales-managers.htm
"Top Executives," Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-13 Edition), Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 29, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/top-executives.htm

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