Marketing and communication degree programs have some crossover in the skillsets learned, but they differ in significant ways. Both deal with building connections and relationships while sharing information. But while marketing is more focused on consumer behavior, analysis and strategy, communication tends to focus more on critical thinking, persuasion and problem-solving.
Can’t decide which career path is best for you? We break down the differences below and offer details on degrees for both areas of study.
Choosing between marketing and communication degrees
A marketing degree might suit you if you're interested in business, sales and customer engagement. Marketing students typically have the opportunity to learn about sales management, critical thinking, consumer behavior and effective communication. They also learn how to use resources and support innovation to inform business strategy, engage customers and drive performance.
While marketing is often more business- and sales-focused, communication can have a more universal application. Any one of several types of communication degrees can be an excellent foundation for success in a wide range of fields. Key skills that communication students develop include problem-solving, critical and strategic thinking, and leadership and collaborative abilities. They also seek to develop strong oral and written skills to present clear, compelling and persuasive arguments.
The different types of communication degrees
‘Communication’ is the umbrella term for several fields of study which, at their core, are focused on sharing information. Under that umbrella, a variety of degree options offer specialization in different areas. These may include:
- Bachelor of Science in communication: This degree offers practice in writing, critical thinking and presentation skills to help train students in the art of persuasion. A BS degree in communication is an excellent foundation for many fields, from government to health care.
- Bachelor of Arts in communication: These degrees typically focus more on the humanities, but they’ll still include qualitative research such as focus groups and interviews. This work can help prepare students for a helping profession, such as social services. A BA in communication is sometimes considered a liberal arts degree.
- Business communication: These programs often have a high level of crossover with marketing degrees. For instance, business communication degrees are often earned through business schools and can be a stepping stone to a career in sales management or public relations.
- Mass communication: You may have heard this term and wondered, what is a mass communication degree? These programs generally focus on news media specifically. For example, a mass communication program of study might look at the effects of media on society.
- Technical communication: Technical communication is all about taking complex information and breaking it down to make it more accessible and easy to understand. Essentially, it's a form of translation that turns niche information, such as software documentation, into more user-friendly content, such as manuals.
Earn your ASU Online marketing or communication degree
Studying for a degree in marketing or communication can be a vital first step on your professional path. Arizona State University offers these programs through ASU Online: