An online marketing degree supports career paths across a range of industries, allowing graduates to match employment opportunities with their interests and passions. Digital media growth has created new specialties for marketers, with an emphasis on multimedia, big data and analytics. Almost all organizations, from health care to consumer electronics to fashion and more, need professionals with competencies in these areas to create and manage strategies that drive revenue and promote customer engagement.
A Bachelor of Science in marketing can give students overarching expertise that applies across the field as well as knowledge of specific divisions — such as social media or market research. This education can lead to a career in a salaried role as an in-house or agency marketer or as a self-employed marketing consultant.
Marketing occupations have been steadily increasing in availability and are projected to continue growing due to the digitization of the industry. According to Forrester, by 2019, marketing leaders will allocate more than $103 billion to search marketing, display advertising, social media marketing and email marketing, accounting for more spend than broadcast and cable television advertising combined. Search engine marketing is expected to remain a leader in the digital marketing arena, but social media investment is on pace to increase faster than any other digital marketing channel.
According to Burning Glass Technologies, this means the demand for digital marketing experts will continue to grow as well. Its 2017 research brief indicated that the demand for digital marketing skills has doubled. The report noted that out of 443,440 marketing openings in 2016, 174,141 positions — or 39 percent — called for applicants with digital marketing skills, and job posts for digital marketers grew 30 percent faster than overall marketing postings over a five-year period.
In fact, postings for all marketing jobs increased 92 percent between 2011 and 2016, including a sharp rise in the number of opportunities specifically calling for social media proficiency. Marketing specialists who have data analytics expertise are also in demand, according to Deloitte, whose February 2018 CMO Survey noted that reliance on marketing analytics to make decisions increased 30 percent over the preceding year.
An online Bachelor of Science in Marketing can help students develop these in-demand competencies. This degree can improve their communication and analytical skills as well as foster the strategic insight to act on data. Given the significance of marketing in businesses' success, graduates can go on to pursue positions in almost any industry that interests them.
To prepare students for these careers, the curriculum for such programs typically involves the study of market analysis methods, consumer behavior, product and service development, and advertising and promotion management. The coursework should cover business-to-consumer and business-to-business marketing strategies so students can create and manage messaging for various audiences.
The following career paths may be of interest to those who are considering a bachelor's degree in marketing.
Marketing managers estimate the demand for products and services organizations and their competitors offer. They research target audiences and demographics to identify potential markets, and they develop adjacent or related offerings for cross-selling and upselling opportunities.
Marketing managers also coordinate with product development experts and manufacturing specialists to determine pricing strategies. Their goals include helping organizations maximize profits and market share while ensuring that they can address customer expectations with competitive pricing and unique selling points.
This position also frequently requires collaboration with other specialists. Marketing managers interact with advertising experts in digital, social, print and traditional on-air media as well as coordinate with public relations teams and reputation management experts.
Opportunities for marketing managers are projected to grow 10 percent between 2016 and 2026, faster than the national average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which also noted that the median marketing manager salary was $132,230 as of May 2017.
Market research analyst
Market research analysts evaluate organizations' target demographics and competitors and gather data to help companies promote their products or services. They analyze past customer records, social media reports, market analysis surveys, raw data purchased from commercial data banks and more. Market research analysts typically require some level of technical knowledge as today's data analysis involves online statistical models and analytics software.
These research experts evaluate consumer demographics, preferences, needs and buying habits. They also analyze competitor prices, sales and marketing methods to determine their companies' or clients' positions in the marketplace. Market research analysts deliver vital information on potential markets, product demand and pricing to sales and advertising departments to create advertising messages, sales plans and product promotions.
The BLS reported that the 2017 median market research analyst salary was $63,230 and projected 23 percent job growth in the profession between 2016 and 2026 – more than double the national average for all occupations.
Sales managers' responsibilities vary with the size of their organizations. They will typically collaborate with managers from other departments in the organization to maximize sales and drive new marketing initiatives. Most sales managers depend on effective marketing to meet their goals and often provide advertising departments with data and insights into local and regional responses to marketing campaigns.
Sales managers who have knowledge of market research and data analytics can leverage available information on customer shopping habits to identify potential prospects and create customized sales campaigns in conjunction with a larger marketing and advertising department.
The median sales manager salary in 2017 was $121,060, according to the BLS, which also projected related job opportunities will increase 7 percent from 2016 to 2026, on par with the national average for all occupations.
Social media specialist
Social media specialists focus on digital brand awareness, information dissemination, customer service, community management and advertising.
These professionals need strong, adaptive communication skills, keen consumer perception, time management abilities and even an analytical mindset. A team-focused approach is also important as social media marketers often work closely with PR specialists to coordinate efforts.
The median social media specialist salary, which falls under the same category as PR specialists, was $59,300 in 2017, according to the BLS. The BLS career outlook for social media specialists noted that the increased use of social media as a way for businesses to communicate with the public may mean there are ample opportunities for work in this field, but due to the popularity of social media, candidates can face significant competition for these roles.
Learn more about your potential career in marketing
Demand for marketing specialists continues to expand as companies adapt to emerging trends and analytics drive new understandings of consumer behavior and buying patterns. Marketing professionals create and manage the strategies that generate revenue and establish their companies and clients as industry leaders.
"Without marketing, without the top line, there is no bottom line," says Doug Olsen, Department of Marketing associate chair for the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. “Marketing is about expecting change in the society around you, and we can do so through a number of different tools we have at our disposal.”
The ASU Online Bachelor of Science in marketing program is among those tools and can help graduates gain the knowledge and skills required to succeed in a field that is increasingly dependent on big data and direct consumer interaction while providing a foundation in the traditional marketing methods and strategies that remain effective.
ASU Online – Online Bachelor of Science in marketing degree
US Digital Marketing Forecast, 2014 To 2019 by Forrester
The CMO Survey February 2018 by Deloitte
Demand for Digital Marketing Skills Research Brief by Burning Glass Technologies
Occupational Outlook Handbook for Advertising, Promotions and Marketing Managers by the Bureau of Labor Statistics
Occupational Outlook Handbook for Market Research Analysts by the Bureau of Labor Statistics