Marketing Careers Jobs, Salaries, and Paths in the Art of Persuasion

This guide was written by

MoneyGeek Staff

Marketing has long been an important part of any successful business. From catchy jingles and slogans to complex multimedia campaigns, marketing is what brings consumers and companies together. Anyone interested in this field can choose to pursue a wide range of careers, from content writing to graphic design or public relations to account management. Find out more about job opportunities and how you can become an essential part of a company’s marketing team.

Types of Opportunities in Marketing

A marketer’s ultimate goal is persuasion — getting a target audience to engage in a desired behavior, such as buying a product or service. Large marketing firms or departments within companies employ a variety of marketers, with specialization in specific disciplines becoming more common as technology and the online world expands. Listed below are some examples of marketing careers so you can start exploring your options.

Sales Manager

Sales managers are like coaches. They set goals, motivate their team, craft strategies for finding clients, and assign roles in the hopes of maximizing profit. But they also have responsibilities to customers and may find themselves creating discounts to attract new customers or fielding questions and complaints from existing customers.

  • Job Outlook (2014 to 2024): 5%

  • Minimum education requirements:

    Bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, communications, or related.

Advertising Manager

Advertising managers plan campaigns to build a brand and spur interest in a company’s products and services. They work with art directors, sales agents, and financial staff to design advertising campaigns, work with outside advertising agencies, and manage company spending for paid advertising placement. The job also entails regular reporting of results to clients/management.

  • Job Outlook (2014 to 2024): 9%

  • Minimum education requirements:

    Bachelor’s degree in marketing, communications, business or related

Promotions Manager

The promotions manager conceives and executes special events and customer-engagement campaigns that highlight a company, a special offer, or a limited-time incentive to buy products and services. Promotions managers may also have oversight of customer loyalty programs that provide rewards such as frequent flier perks for airline customers or gift certificates for retail customers who accumulate points earned from their purchases.

  • Job Outlook (2014 to 2024): 9%

  • Minimum education requirements:

    Bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, communications, or related.

Marketing Manager

Marketing managers oversee their department or team, guiding staff from different specialties to achieve the company’s marketing goals. The marketing manager also creates and delivers campaign reports to senior management, plans budgets, and supervises creative decisions.

  • Job Outlook (2014 to 2024): 9%

  • Minimum education requirements:

    Bachelor’s degree in marketing, communications, or related.

Associate Marketer

This entry-level position is often responsible for a combination of sales promotions and content creation. Associates for a time may work across departments at larger firms to assess areas where they may be best suited.

  • Job Outlook (2014 to 2024): 9%

  • Minimum education requirements:

    Associate’s degree marketing or related.

Advertising Sales Agent

A primarily print media position, a sales agent attracts specific brands to advertise in their organization’s publication, making sure all the advertising space is filled. The position requires networking, pricing and selling, and corresponding with the client until the ad runs.

  • Job Outlook (2014 to 2024): -3%

    (Because print media is giving way to online content, advertising sales agents are in less demand than they used to be. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics points out that the decline is less dramatic than other positions in print media.)

  • Minimum education requirements:

    High school diploma

Marketing Director/Communications Director

This mid- to senior-level professional oversees and manages all marketing/communications efforts within a company.

  • Job Outlook (2014 to 2024): 9%

  • Minimum education requirements:

    Bachelor’s degree in marketing or related; MBA may be preferred by some employers. Several years of experience is also typically required.

Marketing Executive

At the top of the career ladder, seasoned marketing executives oversee all teams associated with the marketing process to ensure company goals are met. In addition to companies, executive opportunities may be found at boutique and specialty agencies that provide specific marketing services such as social media, custom content creation, and niche services like mobile messaging programs that push marketing content directly to consumers via their smart phones.

  • Job Outlook (2014 to 2024): 9%

  • Minimum education requirements:

    Bachelor’s degree in marketing or communications.

Market Research Analyst
  • Projected Outlook (2014 to 2024): 19%

  • Education and Training:

    Bachelor’s degree in marketing

Public Relations Specialist
  • Projected Outlook (2014 to 2024): 6%

  • Education and Training:

    Bachelor’s degree in marketing or communications

Sales manager
  • Projected Outlook (2014 to 2024): 5%

  • Education and Training:

    Bachelor’s degree in marketing

Media Buyer
  • Projected Outlook (2014 to 2024): 2%

  • Education and Training:

    Bachelor’s degree in advertising

Data Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014

Marketing Salary Trends

Much like other career fields, salaries for marketing professionals can vary depending on specific role, location, experience, educational background, and the type of employer. Below is a closer look at recent salary trends for various types of marketing careers to give you an idea of what to expect:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015

How Do I Know if Marketing Right for Me?

An engaging personality coupled with the desire to persuade are key attributes for a successful and enjoyable career in marketing. Outgoing, extroverted individuals whose charisma routinely charms other people may be more suited to the field. If you’re interested in shaping the way others see the world, a career in marketing could be good option for you.

Required and Preferred Skills

Exceptional interpersonal communication skills

Marketers must be able to interact verbally and in writing with fellow professionals at all levels. This includes client communications, where the marketer may deal with demanding clients whose business goals must be met and their expectations effectively managed. Marketing is expensive, and clients will also require regular updates on the work their money pays for.

Analytical knowledge

Managing big data sets is now an essential component of marketing strategy, both to plan campaigns and measure their success in terms of online visitors, completed sales, and public favorability ratings of a company.

Creativity and flexibility

Creativity in marketing is about expressing concepts in unique and appealing ways, while also identifying untapped strategies for getting a message across. Open to exploring untried techniques and developing new ways of promoting clients.

Negotiation and persuasion

The ability to sell an idea and achieve consensus is key for marketers, especially when working with skeptical clients.

Social media prowess

Understanding of the significant role platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can play in marketing a message. Able to post content that engages an audience and invites participation.

Technologically savvy

Technology has a strong impact on marketing, which means marketers must be technologically savvy in order to do their jobs.

Project management skills

Marketers must be big-picture thinkers who can effectively push forward each step of the process. As a result, strong project management skills are a must. In addition, marketers must be able to juggle multiple projects for different clients while meeting goals and deadlines.

Basic computer use

All marketing professionals need to be familiar with Mac or PC office software, including Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and creative suites like Affinity for Mac.

Data analysis

Marketers are skilled at explaining the story behind the numbers, using tools like Google Analytics to measure, for instance, growth in visits to a website and the number of completed sales as a percentage of those visits. Marketers must be able to use various data analysis tools and translate their analyses into a strategic plan.

Photography, video equipment and post-production software

Digital video and cameras are used to create visuals that complement written content on websites, blogs, and printed brochures. Photography skills are not complete without the ability to edit and manipulate imagery using software tools such as Photoshop, After Effects and Final Cut Pro.

Marketing Degrees by Level

A bachelor’s degree in marketing or a related field such as communications is the basic education requirement for most entry-level marketing careers. Degrees are available through traditional colleges and universities, as well as online programs. When choosing a program of study, consider the value of intangibles such as networking opportunities with alumni currently in the marketing field, as well as job placement services after graduation. Below is a look at marketing degrees by level:

Associate Degree

Although a bachelor’s degree is usually the minimum requirement for marketing careers, some employers may accept an associate degree and relevant experience for certain entry-level roles. In an associate degree in marketing, students explore the fundamentals of marketing – such as consumer behavior, research, and brand management – and learn how to identify and meet market demands. These skills can help prepare students for entry-level careers that focus on marketing, branding, or promotion. Courses at this level are designed to give students a solid overview of key theories and practices, and typically cover topics in retail, communication, social media, B2B marketing and branding, and promotion. Examples include:

  • Microeconomics

  • Macroeconomics

  • Applied Statistics

  • Managerial Accounting

  • Introduction to Marketing

  • Consumer Behavior

Bachelor’s Degree

The bachelor’s degree in marketing has changed in recent years, due to the Internet’s significant role in business, promotions, and branding. At this level, students gain more exposure to the field by studying concepts such as strategic marketing, market research and segmentation, product development, valuation and pricing, and relationship building. Further exploration of consumer behavior is also part of the bachelor’s degree curriculum, but now students assess this from a more global perspective. Required courses will likely include:

  • Marketing Principles

  • Managing Customer Relationships

  • Consumer Behavior

  • Marketing Research

  • Global Marketing

  • Strategic Marketing Management

Master’s Degree

For those looking for more advanced roles, a master’s degree in marketing may help you achieve that goal. In this program, students focus on advanced concepts in brand building, campaign planning and analysis, audience engagement, and critical thinking. The goal is to enhance decision-making skills and be able to provide more effective and creative solutions to clients’ marketing needs. A capstone project where students demonstrate their advanced knowledge is usually required before graduation. Curriculum will vary from college to college, but is likely to include:

  • Multinational Market Strategies

  • Marketing Analytics

  • Strategic Internet Marketing

  • Ethical and Legal Issues in Marketing

  • Project Management

  • Supply Chain Management

PhD in Marketing

A doctorate degree in marketing is necessary if you wish to move into an academic research role or want to teach at a college or university. At this level, study usually includes several seminars and core courses to help prepare the student for individual research in a particular area of the field. A majority of the program is dedicated to researching and writing a dissertation, which the student must defend before an academic panel before graduation. Courses may include:

  • Social Science Research Methods

  • Marketing Models

  • Special Topics in Marketing

  • Game Theory

  • Data Mining

  • Modern Statistics

While a degree in marketing may be the most obvious choice, there are other related degrees that can lead to a career in the field. Examples include:

Communications

A degree in communications helps students build skills to effectively interact with different audiences. Courses in rhetoric promote persuasive communications skills, while classes in composition teach students how to craft messages for different needs. Most programs offer classes on topics such as mass communication in society, public relations, multimedia storytelling, and communication psychology.

Business

Because marketing is such a big part of any business it’s no surprise that a degree in business can prepare you for a career in this field. Business degrees offer a broad understanding of business operations and usually spend a part of the program on marketing management and analysis.

Specializations

Because there are nearly limitless ways to connect with and convince people, marketing jobs tend to follow specialties. This opens up a world of career paths that can only expand as technology continues to advance. The proliferation of web-based marketing methods has created many opportunities for marketers to specialize. A few specializations are mentioned below:

Search Engine Optimization

Marketers in this role develop content that search engines like Google will identify and promote with higher page rankings. Search engines display 10 results per page. Because companies want to be on page one of a search result, they will hire SEO gurus to help them get there. SEO experts identify keywords used by people searching for a particular product or service, then write articles, blog posts, and other content using these words in the right concentration to improve page rankings.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

SEM pros craft online paid advertising campaigns that place the client’s message front-and-center before an audience. These paid advertisements pay companies for every click, so the skilled SEM specialist must be able to identify the keywords that will attract qualified customers — those most likely to be interested in a product or service, and with the means to buy.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketers promote their clients on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, creating messages that invite customers to participate and respond. Here, interaction with customers is usually the key goal. SMM experts work to build rapport and community around a company or a specific product or service.

Inbound Marketing

Data-driven inbound marketers develop SEO content and manage SEM advertising campaigns to draw visitors to a company’s website. Goals include driving more traffic to the company and converting shoppers into buyers. The marketer builds editorial calendars for planning content publication, works to steer online traffic to landing pages to promote sales and may coordinate a company’s email and social-media strategies with SEO/SEM efforts.

Social Media

In this specialty the marketer creates and manages the client’s social media profiles and postings on sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other channels specific to the client’s target audience. The work involves monitoring activity on social media platforms to ensure the company’s brand is upheld at all times, as well as encouraging visitors to share and repost content.

Market Research

Market research is all about studying market conditions in a particular industry to identify the potential sales of a product or service and estimate its profitability. Professionals in this area also study and gather data about who will buy a product and at what price.

Email Marketing

A variant of direct-mail marketing, this niche area involves crafting email that people will open and read, rather than divert straight to their spam folder. Successful email marketing incorporates a call to action, such as inviting the reader to visit a landing page or view a short video clip embedded in the email. Marketers in this area also grow a company’s email list organically by encouraging readers to share the communications.

Other Requirements for Employment

Certification can enhance your skills and expertise in a particular area of marketing. The field doesn’t require any formal certification, but earning one can help you stand out in the crowd when applying for jobs. Examples of certificate programs for marketers include:

Google Analytics Academy

Google’s free online education program includes videos and practical exercises to prepare for the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ) test. Taking the courses is free; the test is $50.

Market Motive

Earn a certificate in digital marketing techniques such as conversion optimization and web analytics. Prices vary by course.

National Institute for Social Media

A certificate from the institute denotes competency in social media strategies for engaging audiences on platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

Places of Employment

Marketing jobs for the most part will be found in creative agencies and firms or within companies and organizations that have their own marketing departments.

Major marketing firms

The top three fastest growing private marketing firms in the U.S. are Showroom Logic, AdKarma, and Revimedia, according to Inc.’s 2014 ranking. The largest marketing firms typically organize staff into teams built around specialties, such as SEO, SEM, branding, and promotions.

Small and mid-sized firms

In this setting, staff can expect to work across disciplines and develop skills in several marketing specialties. This affords a good training experience for career advancement, either into management or with a larger marketing firm.

Companies and corporations

From up-and-coming startups to large retailers and manufacturers, companies and corporations employ in-house marketing teams to advance the corporate brand and boost sales. These positions require marketers to dive deeply into a well-defined product line or suite of services offered by their employer.

Marketing Job Hunting Resources

The fastest way to build a list of prospective marketing jobs is to hit the online job boards devoted to them. Keep an eye on the posting dates and focus on the most recent. Above all, when responding to a job posting, use the opportunity to show off those persuasive skills. Grab attention with the opening sentence, set yourself apart by promoting how your work experience has produced desired results. Relate this to the company’s mission wherever possible to demonstrate you understand their business objectives.

Below are a few marketing job search resources to get you going. Some require a membership in the marketing organization to access employment opportunities. Most require a simple registration with a valid email address to unlock the job listings.

  • American Marketing Association

    Free job board open to everyone, with searchable database.

  • Colloquy Jobs Board

    Listing of opportunities for professionals in loyalty marketing, a specialty that promotes customer benefits and discounts for repeat business. Accessing this jobs board requires a login either through LinkedIn or creating a free account with Colloquy.

  • MarketingHire.com

    An aggregator job board that also posts opportunities to all Market Career Network members.

  • Mediabistro

    Mediabistro offers a wealth of resources and information for anyone looking to work in media, which includes various marketing jobs. Users can find career advice articles, keep up with industry news, and search job openings across the U.S. when they’re ready to start applying.

  • TalentZoo.com

    Searchable job listings with a focus on marketing for tech companies.

  • Upwork.com

    Some marketers work on a freelance or project basis, rather than full-time. Marketing professionals can offer their services via freelancing networks such as Upwork and use their skills to help a number of clients all over the world.

Marketing Internships

Internships offer real world marketing experience, which is essential on a fresh resume with little more to promote than a college degree. Additionally, if you’re thinking about going into a particular specialty, an internship is a great way to test the waters. A sampling of internships around the U.S. is below:

Complex

Location: New York, NY

The SEO intern at Complex will be responsible for SEO efforts for Complex.com. Specific tasks include link building, site analysis, copywriting, and competitive analysis.

Human Rights Campaign

Location: Washington, D.C.; Little Rock, AK; Jackson, MS; and Birmingham, AL

This unpaid internship focuses on the organization’s media relations and publications. Interns gain exposure to outreach strategies and help produce marketing materials such as booklets, pamphlets, ads, and brochures for a non-profit organization.

NPR

Location: Washington, D.C.

The social media intern at NPR will assist the Senior Manager of Social Marketing with content creation on blogs and social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Vine, and Periscope. Applicants must have a BS or BA in marketing, communications, journalism, new media or a related field.

Square

Location: San Francisco, CA

The global communications intern will be help create communication materials that are simple, smart, and innovative. Examples of content include briefing docs, FAQs, blog and social media posts, and communications plans. Interns will work cross-functionally.

Yelp

Location: Columbus, OH

Working closely with the Community Manager, Yelp’s marketing intern will help develop and execute marketing events and guerilla marketing campaigns. Social media management and online community building will also be part of this role.

Professional Associations & Organizations

Professional marketing associations offer affordable opportunities for continuing education in the field plus ongoing discussion of best practices. Besides these benefits, a key reason many marketers join a professional organization is to network — many marketing associations hold national and regional conferences where marketers can share ideas and discuss job openings. To stay current in the field, consider membership in one of the following professional associations:

American Marketing Association

AMA connects members and marketing academics to the people and education resources they need to be successful.

Business Marketing Association

Devoted to the needs of business-to-business (B2B) marketers, BMA has 16 chapters across the country. Members outside of these areas can still access toolkits, take webinars and apply for financial awards from the organization.

Direct Marketing Association

Members of the DMA are involved in promoting multiple facets of this marketing specialty, which has moved beyond direct mail to include online and mobile marketing.

Internet Marketing Association

Free to join, the IMA was founded in 2001 with a diverse membership in sales, marketing, business ownership, programming and creative development.

Mobile Marketing Association

The MMA is an organization of marketers focused on delivering content through smart phones and other mobile devices. Members can read up on case studies and research documenting the effectiveness of mobile marketing.

Web Marketing Association

A multidiscipline association devoted to online marketers, WMA maintains a directory of resources to suit all specialties.

Updated: July 27, 2017