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Modern-day marketing got its start during the Industrial Revolution, when mass production of goods increased alongside new manufacturing technologies. Demand for marketing professionals remains steady as the field evolves in the digital age.

A degree in marketing can lead to opportunities in several sectors, including business, banking, and technology. Marketing programs teach students about topics such as consumer demographics and behavior, advertising, and marketing strategy.

Why Enroll in an Undergrad Marketing Program?

Many industries value the skills students learn in undergrad marketing programs. Graduates can use their knowledge to run advertising campaigns or start a new business. This guide explores some of the best undergraduate marketing programs to consider.

  • Positive Growth Projections: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects market research analyst jobs will grow 22% from 2020 to 2030. This is much faster than growth projections for all careers, signaling strong demand for marketing professionals. The BLS also projects an average 96,000 new market research analyst positions will open each year over this same period.
  • Multiple Industries: Because nearly every industry invests in marketing for their goods and services, marketing degree-holders can find work in many sectors. These industries include advertising and public relations, computer systems design, and entertainment.
  • Earning Potential: The BLS reports market research analysts earned a $65,810 median annual salary as of 2020, higher than the national average wage. Additional education and certification, further experience, and location can impact earning potential. BLS data shows the marketing research analysts in the 90th percentile for salary earned an average salary of $127,410 as of 2020.

Why You Should Get Your Marketing Degree Online

Online learning has continued to grow in recent years. By eliminating the need to commute or relocate, online programs can offer greater flexibility for students pursuing undergraduate marketing degrees. Asynchronous courses, which are typically self-paced and don't require scheduled meeting times, can often benefit learners with work or family obligations.

Some online courses are offered synchronously, where students use technologies like web conferencing to meet with peers and instructors at scheduled intervals. These classes typically have more rigid deadlines. Some schools offer hybrid programs, which combine online classes with in-person orientations or campus residencies.

Curriculum

A typical marketing curriculum includes core courses, marketing electives, and additional degree requirements like general education classes. Although curricula differ by program, some common marketing courses include:

  • Strategic Marketing Management: This course teaches students to analyze marketing problems; develop strategies; and make tactical, persuasive marketing decisions. Strategic marketing management classes also explore strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat analyses of businesses.
  • Marketing Analytics: In this class, learners study data-centered marketing analysis. Topics include profitability analysis, sales forecasting, budgeting, market segmentation, and supply and demand.
  • Digital Marketing: This course teaches the basics of creating, evaluating, and implementing digital media marketing strategies. Focal approaches include social media, search engine optimization, and using online platforms to influence purchase decisions and convert viewers into customers.
  • Business Intelligence: In this class, learners study key strategies for leveraging customer data to create marketing approaches. The class details the process of identifying and analyzing customer information to more effectively target marketing campaigns.
  • Introduction to Sales: This course introduces students to the selling process. Enrollees examine buyer motivations, sales technologies, and account management, among other topics.

What to Expect From Online Undergrad Marketing Programs

Traditional and online marketing programs share several similarities. They have the same curriculum and degree requirements, often employing the same faculty to teach online and in-person courses. Though online programs lack in-person interaction, students can connect with instructors and peers via web conferencing, discussion boards, and online chats.

Distance learners often cannot attend on-campus events like job fairs, so some schools organize professional networking events specifically for online students. These opportunities help enrollees develop soft skills and connect with industry professionals.

After finishing an undergrad marketing degree and accruing job experience, some students pursue a master of business administration (MBA) degree. This graduate-level degree furthers learners' knowledge of business and marketing concepts. Many MBAs offer specializations that help students land jobs in specific marketing niches.

MBA-holders can qualify for more advanced positions, including managerial roles. These careers typically come with more responsibility and higher earning potential. For example, the BLS reports marketing managers earned a median annual salary of $141,490 as of 2020, more than double the median salary of market research analysts.

Comparing Marketing Bachelor's and MBA Degrees
Bachelor's Degree MBA
Length of Full-Time Study 4 years 1-2 years
Credit Load 120 credits 30-60 credits
Entrance Requirements ACT/SAT scores, high school diploma or GED certificate Bachelor's degree, GMAT or GRE scores, letters of recommendation, professional experience, resume
Graduation Requirements Meeting minimum semester hours, core and general education requirements; completing a senior project Completing credit hours, core specializations, and capstone
Average Annual Tuition Cost, 2019-20 $13,360/year $19,792/year

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Should I Get an MBA in Marketing?

Professionals who want to change careers, secure a promotion, start a business, or qualify for a higher salary may benefit from an MBA. Companies value the skills gained from MBA curricula, which can lead to further professional opportunities and higher salaries.

Career Opportunities After Graduation

Marketing bachelor's degree graduates can find multiple careers across industries. In addition to jobs in the private sector, they can also work for nonprofit organizations, start their own businesses, or pursue a master's degree to qualify for more senior roles.

Marketing Manager

These professionals design and oversee marketing campaigns to ensure their brands' messaging properly targets audiences. They also present reports about marketing and promotion efforts to senior management.

Required Education: Bachelor's degree and relevant work experience
Job Outlook (2020-30): +10%
Median Annual Salary: $141,490

Market Research Analyst

Market research analysts collect and analyze product information and market conditions, identify new sales opportunities and potential markets, and devise and evaluate product marketing methods. A market research analyst typically reports to a marketing manager.

Required Education: Bachelor's degree
Job Outlook (2020-30): +22%
Median Annual Salary: $65,810

Sales Manager

Typical duties for sales managers include overseeing local and regional sales and promotional campaigns, training new sales representatives, and preparing sales budgets. A sales manager typically reports to their company's director of sales.

Required Education: Bachelor's degree and relevant work experience
Job Outlook (2020-30): +7%
Median Annual Salary: $132,290

Chief Financial Officer

This senior executive oversees a company's financial activities. The duties of a CFO usually include financial planning, tracking cash flow, and analyzing the financial strengths and weaknesses of their organization.

Required Education: Master's degree and relevant work experience
Job Outlook (2020-30): +8%
Median Annual Salary: $107,680

Marketing Communications Director

Marketing communications directors perform market research, implement communication strategies, and choose advertising channels for brand awareness and promotion. A marketing communications director usually needs five or more years of experience as a marketing manager to qualify for this position.

Required Education: Master's degree and relevant work experience
Average Annual Salary: $85,290

Common Questions About Marketing Programs

Are marketing degrees in demand?

Marketing degrees are in demand across many industries because of the valuable, versatile marketing and business skills they teach students. The BLS projects careers like market research analyst and marketing manager will grow as fast as average or faster than average from 2020 to 2030.

Do marketing majors make good money?

BLS data shows marketing professionals like marketing managers, market research analysts, and sales managers earned higher-than-average salaries as of 2020. Wages often increase with additional experience or further education.

Is a marketing degree a BA or a BS?

Undergraduate degrees in marketing are available as a bachelor of arts (BA) or a bachelor of science (BS). BA degrees typically focus more on humanities-based courses, while BS degrees concentrate more on science and math courses.

What subjects are in marketing?

Marketing programs cover topics like finance, economics, marketing principles, advertising, business communication, sales, and management. Additional subjects may include math, business writing, and computer classes.

Top Five Online Undergraduate Programs in Marketing

The following ranking includes five of the best online bachelor's degrees in marketing for 2022. These programs can advance or jump-start your career with their in-depth curricula.

Click the link below to learn more about our process for ranking these programs.


Featured Image: Luis Alvarez / DigitalVision / Getty Images

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