Marketing—past and present
Beginning in the 1960s, the marketing industry was primarily driven by commercial advertising on television. Companies across the United States took advantage of the new markets available. Products and services became more available to the public primarily because of good marketing. During this golden age, individuals interested in pursuing a marketing career often found themselves in advertising and sales. Although a marketing degree was useful, particularly in upper management level positions, many advertising firms relied on individuals with a competitive drive and excellent communication skills.
In the 21st century, requirements for marketing professionals have become much more technical. Depending on the type of marketing job, employers may seek a host of qualifications from potential job candidates. Political consulting firms might seek individuals with experience in campaign testing, statistical analysis, and data compilation. On the other hand, a new web startup might require financial projections, graphic design experience, or assistance with product development. To be sure, students seeking a career in marketing must obtain significantly more skills and education than their 20th-century counterparts.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, even entry-level marketing jobs typically require a bachelor’s degree. Employers seeking to fill management-level positions most often require an advanced degree. Prerequisites for Master’s degree programs include a variety of courses from statistics and economics to web design and development. Additionally, the marketing industry continues to broaden into global markets through mobile devices, the Internet, and even increased governmental cooperation.
Skills and education required in marketing
In order to succeed in the marketing industry, students must be prepared to develop certain skills and obtain the necessary education to compete in this ever-changing environment. Marketing students must have a strong grasp of current technologies; possess excellent communication and interpersonal skills; and, be willing to conduct sophisticated market research. The training and education provided through an accredited marketing program should lay the foundation for individuals to find employment in the industry.
There are many different degree options for individuals interested in a career in marketing. According to the College Board, marketing students learn sales and product development, requiring analytical and creative skills. Most bachelor degree programs offer courses in consumer behavior, economics, accounting, statistics, market research, management, communication and business. Even most online marketing degree programs offer these essential core classes. However, graduates with a bachelor’s degree in marketing may still find themselves starting at the bottom of the career ladder. Often, marketing firms require additional specialization, training, or an advanced degree.
Because the demands in the marketing industry have increased, most graduate degree programs in marketing have become more specialized and difficult. Core classes in research methodology and statistical analysis produce more highly skilled graduates ready to enter the workplace. For example, the Columbia Business School requires that students have some basic experience using SQL, a database programming language, as well as knowledge of statistics programs such as SPSS, SAS, Stata or Matlab. The school also requires attendance at a math camp prior to joining the Master’s program. Upon graduation, students with a Master’s degree in marketing should have the skills and training necessary to pursue a career in management. According to Salary.com, the average wage for marketing managers ranges between $70,000-$126,000.
Specialization and technology in the marketing industry
In the current job market, individuals seeking a career in marketing may choose from a wide variety of employment options. From the development of a product or service to its packaging and distribution, marketing professionals play a significant role in the success of the merchandise. Although most people in the marketing industry should be tech savvy, specialization is also important. Those who are skilled in collecting and analyzing data, compiling customer and client information, and building reports based on market surveys might find their niche in R&D. While those individuals with experience in web design, PowerPoint presentations, branded marketing communications, and product packaging might be better suited in PR or sales. Regardless of the specialization, marketing professionals must acquire advanced technical skills and be prepared to work in an environment of constant change.
The globalization of information has placed an even greater demand on individuals competing in the marketing industry. Strategies for reaching a greater number of customers, such as mobile technologies and the use of social media, provide ample opportunities for individuals and marketing firms to succeed. However, these technologies also create a more competitive job market. For many in the marketing industry, the ability to use information wisely may be the most important difference between success and failure. In the 21st century, marketing requires an ability to anticipate demand and to stay apprised of current trends.
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