Facts About Marketing Degree

University Degree: What is a Marketing Major?


Marketing, a specialization within business studies, is concerned with delivering products and services from producers to consumers. Marketing majors learn to make decisions about product design and quality, pricing, advertising, selling, and distribution.

Marketing includes activities that identify and devise ways to satisfy consumer wants and needs using an organization's products and services.

Majors in the field learn that marketing is more than just advertising and selling; it involves examining consumer opinions, attitudes, and tastes, both in the United States and worldwide. The principles of marketing help organizations decide what products and services people want, forecast the demand for them, and arouse consumer interest in them.

Students learn the role of marketing in the economy and the primary functions of marketing professionals. They study the four fundamental elements: (1) the products and services consumers want, (2) the prices buyers are willing to pay, (3) the role of intermediaries like wholesalers and retailers, through whom products and services flow from producers to buyers, and (4) the method of communicating with prospective customers through advertising, personal selling, and publicity.

Students of marketing major learn how goods and services are catered to businesses and individual consumers. Business-to-business marketing is concerned with products like computers, copying machines, steel, or chemicals that are sold to other businesses. Consumer marketing deals with goods like automobiles, appliances, packaged goods (food, paper products, soaps, and other everyday items) and services such as insurance and banking.

Courses in marketing principles and marketing management instruct students to develop and implement plans to market products and services with success. Other courses specialize in an exclusive aspect of marketing management. Marketing research, generally required of all marketing majors, utilizes surveys, experiments, test markets, and other research processes to obtain the information necessary for effective marketing decisions. Advertising management touches on the design, testing, execution, and monitoring of advertising campaigns. (Marketing majors are normally not involved in the creative efforts necessary to actually design and make advertisements.) Courses in selling and sales management focus on the psychology of effective selling and the management of salespeople (recruiting, selecting, training, organizing, and motivating). Courses in marketing channels analyze institutions (retailers, wholesalers, industrial distributors) that work as intermediaries between manufacturers and buyers.

Marketing major is commonly offered in schools of management or business. Majors take the courses needed of all business students, and about half the course work is in the liberal arts. Business programs often require one marketing course for all students, and the marketing major takes 4 to 6 additional marketing courses.

There are career opportunities for marketing graduates in personal selling, advertising, retailing, and marketing research. Jobs in personal selling provide independence, potential for high compensation, and opportunities for advancement. Advertising careers exist in client organizations that use advertising, like manufacturers, retail stores, and other companies; in advertising agencies, which specialize in producing and placing the ads; and in media, like newspapers, magazines, and radio and television stations.  Retailing careers usually take one of two paths: merchandising (which includes selecting and buying products for resale, setting prices, and coordinating promotions and advertising) and retail management (which involves the supervision of store personnel, management of the store facilities, and responsibility for the store's financial performance). Market researchers could work in independent firms that specialize in research about consumers and markets or with in-house market research staffs in several large companies. Every year, most positions that are open to graduates majoring in marketing are in personal selling and retailing, whereas relatively fewer positions are available in the other careers.

The major in marketing could lead to a job as a market research analyst, retail buyer, advertising media buyer, retail store manager, market analyst, sales representative, sales manager, or public relations representative. With an M.B.A., graduates should find jobs as product managers, advertising account executives, or marketing consultants.