Marketing is an interesting major that blends psychology, business, mathematics, and lots of creativity. It can lead to a rewarding career promoting products and services to the target audience of just about any business. The field of marketing is rapidly evolving, so marketing majors are likely to find plenty of opportunities and a solid salary after graduation.
Of course, the idea of a “good” major is relative. For you, a good major is one in an area that you’re good at and enjoy. You might also consider what classes you’ll take, what careers you can pursue, and your future salary prospects.
In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to decide whether marketing is a good major for you!
What Is Marketing?
Marketing is all about convincing consumers to buy your product or service over the competition. It involves deeply understanding your target audience (the people you want to buy what you’re selling), then making sure your products, communication, and overall customer experience fit their needs.
It sounds simple, but marketing is a complex process. It involves research, product development, advertising, selling, customer service, customer experience, content strategy, branding, and so much more. Marketing also touches numerous platforms, from email to social media to a company’s website. It’s part of just about every aspect of a business, meaning marketers play an essential role in most companies!
What Careers Can I Go Into with a Marketing Major?
Marketing is involved in many aspects of doing business, so earning a marketing major gives you many potential career options. You can specialize in research, content, public relations, branding, or another area that interests you.
A master’s degree is recommended for some senior positions in the field. After earning your bachelor’s degree, you may want to pursue a Master of Science in Marketing (MSM) or a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Marketing. In some cases, you can earn your bachelor’s degree, start in an entry-level marketing job, and advance within the organization.
Here are a few possibilities for marketing majors:
- Market research analyst
- Marketing manager
- Marketing specialist
- Content strategist
- Copywriter for marketing agency
- Search engine optimization (SEO) specialist
- Chief marketing officer
- Digital marketing manager
- Digital marketing specialist
- Public relations manager
- Public relations specialist
- Social media manager
- Sales manager
- Data analyst
- Head of business development
- Director of brand marketing
- Email marketing manager
Pursuing a marketing major can lead you to a variety of titles within an organization. If you earn an advanced degree, you can even transition to other areas of senior leadership, like becoming a CEO. Since marketing is so ingrained in successful business operations, having a marketing background is helpful in other leadership roles as well.
How Is the Job Market for Marketing Majors?
Marketing majors gain highly sought after workplace skills, including:
- Quantitative and qualitative research skills
- Data analysis (a vital skill in the digital era)
- Creative thinking
- Business knowledge and strategy
These valuable skills make marketing majors strong candidates for more jobs than you might expect. Every company needs someone who can make sense of data. Creative thinkers and problem solvers are essential, especially in competitive markets. And team members who can collaborate and communicate effectively are always welcome in the workplace. Plus, marketing is huge in the digital era, and the world is becoming more virtual than ever.
But let’s take a closer look. Here’s the job outlook for some of the most popular careers for marketing majors, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- Market Research Analyst: 18% projected growth rate through 2029
- Marketing Manager: 6% projected growth rate through 2029
- Public Relations Specialist: 7% projected growth rate through 2029
- Content Strategist: 13% projected growth rate through 2029
- Social Media Specialist: 7% projected growth rate through 2029
To really understand these numbers, you need to know that the average projected growth rate for all careers is 4%. For each of these marketing-related careers, the job growth rate is higher than average. And in some cases, particularly when it comes to data, projected growth is much higher.
As competition grows, companies need marketers to help them stand out. And in our increasingly digital world, marketers play a central role in effective communication with consumers through social media, email, websites, virtual events, and more. To put it simply, marketers increase profit. And what business doesn’t want that? It’s safe to say the job market is going strong for marketing majors.
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What Salary Does a Marketing Major Earn?
Since earning a marketing major opens many doors, there’s significant variation in the salary you can expect to earn. To give you a general idea, we’ll take another look at the five common marketing jobs listed above. This time, we’ll focus on the average salary using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and PayScale:
- Market Research Analyst: $65,810
- Marketing Manager: $141,490
- Public Relations Specialist: $62,810
- Content Strategist: $62,182
- Social Media Specialist: $45,467
As you can see, marketing majors have a wide potential salary range. The dollar amounts listed here are averages. For most of these careers, you can expect six figures at the higher end after developing your experience and expertise. These numbers also vary according to where you live and what sort of company you end up working for. In general, there’s plenty of opportunity to earn a high salary as a marketing major.
What Do I Study as a Marketing Major?
Marketing majors study business principles, management, statistical analysis, finances, technology, advertising, and sometimes psychology. Many schools will require you to take classes in economics and accounting as well. Depending on your personal interests and goals, you may also study writing, design, e-commerce, international marketing, public speaking, product development, social media, and so on.
As a marketing major, you’ll learn how to use data and observations to understand what drives consumer behavior. You will also explore how to identify a target market, then conceptualize, produce, price, and promote products in ways that appeal to this audience. In addition, you’ll gain a broad understanding of how businesses function and how to effectively manage customer relationships.
What Classes Does a Marketing Major Take?
The classes you’ll take depend on the requirements at the school you attend. With that in mind, here are a few sample courses to give you an idea:
- Business Foundations
- Principles of Marketing
- Calculus 1
- Statistics 1
- Principles of Microeconomics
- Principles of Macroeconomics
- Statistics for Business Decisions
- Consumer Behavior
- Marketing Metrics and Analytics
- Principles of Management
- Introduction to Financial Accounting
- Cost Accounting
- Problem Solving Using Computer Software
- Introduction to Information Systems
- Professional Speaking in Business
- Advanced Argumentative Writing
- Foundations of Business Analytics and Artificial Intelligence
- Operations and Supply Chain Management
- Marketing Management
- Legal Environment of Business
- Marketing Research
- Professional Selling
- Business Strategy
- Strategic Marketing Management
- Creative Inquiry in Marketing
- Sports Marketing
- Sport Promotion
- Social Media Marketing
- Promotional Strategy
- Sales Management
- Public and Nonprofit Marketing
- Marketing Product Management
- Advertising Strategy
You won’t need to take all of these courses. College gives you the flexibility to pursue subjects that are most relevant to your interests and career goals. Some foundational courses are required, and you’ll likely need basic business, mathematics, finance, computer, and economics classes.
Once you’ve completed core courses, you get to narrow your focus to the specialty or specialties that appeal to you. In the list above, you can see that the course names become more and more specialized toward the bottom of the list. You might take a deeper dive into analytics, social media, sales, or marketing for a specific industry, like sports or nonprofits.
If you know exactly what you want to do, you may want to become more highly specialized with a master’s degree in your area of interest. This makes you a more competitive applicant and leads to a better salary too.
What Schools Offer a Marketing Major?
Most colleges and universities offer a marketing major or a closely related degree. At some schools, you will need to pursue a general business degree with a concentration in marketing. According to U.S. News, some of the best schools for students interested in marketing are:
- University of Michigan- Ann Arbor
- University of Pennsylvania
- New York University
- University of Texas at Austin
- Indiana University-Bloomington
- University of California-Berkeley
- University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
- University of Virginia
- University of Wisconsin-Madison
- University of Florida
- University of Southern California
- Arizona State University-Tempe
- Baylor University
- Boston College
- Boston University
- Carnegie Mellon University
- Emory University
Since marketing is popular degree, most of the colleges you’re currently interested in probably offer it. Visit each college’s website to see if they have a marketing major, then read about the program in more detail. Another way to determine if the program is a good fit for you is to talk to current and former students, whether in person or on message boards online.
How Do I Know if Marketing Is a Good Fit for Me?
A degree in marketing may be your calling if you’re persuasive, good at thinking creatively and strategically, and interested in what drives people’s behaviors and decisions.
Some helpful skills for marketing majors include:
- Analytical thinking
- Basic understanding of mathematics, especially statistics
- A willingness to think outside the box and take creative risks
- Empathy, or the ability to understand the perspective of other people
- Good with technology
- Fast learner who can keep up with innovation and new tools in the field
- Strong communication abilities
- An interest in the inner workings of a business
In the words of author and entrepreneur Seth Godin, “People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories, and magic.” If you can see yourself in the business of crafting stories, building relationships, and making magic, then a marketing major is for you.
What Steps Can I Take in High School to Prepare for a Marketing Major?
If marketing sounds like it’s right up your alley, you might wonder: What can I do now to prepare to major in marketing?
Here are a few steps you can take in high school:
- Take Honors, AP, and/or IB courses. Sign up for calculus, statistics, and a few courses in sociology or psychology. English is also important—you’ll need strong writing and communication skills. If your high school offers economics or business courses, or a course in public speaking, take those too!
- Earn a high GPA and perform well on standardized tests, including the exams for your AP/IB courses.
- Watch videos, read books, or even take free courses (HubSpot has several) about marketing and related careers.
- Further develop your communication and leadership skills through extracurricular activities and class participation. Look for activities related to finance, business, or computer skills.
- If possible, get an internship or shadow someone with a marketing-related job. These might include marketing managers, content strategists, creative directors, people who work for advertising agencies, etc. You’ll get an idea of the fast-paced and exciting world of marketing, helping you decide if it’s truly the job for you.
These steps will help propel you into a solid marketing program, and they’ll give you the skills to succeed once you arrive. In college, focus on paying attention in class, taking good notes, and applying your knowledge whenever possible. Develop good relationships with professors and peers to build your network. Try to find an internship related to marketing, one that’s as close to your preferred specialty as possible.
Once you earn your degree, leverage your skills, knowledge, and network to help you land a marketing job or a spot in a graduate program. If you’re unsure which avenue to pursue, start checking out job postings and see which ones you’re qualified for. Are you happy or unhappy with these prospects? If happy, start applying! If unhappy, see what additional requirements you’ll need and look into earning an advanced degree.
Final Thoughts: Is Marketing a Good Major?
If you have an interest in business, people, and persuasion, majoring in marketing is a fulfilling way to combine your passions. You will likely excel in the field if you have strong analytical and creative thinking skills and are reasonably good with mathematics and technology. Communication skills such as writing and speaking are also a plus.
Regardless of how you define a “good” major, marketing is a solid choice. You have a wide variety of job prospects, and great potential to earn up to six figures. Marketing is key to the success of most businesses, so the job market is strong and likely to get stronger. It’s a field that will challenge you, give you the opportunity to create and innovate, and reward you with tangible and measurable results.
So, if all of this sounds interesting to you, a marketing major is worth considering!