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Is a Master’s Degree in Marketing Worth It?

A master’s degree in marketing provides excellent opportunities for you to experience a versatile career path, introducing you to potentially high-paying, in-demand roles with great job satisfaction and opportunities to enhance your skill set.  An M.S. in Marketing allows you to enhance your résumé, apply to higher-level roles, and learn the advanced marketing skills needed to elevate your career and keep up with future marketing trends. 

Individuals interested in transitioning into marketing do so from a variety of positions, including retail sales, customer support, and business management: all roles that provide useful transferable skills. Modern marketing is dynamic and exciting, and overlaps with many other disciplines, including business, social sciences, humanities, communication, digital media, and technology.

What Is a Master’s Degree in Marketing?

The marketing landscape is ever-changing as economic trends and consumer habits evolve year after year. Beyond understanding effective sales skills and basic knowledge of the touchstones of advertising, key learnings of a master’s degree program involve solid training in marketing and critical insight into the latest industry methods and strategies. 

Pursuit of this degree also offers an in-depth understanding of the organizational aspects that help companies operate efficiently to achieve success. Robust marketing strategies developed by skilled marketers can boost sales, advertisements, public relations, and promotions and can significantly impact the bottom line of a business or organization.

 While a bachelor’s degree opens the door to entry-level jobs in the marketing sector, a master’s provides the advanced skills needed to secure mid- and-higher-level roles, including managerial positions. Master’s-level programs offer more effective development, enhancement, and refinement of marketing techniques critical to the success of local, national, and global businesses. 

 In this influential and lucrative field, there are always new  skills to learn to help you become a better marketer and craft stronger business strategies. From SEO to content creation, data analytics, e-commerce, and more, a marketing degree prepares you with the latest tools and resources necessary for real-world success. 

For individuals interested in focusing their skill set to a certain area, some master’s marketing degrees offer the chance to specialize in digital marketing or marketing analytics. These marketing programs are especially helpful in preparing you for a variety of areas, including: 

  • Project management: Marketing project management is the process of planning, overseeing, and delivering marketing-related projects. The project management process centers on a framework developed by a project manager, owner, team lead, or head of marketing. 
  • Content marketing: Content marketing is defined as the process of publishing written and visual material online for the purpose of attracting leads to your business. These may include blog posts, webpages, e-books, infographics, videos, and other types of media. Effective content marketing helps increase conversions, improve brand awareness, boost revenue, establish yourself as an industry leader, and more. 
  • SEO and SEM: Search engine optimization, or SEO, teaches the technical aspects of improving a website’s position in search results pages to organically improve ranking and awareness. Digital marketing requires marketers to understand online consumer behaviors, and SEO is a key part of an organization’s digital marketing strategy. Search engine marketing, or SEM, uses paid advertising to ensure that a business’s products or services are visible in search engine results pages (SERPs). By implementing principles of SEM, a business positions their products or services to appear as results when users type a particular keyword.
  • Social media marketing: Social media marketing uses social media platforms to connect with audiences to build a brand, generate brand awareness, increase sales, and drive website traffic. Broader audiences are reached by publishing effective content on social media profiles, listening and engaging with followers, analyzing results, and running social media advertisements. 
  • Email marketing: One element of marketing strategy is email marketing and the use of emails to keep customers informed about company news, limited-time offers, product updates, and more. Email marketing is a powerful communication tool to build relationships with potential customers and increase sales efforts. Businesses and organizations use email marketing strategy as an effective and inexpensive way to promote their products or services. 
  • Digital marketing: Digital marketing involves using social media, websites, mobile phones, and other digital platforms for the promotion of a service or product. In today’s digital landscape, audiences increasingly use these outlets to consume and share information, which makes digital marketing an important and highly useful strategy for companies and organizations. 
  • Marketing analytics: Marketing analytics is the practice of using data for the evaluation of a marketing activity’s effectiveness and success. Marketing analytics is crucial to gathering deeper consumer insights, optimizing marketing objectives, and improving returns on investment (ROI) to provide better benefits to marketers and consumers. Analysis allows marketers to achieve greater ROI on marketing investments by demonstrating what is driving conversions, brand awareness, or both. Analytics drive the changes in planning and execution which allow consumers to see a greater number of targeted, personalized ads that address their needs and interests. 

Careers You Can Get with a Master’s Degree in Marketing

A bigger salary isn’t all that a master’s degree offers. It is also a major asset for individuals interested in both staying ahead of the learning curve associated with emerging technology and improving their data-driven decision-making abilities. In addition to practicing strategic leadership, a master’s program helps you to hone valuable soft skills such as critical thinking, professional problem-solving, and interpersonal communication. With this degree, you’ll be ready to manage teams, take the lead on major projects and campaigns, or even become an entrepreneur and run your own business. Just a few of the roles you can pursue with a master’s in marketing include:

E-Commerce Marketing Director

An e-commerce marketing director works in a cross-functional capacity and is responsible for maintaining and optimizing an e-commerce company’s website, as well as other sales channels, to sell products online. Depending on the company or organization, the responsibilities of an e-commerce marketing director role may vary. 

Some common responsibilities include taking on various facets of online operations, business planning, and marketing strategies. A director of e-commerce uses their skill set and knowledge to provide analysis of market trends, develop strategies to build brand awareness, offer insight on increasing online sales, and think of new ways to improve customer acquisition and retention. The average salary of an e-commerce marketing director in the United States was $180,047. The typical salary range falls between $157,631 and $205,183.

User Experience (UX) Director

The director of user experience, leads a company’s UX department, overseeing a team that designs and tests software. In this role, you provide feedback on the visual and creative elements of a process with the goal of making things user-friendly. 

Additional responsibilities include dedicating time researching within the field, developing consumer scenarios to test products, and cross-functional team collaborations, primarily with product strategy and product design personnel, to find effective strategies and solutions to improve products. The average director of user experience salary is $133,732 in the U.S. The salary range may vary from $88,000 a year (lower 10%) to approximately $201,000 a year (top 10%).

Marketing Research Manager

The research manager works closely with vendors or market research project directors, ensuring the successful execution of the fieldwork. Upon completion, the marketing research manager reviews the collected data, authors reports, and makes recommendations to the sponsoring client. The marketing research manager is tasked with selecting the right research methodology and supporting techniques and strategies to meet a business objective. In this role, the manager develops or assists with the development of the appropriate research instrument. 

The average market research manager salary in the $122,620. The typical salary range falls between $108,501 and $137,392.

Marketing Director

A marketing director oversees managing all aspects associated with the development and implementation of any given campaign. This role is responsible for strategizing and analyzing, while leading a team to ensure that workflows run smoothly from start to finish with clients and colleagues. This role is at the helm of a company or organization’s marketing department and therefore requires in-depth knowledge of marketing strategy, analysis, campaign execution, and staff management  to create robust and effective campaigns. 

The average marketing director salary in the U.S. is $175,733. The typical salary range falls between $156,466 and $198,650.

Creative Director

A creative director works to develop and oversee innovative initiatives from conception to completion. They set the tone for a company or organization’s newest marketing, advertising, or creative campaign, controlling its narrative. Determining the creative vision of a brand or project and manifesting those ideas via digital, print, and film installations are the key roles of the creative director. 

The goal of a creative director is to maintain the cohesive look and feel of a project, ensuring that the visuals, messaging, and any interactive and motion designs are on point. The creative director also oversees establishing budgets and timelines while managing client relationships. The average creative director salary in the U.S. is 137,859. The typical salary range falls between $116,528 and $161,810.

Brand/Product Manager

Product managers (also called “brand managers”) are responsible for setting business objectives and marketing strategies as well as defining profits, market shares, sales, and turnover. In this role, the product manager identifies the customer's need and the larger business objectives that a product, feature, or brand will fulfill; articulates what success looks like; and rallies a team to turn that goal into a reality. 

The average product/brand manager salary in the U.S. is $139,444. The typical salary range falls between $122,164 and $156,750.

Marketing Executive

A marketing executive is a professional who is primarily responsible for developing and implementing marketing campaigns that promote a company's products or services. They may also work to promote an event or campaign for an organization. This role includes numerous responsibilities, including delegating tasks and final say in the planning phase, participating in public relations, organizing events, developing products, performing research, and advertising. 

Marketing executives may work exclusively for one company as part of their marketing department or may work for many organizations to complete various marketing projects and goals. Common industries for marketing executives include retail, media, and finance, though a marketing executive can work in nearly any industry. The average top sales and marketing executive salary in the U.S. is $300,833. The typical salary range falls between $252,362 and $363,745. 

Sales Channel Development Manager

A channel development manager is responsible for the promotion and marketing of a company's products and services within a sector of the market working through specific channels. They do this in collaboration with other personnel such as marketing and sales employees. 

Key responsibilities of the sales channel development manager include coming up with marketing strategies and campaigns, conducting market research, and altering plans as needed. Other duties may involve analyzing the research conducted, creating and adjusting budgets and timelines, and determining the best platforms and channels for a company’s business goals. 

A sales channel development manager may also oversee marketing teams and personnel, including hiring and training new employees, and managing channel marketing communications. The average channel development manager salary is $86,573. The average salary range falls between $80,745 and $96,833.

The marketing field is a vast landscape and deciding what specialization or career path to pursue may seem daunting. A master's degree in marketing offers the opportunity to explore several of these courses and discover your strengths and interests to choose the right program for you.

How to Build a Successful Marketing Career

As the global demand for marketers rises alongside social media and internet marketing, it’s becoming easier to build a successful career in this fast-growing industry. While recent graduates will likely compete with many applicants for any marketing role, candidates with the advanced skills and knowledge of a master’s degree can expect to have a strong advantage in the job market and with prospective employers.

 Individuals with a bachelor’s degree in disciplines other than marketing can also benefit from the master’s degree program at WGU. An ideal choice for future marketing leaders and individuals passionate about advancing their skill set, the WGU master’s in marketing program offers valuable experience that can translate to higher earning jobs. The WGU master’s in marketing also introduces you to industry-recognized certifications and skills through our collaboration with Google and HubSpot.  The overall employment rate in the marketing field, including in advertising, promotions, and for marketing managers, is projected to grow by 10% from 2021 to 2031, according to the latest projections from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Offered entirely online, WGU’s flexible courses can be completed at any time that works best for you, so you can move through the material at your own pace. They’re also designed with input from industry leaders to make sure that each student graduates with the experience they need to thrive in the real world. Learn more about exciting careers in marketing and how an M.S. in Marketing from WGU can change your future and help you land the job of your dreams.


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