Marketing and advertising is a global game, a game that represents more than half a trillion dollars of investment worldwide on an annual basis. According to eMarketer, global advertisers were projected to spend approximately $545 billion dollars on paid media in 2014. Within this global market, the U.S. is by far the largest player in the space, with companies spending more than $180 billion in advertising in 2014.
In the past decade, new marketing channels have emerged, including social and digital marketing, and there is no sign of these trends slowing. Research from Forrester's predicts U.S. advertisers' spending on digital advertising should reach $103 billion by 2019, eclipsing television as the most important advertising medium. The rise of digital marketing is reshaping not only how advertisers interact with consumers, but is reshaping the industry as well and creating entirely new marketing career paths.
In turn, today's marketers should be digitally savvy, socially aware and understand how to connect with consumers through a multitude of media channels, from print to mobile gaming. The best marketers are able to turn abstract concepts into realities, starting with creative concepts and executing them efficiently and effectively.
Marketing opportunities are diverse and growing
Marketing and advertising is woven into the very fabric of the business ecosystem in the United States. Because of this intertwined relationship, prospective students can seek business careers in nearly every industry, from information technology to education, manufacturing and health care.
Forbes' 2014 list of the companies with the best opportunities contains a cross-section of the country's business environment, with companies working in retail, technology, security, publishing, security and more. These include:
- Sears Holdings
Yet it's not only the major Fortune 500 companies that have a deep marketing presence. Private companies represent significant players in the marketing space. In fact, more than 600 advertising and marketing companies made Inc.'s 2014 5000 list, which features the fastest-growing private companies in the country. The five highest-ranked marketing and advertising businesses on the list have three-year average growth rates of greater than 6,400% — evidence that the appetite for marketing and advertising services is expanding significantly. Below is a list of those top ranked companies, with their respective annual revenues:
- No. 26. Showroom Logic, $13.4M in revenue
- No. 31. AdKarma, $13.3M
- No. 41. ReviMedia, $6M
- No. 54. Crowdtap, 5.8M
- No. 61. PMG Worldwide, $45.9M
Career opportunities in marketing
Because of its sheer scope and diversity, marketing offers prospective students multiple career paths across several business sectors, from design to sales, operations to technology. Prospective students should consider how their skills and abilities fit with the various employment opportunities in marketing.
For example, the technically inclined may want to consider graphic design or mobile app development, while those who are outgoing, people-oriented may want to move into advertising sales or public relations. The analytically focused may want to look into market research analyst positions.
Employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a snapshot of the career growth opportunities in some of these fields. For example, below is a list of the projected 2012 to 2022 national employment growth projections by marketing position from the BLS:
- Market research analysts: 32%
- Public relations specialists: 12%
- Marketing managers: 12%
- Graphic designer: 7%
- Sales managers: 8%
Taking the first step towards a marketing career
The major question many aspiring marketing specialists may have is, "Where do I start?"
The answer? With an education.
Education is the gateway to potential careers in marketing. Students can select from several different marketing degrees, including both associate and bachelor's degree programs.
Traditionally designed to be completed in two years, associate degrees in marketing can prepare students for entry-level positions in the industry. Specific courses vary by individual programs, but students in associate degree programs in marketing typically learn about business and marketing fundamentals, including consumer behavior, business communication, organizational marketing and more.
In the marketing world, bachelor's degrees are the more popular and widely accepted educational minimum for a majority of marketing career opportunities. These programs offer students comprehensive curriculum, preparing them for an assortment of potential employment tracks. Students may also specialize their bachelor's degrees in marketing, pursuing studies in areas such as brand management, marketing research, social media and content marketing, digital marketing, entrepreneurial marketing and more.