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Studying Business and Marketing

A degree may open the door to a variety of opportunities and diverse career paths. The degree programs offered at CTU will not necessarily lead to the featured careers. This collection of articles is intended to help inform and guide you through the process of determining which level of degree and types of certifications align with your desired career path.

Marketing is defined as the activity and processes for creating, communicating and delivering offers that have value for customers, clients or society.1 Those who work in advertising, promotions or marketing help bring together the understanding of many disciplines. They may use business strategies to help shape the life of a product or service as it relates to real people, and it is their job to generate interest in these products or services across different industries.

Alongside business skills, marketing can rely heavily on research studies, data collection and analysis, and staff management. The body of work that comes from these efforts is what can lead to product updates, advertising, sales and digital marketing success.2 These outputs may ultimately shape the relationship and conversation a business has with its consumers, by way of how the consumers experience the product or services provided by the company.

Marketing roles overall can be critical to a business. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2014, there were approximately 225,000 advertising, promotions and marketing managers throughout the country.2 Careers in marketing may feature unique challenges – and many possible rewards. Typical advertising or marketing jobs involve creative problem-solving and expression, long hours, stress and little recognition. However, if a person is a marketer at heart, they may have fun and genuinely enjoy this challenging career.3

Skills and Characteristics of Marketers

Before diving into the field of marketing, it is important to realize the characteristics a person should have in order to prepare for this career path. Some key skills of advertising, promotions and marketing managers include:2

  • Analytical abilities. Marketers must be able to examine industry trends to determine the most promising strategies for their organization.
  • Communication skills. Marketing professionals should be able to communicate effectively with a broad-based team made up of other managers or staff members during the advertising, promotions or marketing processes. They must also be able to communicate persuasively with the public.
  • Creativity. Marketers must be able to generate new and imaginative ideas.
  • Decision-making skills. These professionals must often choose between competing advertising and marketing strategies put forth by fellow staff.
  • Interpersonal skills. Marketers must deal with a range of people in different roles, both inside and outside of a business.
  • Organizational skills. Marketing professionals must manage their time and budget efficiently while directing and motivating staff members.

What to Expect in the Classroom

Some marketing professionals agree that this field presents a unique, multi-faceted challenge to some students. According to Dr. R. Lee Viar, Lead Instructor in the College of Business and Management at Colorado Technical University (CTU), “Being tech-savvy helps, but a willingness to be receptive to different ideas is important. They’ll study management, research, ethics and communications, to ultimately understand how to go about building the context to explain the ramifications within a data story to others in the company.”

Dr. Viar also points out that a significant misconception exists among students entering marketing programs, confusing marketing with sales: “Marketing is not sales – it’s a different breed of cat, personality-wise. Marketing is for those who thrive on investigative questions, because its function is to educate the consumer; sales are trying to get cash into the register. Marketing is the work behind the creative output. If a student is expecting to be ‘salesman of the year,’ they need to know marketing is more about research, using scientific methodology to analyze situations.”

Types of Marketing Degrees

There are a few different degrees levels and concentrations that prospective marketing professionals can pursue, including:

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Marketing

A bachelor’s degree is required for most advertising, promotions and marketing management positions. For a management position, some employers prefer a bachelor’s degree in advertising or journalism. Some relevant coursework can include studies in marketing, consumer behavior, market research, sales, communication methods and technology, and visual arts.2

Bachelor’s degree graduates may be prepared for a variety of careers in advertising, product design or consumer behavior. Obtaining a bachelor's degree can also help graduates prepare for advanced degree programs, which may help with career advancement or the pursuit of additional job opportunities.

Master of Business Administration – Marketing

Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs with marketing concentrations may provide students with a background in business and a specialized education in marketing research and digital marketing. MBA candidates must have at least a bachelor's degree when applying, though it’s not necessary to have an undergraduate degree specifically in marketing.

Students pursuing an MBA with a marketing concentration, such as those offered by CTU, may study how to construct global marketing strategies using critical-thinking, ethics and cross-cultural understanding.

Careers in Marketing

Pursuing a degree or concentration in marketing offers a world of foundational knowledge that may translate into many career paths, for example, in advertising, market research or public relations. Some marketing professions for graduates who have obtained a bachelor’s degree may include:

Advertising, promotions and marketing managers, as mentioned previously, are responsible for the marketing strategy of products or services and implement these tactics based on the knowledge of business objectives, market characteristics, and cost factors. They teach these strategies to other leaders and teams and determine the impact of the campaigns. Additionally, these marketing managers are both formulating the ideas (predicting) and reporting on the cost and performance of the programs during and after they are implemented in the market. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs in this profession is projected to grow by 9% through 2024.2

Market research analysts work to ensure the teams making decisions for a product understand the environment that will receive the product. They collect and analyze data consisting of current and potential customers, competition, market conditions, and other trends that can affect the products they help develop. They also use the data to find new opportunities for sales and relationship building. According to the BLS, the job outlook for market research analysts is expected to grow by 19% through 2024. 4

Public relations (PR) or fundraising managers plan and direct the creation of material that will maintain or improve the public image of a business. In large organizations, PR managers belong to a marketing team or work closely with advertising, promotions and marketing managers to ensure that advertising campaigns are compatible with the image a company is attempting to portray. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for PR and fundraising managers is projected to grow by 7% through 2024. 5

No matter the occupation a professional chooses, the creativity and challenges involved in the marketing industry may lead to a thought-provoking and fulfilling career.

Earn Your Degree at Colorado Technical University

U.S. News & World Report ranked CTU’s bachelor’s degree programs among the Best Online Programs for three years in a row (2015 – 2017). Additionally, the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Marketing degree at CTU is ACBSP-accredited. The program’s curriculum balances business fundamentals with real-world marketing principles including sales, marketing communications, multimedia channel development, and consumer behavior. Learn more about CTU’s BSBA – Marketing degree.

1 “About AMA.” American Marketing Association. Retrieved from: (Visited 9/29/17).
2 “Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: (Visited 9/29/17).
3 Smith, Jacquelyn. “The Marketing And Advertising Jobs With The Best Future.” Retrieved from: (Visited 9/29/17).
4 “Market Research Analysts.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: (Visited 9/29/17).
5 “Public Relations and Fundraising Managers.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: (Visited 9/29/17).

For important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended this program, go to CTU cannot guarantee employment or salary. Not all programs are available to residents of all states. Financial aid is available for those who qualify.
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