Like other industries, marketing has experienced a major overhaul in the last ten years. Web-based technologies streamline sales and branding, and social media makes it easier and cheaper than ever to reach targeted demographics. Tech innovations have also prompted a hiring spree for marketers, and experts predict steady to accelerated job growth in marketing, promotions, and advertising for at least the next decade, with median salaries for managers nearing $130k. (The hiring growth rate for individuals with a specialization in marketing analytics is up more than 67% over last year and up 136% over the past three years.) At the same time, marketing continues to be a top-10 area of study at the undergraduate and graduate level, and several top-tier schools have expanded programs to include online degrees in marketing.
For prospective marketing students interested in the pros and cons of online learning, let’s learn what distinguishes online education from traditional on-campus programs and examine what you can expect from an online degree in marketing.
The Benefits of an Online Degree
While traditional on-campus degrees will always have their place, online programs feature a few key advantages.
First is flexibility – especially important for working professionals and adult learners. (And if you’re already a practicing marketing professional, this might be the deciding factor.) Many online programs deliver courses in an asynchronous format, meaning students take classes according on their own schedule and turn in work on assigned due dates. You’ll also have the opportunity to collaborate with peers through tools like discussion forums and chat rooms, and most course material is available 24/7 online, including recorded class sessions.
The other obvious advantage for online education is affordability. Most online programs cost several hundred dollars less per credit than on-campus counterparts, and accelerated tracks can reduce tuition totals, as well. All the extraneous costs of higher education are gone – room and board, day-to-day expenses, etc. — and students gain the convenience of completing course work whenever, wherever.
Note: If you’re unsure if online education is right for you, many schools offer sample online orientation and demo classes.
Online bachelor’s degrees in marketing run the gamut. You may prefer the traditional BS in Marketing, but many programs offer a BS in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing, or bachelor’s tracks in Business Marketing or Digital Marketing. In any case, the core curriculum is essentially the same: brand development, strategic marketing systems, market research analytics, consumer behavior research, product management, and global marketing issues are common study areas, typically supplemented with a capstone experience or practicum to add a real-world component. Marketing degrees also offer impressive leeway for self-created studies and specializations, which can be helpful for resume purposes given the proliferation of niches in professional marketing. The best online bachelor’s in marketing feature accelerated degree paths, and several allow students to finish in as little as 1-2 years.
Online master’s degrees in marketing tend to come in two forms: an MS/MA in Marketing or an MBA with a specialization in Marketing. (Learn the difference here.***LINK*** to “difference between MS/MBA in marketing”) You’ll also find online master’s programs for Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC), Management with a Marketing specialization, and others. Regardless, the gist is an in-depth marketing curriculum that builds on bachelor’s fundamentals, integrates advanced business courses, and emphasizes new trends and practices in contemporary marketing. Similar to the bachelor’s, most programs include an experiential learning requirement, which students fulfill through internships or current employers. On that note, online master’s in marketing programs also tend to recognize that many students are working professionals or adult learners, and offer highly flexible delivery options and accelerated paths.
Common Master’s in Marketing Courses
Advanced Marketing Strategy and Planning
Organizational Theory and Behavior
Financial Decision Making for Managers
Marketing Intelligence and Research Systems
Common Master’s in Marketing Specializations
Online Certificates in Marketing
If you don’t want a full bachelor’s or master’s in marketing, several quick alternatives are available. Digital marketing certificates require little to no prior training or experience and can boost your resume with specific professional certifications. If you’re looking for something even more accelerated, dozens of popular marketing bootcamps cover both elementary and advanced skills, and world-class schools from Cambridge to Berkeley offer MOOCs in marketing for free or a small fee to earn a certificate.
The marketing industry needs new hires with the most up-to-date training and expertise in the field. Whether you’re a student, looking to switch careers, or want to get a leg up in your current career, an online marketing program offers the most flexible, affordable way to achieve your professional goals. To learn more, check out the rest of the site for reviews of the best online marketing programs, related tracks in communications and public relations, and helpful guides and resources.