Marketing: An Overview
Getting an on-campus or online marketing degree means tapping into a field with ever-increasing importance. Whether you're brimming with creative ideas or prefer to hang out on the analytical side of your brain, there's a place in marketing for you. Blending art and science, professional marketers work to make positive connections between business and paying customers. The field includes everything from website design to data analytics, copywriting to social media management.
Most jobs in marketing require a four-year degree, with employers preferring résumés that showcase either the Bachelors of Science in Marketing, or a B.S. in business with a marketing specialty. Dozens of colleges in the U.S. offer the credential, including both online-only and traditional campuses.
Online Marketing Courses: 5 Ways They Work So Well
If you can't take time away from your job or family to get your degree, an online option may be your best bet. Designed with working adults in mind, distance learning offers great benefits for back-to-schoolers, including:
- Flexible start dates – Ready to jump in? There's no need to wait nine weeks for the next semester to start. Many online schools offer rolling, year-round start dates and classes that last just five to six weeks apiece.
- Schedule-friendly – As long as you complete assignments on time, you can often set your own study schedule in an online class. Term paper writing at midnight, or class readings at 5:00 a.m.? No problem!
[Wondering how to fit school into your busy life?]
- Self-paced – Some schools offer a self-directed option so that you can learn at the rate that suits you best. You might receive more time to finish a class if you need it – or call it done when you master the material.
- Mobility – In an online class, you'll access the course material from anywhere, whether that's at home on the weekends, mornings in the local coffee shop, or waiting for the kids in the car.
- Affordability – With the online option, there's no need to relocate for school, and no commuting costs, either. In many cases, the per-credit-hour tuition at an online school can be lower than its on-campus counterpart.
Some online-only schools offer accelerated formats in which the coursework is compressed into a short, intense timeframe. You may be able to complete a degree in as few as 16 months.
[Is a fast-track degree right for you?]
Hybrid Marketing Classes: Blend Online and In-Person Learning
Like the idea of online learning but concerned that you'll miss the camaraderie of in-person classes? Look for a hybrid option, in which virtual classes are combined with some on-campus classes. This option can be especially good if you:
- Need the predictability and accountability of a set schedule of classes
- Are able to adjust your work and family obligations around classes
- Look forward to the social interaction of class and connecting with new friends
- Prefer to interact with your instructors in person
- Enjoy participating in class and are eager to ask and answer questions in real time
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Online Marketing Degree Classes
When it comes to program content, the only difference between online, hybrid and on-campus degree programs is the learning format. You'll earn the same marketing credential no matter which route you take. Expect to tackle the same amount of coursework whether you're logging in to learn, or commuting to campus.
Most schools require 120-128 credit hours to complete an online marketing degree. After finishing the core coursework for your bachelor's, you'll do a deep dive into marketing classes, which may include:
Types of coursework
- Consumer behavior
- Global marketing
- Interactive and mobile marketing
- Leadership and management
- Marketing research
- Marketing strategy
- Professional selling
- Retail marketing
- Social media in marketing
- Statistical reasoning
Before you enroll in any school, make sure that it has been accredited by an agency that's recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Accreditation is your assurance that the school has met outside standards for quality and rigor, and that your degree will be recognized by employers and professional associations.
[Learn more about accreditation and what employers think about online business degrees.]
For undergraduate degrees, regional accreditation is the gold standard. In addition, business schools may be accredited by either of these agencies:
- The Accreditation Council for Collegiate Business Schools and Programs
- Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
Concerned about credit transfers? Schools are quickest to accept credits earned at regionally accredited colleges and universities.
Tip: Federal financial aid is available only to students enrolled in accredited schools.
8 Cool Marketing Jobs You Might Not Know About
Digital technology has revolutionized the marketing industry, and new job titles seem to crop up every month. Here are a few cool things you might do with your online marketing degree:
- 1. Social media marketing specialist
These marketing gurus don't just post cute pictures and video to Facebook—they crunch data, monitor trends and analyze customer behavior to sell products and boost brand awareness. Social media marketing combines a love of all things social with research, analysis and content development.
- 2. Market research analyst
Tops on U.S. News & World Report's current list of the best business jobs, a market research analyst digs into the data on customer behavior and turns it into actionable business insights. A passion for numbers is crucial to this role in connecting the dots between consumers and cutting-edge technology.
- 3. Community manager
Perched at the hub of a brand's social media efforts, a community manager interacts with a virtual crowd of customers and fans, delivering great service and executing social media plans. Forbes predicts that this job, currently an entry-level role, is destined for greatness: an executive-level position that combines social media marketing with branding, technology and metrics.
- 4. Mobile marketing manager
With customers constantly on the move, mobile marketing managers create campaigns that deliver spot-on content to their phones and other devices. The data from those devices reveals powerful insights—from demographics to buying habits. It's the mobile marketer's job to weave those facts and figures into campaigns that move the meter on company goals.
- 5. Search engine marketing (SEM) specialist
Competitive and numbers-driven by nature, SEM specialists create online campaigns that drive website traffic and turn visitors into customers. By closely monitoring budgets, analyzing real-time results and capturing campaign data, they keep a finger on the pulse of the Internet at all times.
- 6. Business storyteller
Hailed by Harvard Business Review as wielding "irresistible power," storytelling is a hot skill in business circles right now. Storytellers (also sometimes known as copywriters or content creators) use tools such as WordPress and Twitter to create and publish content to persuade, inspire and motivate customers to jump on board a brand.
- 7. Content strategist
Web pages, video, social media posts, email newsletters, blog entries—they all have one thing in common. In marketing circles, each of these items is known as a piece of content. How to turn those bits and pieces into bank? That's where a content strategist comes in, planning, measuring and managing a company's content to help achieve business goals.
- 8. Growth hacker
One part inbound marketing, one part search engine optimization and several parts entrepreneur, the role of growth hacker is so new that it's hard to pin down. These innovative marketers work to build organic (or free) traffic to a company's website, with plenty of data analysis and relationship-building along the way.
Hear more about this emerging field from Jason, a successful marketing specialist who earned his marketing degree from the University of Phoenix:
Thanks to the digital revolution, marketing is about much more than creating ads or cranking out commercials. Today's marketing pros blend creativity and data to win customers and earn their loyalty.
Now that you've got the basics about the online marketing degree, start looking for the school that's right for you.