Is There a Difference Between an Advertising and Marketing Degree?

Advertising and marketing may be inextricably linked in the minds of many, but in reality the two fields do have differences in both the scope and methods employed. Read on to learn about the differences between these degree programs and to find out what career options you'd have with each. Schools offering Advertising degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Advertising Versus Marketing Programs

Marketing, which is large and non-specific, contains advertising, which is one small part of a marketing program. In other words, advertising is always a form of marketing, but marketing doesn't always take the form of advertising. While the topics covered in both degree programs may overlap, there are some differences.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that becoming an advertising or marketing manager means facing heavy competition, although earning a college degree will help increase job prospects (www.bls.gov). You can choose to study either field at both the undergraduate and graduate level. When choosing between a marketing or advertising degree, you might keep in mind that marketing programs focus on wide-ranging promotion concerns, while advertising programs focus on the skills needed to create individual advertisements.

Important Facts About These Fields of Study

Prerequisites Relevant prior degree; entrance exam scores and a portfolio of creative work may be required
Degree Fields of Study Marketing communication, advertising, advertising art direction, business, journalism, marketing
Degree Levels B.A., B.S., M.B.A., M.A.
Online Availability Some courses and programs are available online

Advertising

A company sets up an advertising campaign to get their goods or services seen by the public. As an advertiser, you might design a product advertisement or book the time or space needed to promote a product, whether it's in radio, television or print. Each advertisement runs for a set period and has a specific objective - to show the product to the customer, and then get the customer to buy it.

Advertisers can earn a bachelor's or master's degree in either advertising or journalism, which might include classes like graphic design, visual language and writing. Some courses you might take in a bachelor's degree program in advertising include marketing research, advertising campaigns, media management, brand strategy, consumer behavior, electronic illustration and design, multimedia production and business fundamentals.

Marketing

Marketers use advertising as a tool to accomplish the end goal of selling products. In addition to advertising, marketers might handle product display and packaging, create brand loyalty campaigns or find ways for the sales force to effectively promote their product. Marketers are flexible in the methods they use, often conducting analyses to determine the best marketing methods for their product.

To study marketing, you might enter a bachelor's or master's degree program in business administration or marketing, where you will take classes in consumer behavior and public relations. Some courses you might take in a bachelor's degree program in marketing include marketing research, advertising, retail management, brand management, digital marketing, global marketing and electronic commerce.

Choosing a Career Path

Even knowing the difference between marketing and advertising won't always help you decide which career would suit you better. Luckily, there are some commonalities - both jobs require you to be a fast thinker, energetic and not afraid of working long hours. If you enjoy strategizing and examining the big picture, though, it is worthwhile to consider earning a marketing degree. If you are creative and enjoy design and writing, an advertising degree could be the choice for you.

You'll likely have to put in your dues before reaching a high-profile marketing or advertising job. Luckily, though, a degree in either marketing or advertising may qualify you for jobs in many industries. Marketing majors find themselves working in marketing research, sales, retail management, product management or communications, while advertising majors can work in media purchasing, advertising sales, research, copywriting or art direction.

Job Outlook and Salary

According to the BLS, the employment prospects for marketing and advertising professionals vary by position. While market research analysts will experience very strong 19% job growth between 2014 and 2024, advertising sales agents may see a decline. Advertising, promotions and marketing managers can expect 9% growth over that same decade.

As a market research analyst, you would have earned a median wage of $61,290 in 2014, according to the BLS. You would have made a median wage of $47,890 as an advertising sales agent, $96,720 as an advertising and promotions manager and $127,130 as a marketing manager.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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