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Choosing Your Path: Marketing Management vs. Marketing Communication

Revised: March 8, 2024

Are you interested in a career in marketing? If so, there is no shortage of degree options out there—but choosing the type of marketing degree that's right for you can be easier said than done.

Two of the most common marketing degrees are bachelor's degrees in marketing management and marketing communication. While there is some overlap between these two paths, understanding the differences between these two programs will help you decide which marketing degree best fits your interests and professional goals.

Key Elements in Marketing Management

Marketing management refers to the strategic processes and programs that brands rely on to achieve their goals. Marketing management professionals use their knowledge and expertise to build brand awareness, improve the outcome of a brand's marketing plan, and boost the company's bottom line.

Seven Functions of Marketing Management

The marketing management field relies on some foundational to create and execute a successful campaign. These essential marketing functions include:

  1. Selling
  2. Promotion
  3. Financing
  4. Pricing
  5. Product Management
  6. Distribution
  7. Marketing Information Management

Why Is Marketing Management Important?

Marketing management is critical to the overall success of a business or brand. Without a sound marketing management team, businesses may lack the expertise to draw in new customers, build a strong reputation, and grow profits. The principles of marketing management are crucial to understanding customer behavior, building a strong brand, and achieving success. Strong marketing management strategies give businesses the market research and resources to create cohesive and successful campaigns.

Careers in Marketing Management

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for “Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers” is expected to grow by 6 percent through 2032, which is faster than the national average for all occupations (3 percent).

There are many jobs somebody with a marketing management degree could pursue. Some of the most common job titles in this field include:

  • Marketing associate
  • Marketing manager
  • Market research analyst
  • Digital marketing specialist
  • Business development representative
  • Content manager

What Is Marketing Communication?

Another potential marketing field to consider is marketing communication, which is closely related to marketing management in several ways—but has some key differentiators that set it apart as a standalone field.

Marketing communications focuses on the various mediums marketing professionals use to reach their target audiences, including social media posts and paid advertisements.

Those who work in marketing communications focus on how communications and marketing campaigns influence each other—and how brands can most effectively communicate with target audiences to yield results.

Essential Aspects of Marketing Communication

Marketing communication professionals rely on the following elements to carry out their work:

  • Advertising
  • Sponsorship
  • Public Relations
  • Direct Marketing
  • Interactive Marketing
  • Word-of-Mouth Marketing
  • Sales Promotion

The Role of Marketing Communication in Business

Strong marketing communication can make all the difference in the success of a business marketing campaign. When companies implement marketing communication strategies, they can build brand awareness and a strong reputation among their respective audiences and potentially gain a competitive advantage over other brands.

Meanwhile, marketing communication helps businesses identify and reach the right audience, which can increase the return on investment (ROI) for marketing campaigns and improve results.

 Potential Career Paths

There are many possible career paths for marketing communications degree holders, with some common job titles in this field including:

  • Brand/product manager
  • Media planner
  • Marketing specialist
  • Marketing manager
  • Public relations specialist
  • Social media manager
  • Communications manager

Marketing Management vs. Marketing Communications

As you can see, there is certainly an overlap between marketing management and marketing communications. However, it is crucial to understand that these are two distinct fields with different core concepts, job roles, and salary expectations. With a better understanding of the differences between marketing management and marketing communications, you can determine which path is better suited for you.

Differences in Core Concepts

While marketing management tends to focus more on marketing strategies that brands use to achieve their goals, marketing communication is more focused on how brands interact with their target audiences to optimize the success of their campaigns. Communication in marketing is more focused on measuring customer attitudes. In contrast, marketing management looks more at data, numbers, and customer behaviors.

Marketing communication and marketing management share the same goal of building brand awareness and engaging customers. However, they use different tools and strategies to do so.

Variance in Job Roles and Responsibilities

There is some overlap between the jobs you can get with a marketing management degree and a marketing communications degree. However, the roles and responsibilities you can expect to carry out can vary greatly. Marketing communication specialists tend to focus on ensuring that marketing campaigns are targeted at the right audience. Their work may involve a great deal of audience research, public relations, and evaluation of various communication strategies.

On the other hand, marketing management professionals may focus on developing and carrying out marketing strategies to meet a brand's goals, including developing inbound and outbound marketing plans, making data-driven decisions, and utilizing digital platforms to achieve marketing objectives.

Salary Expectations in Each Field

Potential earnings as a marketing communication or marketing management professional can vary greatly depending on your exact job title, your level of experience, and even the job location. For example, a public relations specialist in marketing communications earns a median salary of $67,440 per year, according to 2022 BLS data. A market research analyst makes a median salary of $68,230 per year as of 2022.

Choosing the Right Degree: Factors to Consider

Still unsure whether a marketing management or communications degree is right for you? Here are a few things you can consider to help you decide:

Align Your Career Goals

Begin by thinking about your career goals. Where do you see yourself working after you graduate? If you want to work in market research, audience research, or public relations, a career in marketing communication may be better aligned with your aspirations.

On the other hand, if you see yourself working more closely with marketing campaigns and executing marketing strategies to boost a brand's success, then working in marketing management may be a better path.

Assess Your Skills and Interests

Be sure to also consider your current skills and interests when deciding whether to pursue a degree in marketing communication or marketing management. Do you already have strong interpersonal and written communication skills? In that case, you may be well-suited to the role of a marketing communication professional.

On the flip side, if you already have some experience processing and analyzing large amounts of data, you might be built for a successful career on the marketing management side of things.

Consider the Learning Outcomes

When deciding between communications and management in a marketing degree, it can also be helpful to consider the learning outcomes of each program. Researching these outcomes will give you a better feel for exactly what students in these programs should be able to do by the time they graduate.

In a communication degree, for example, graduates are expected to be able to integrate marketing and communication concepts that help brands achieve their desired goals and outcomes. In a management program, graduates may be prepared to develop effective marketing strategies that attract customers.

Prospects in Marketing Management vs. Marketing Communication

What does the job market look like for marketing management and marketing communication professionals—and what might the market look like years from now? These are important questions to ask before you pursue a degree in either field.

Job Market Trends for Marketing Managers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for marketing managers is expected to grow by 6 percent between 2022 and 2032, faster than the average for all occupations (3 percent). The projected employment change for marketing managers during the same period is 24,300.

Emerging Opportunities in Marketing Communication

The field of marketing communication continues to grow as the demand for skilled and adaptable communication professionals increases. Brands need to connect and engage with their audiences beyond the surface level, sparking the need for communication specialists across industries. The demand for public relations specialists alone is expected to grow by 6 percent through 2032.

How Can a Degree Boost Your Marketing Career?

Whether you're interested in marketing communication or marketing management, a degree can help set you apart from others in a competitive job market while building foundational skills that can empower you to perform well in your future job.

What Should You Expect After Graduation?

Even before you graduate, it's a good idea to scope potential job opportunities in your field. Some employers are looking for upcoming graduates to fill entry-level positions so that you can find a job shortly after graduation.

Taking the time to prepare a solid resume and practice your interviewing skills is always worthwhile. Your school can be a great place to start if it offers career and professional development resources.

Choosing the Best Fit for Your Career Goals

At Champlain College Online, we're proud to offer bachelor's degree programs in both marketing communication and marketing management. Both programs are offered 100 percent online for convenience and are designed to be completed in as little as 15 terms. Reach out today to learn more about our degree programs, or get started with your free online application


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