Marketing is a broad area, one that encompasses all of the processes and activities involved in creating and delivering messages about offerings of products or services. An associate’s degree in marketing – one of the fastest online associate’s degrees you can pursue – helps you build a foundation of marketing knowledge. However, the curriculum of this brief program is short. Not all programs allow students to pursue specialized coursework in popular concentrations within marketing. In some programs, marketing is itself a concentration within a business administration curriculum. Other marketing degree programs focus their curricula on an area of marketing, such as digital marketing or marketing management.
Marketing as a Specialization
You may think of an associate’s degree in marketing as always being an Associate of Arts in Marketing, Associate of Science in Marketing or Associate of Applied Science in marketing degree. However, at many schools, marketing is a concentration you can declare in the context of a broader program in business administration, not a separate degree program.
A marketing specialization in a business administration program will typically provide you with the most generalized curriculum. Much of your core curriculum encompasses other areas of business administration, such as accounting, financial literacy, financial services principles, management principles, business law and business ethics. The few marketing courses you take will usually focus on imparting overall information needed to understand the field, including marketing principles, customer relationship marketing, digital marketing and public relations principles.
Some of these courses, like digital marketing and public relations, could easily be the basis for an entire specialization or a separate major. A single overview course is not enough to build mastery of the subject.
Digital Marketing Specializations
It takes a lot to succeed in the growing field of digital marketing. You need interpersonal skills, analytical skills, creativity, technical skills and an eye for detail. To develop those skills and the background knowledge you need to perform the tasks of developing, implementing and evaluating the success of digital marketing campaigns, you have to cover a lot of specialized coursework.
An associate’s degree in digital marketing is often a distinct major instead of a concentration within a general marketing program. You will take some of the same coursework you would find in a traditional marketing program, such as business principles and marketing principles. Much of your coursework is tailored to marketing practices used for digital spaces. You may study introduction to digital marketing, content and social media marketing, search engine marketing and optimization, mobile and email marketing, web analytics and reporting, conversion rate optimization and pay-per-click and display advertising.
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In-depth knowledge of the digital marketing sphere expands your career prospects beyond traditional marketing associate and specialist roles. You might find work as a social media manager, search engine strategist, search engine marketing (SEM) analyst or search engine optimization (SEO) specialist. In recent years, demand and income potential for digital marketers with a variety of job titles have expanded considerably, and spending on digital marketing is still on the rise.
An associate’s degree may be all you need to get started in this field, since it’s the highest level of education reported by 13 percent of search marketing strategists, O*NET reported. However, 78 percent of the occupation has a bachelor’s degree.
Marketing Management Specializations
Manager is the most lucrative job in marketing. The median wage for marketing managers is $134,290, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). If you aim to work your way up to a role like marketing coordinator, brand manager, business development director, market development executive or marketing director, an associate’s degree in marketing management is a great place to start. In addition to equipping you with a foundation in marketing, this specialization emphasizes the skills of leadership and management.
Your marketing coursework might include studies in marketing principles, marketing research, integrated marketing communication, global marketing, professional selling, services marketing, hospitality marketing, social media marketing and customer behavior. On the management side, you might complete classes in management principles, the outcomes of marketing management on the development of a marking plan, project management, management planning and control, sales management and managerial accounting.
Interestingly, associate’s degree programs in marketing management tend to allow for more specialization within the curriculum than those in general marketing. You might have the option to pursue a concentration in international business, international trade, entrepreneurship, real estate marketing, sports marketing or social media marketing as part of your marketing management program.
A marketing management associate’s degree can put you on the path to leadership, but you may need a more advanced education. Most marketing managers have a bachelor’s (56 percent), master’s (24 percent) or professional degree (11 percent), O*NET reported.