MBA at Work: MBAs for the Marketing Industry

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marketing-advertisingIt may sound a little confusing, but Marketing (and Public Relations) is defined as an industry sector as well as a business function. The Marketing/Public Relations Industry is the businesses that provide media, communications, and the content for both. The marketing function within a business is everything from advertising and sales to market research, product development, distribution, brand management and more. Both the industry and the functions have been altered radically by new technologies offering new ways for marketers to connect with customers.

Marketing is part of every MBA core program because it's essential to doing or owning a business. But an MBA concentration in Marketing will prepare you for so much more by studying marketing processes from beginning to end, learning how marketing creates shareholder value, and interacting with your buyers. You will develop expertise in developing marketing strategy, targeting, and planning and implementation of marketing programs.

Every kind of business needs top-notch, innovative marketing professionals. It's creative and the field is wide open. Let's take a look at up-and-coming opportunities for MBAs who specialize in Marketing!

Marketing MBA for Careers beyond Sales

Sales are essential to all businesses, but are only one part of marketing. Think of marketing as the big picture and sales the critical result. Certain marketing careers are more fulfilling for people with MBAs than others because they are more strategic, big picture and long term, like:

• Channel management – is how a company formalizes its sales and customer service programs for a specific source of business (a channel). Channel management identifies where the business comes from and builds partnerships to keep the business flowing from that source; like finding a spring and building a well to supply your household with water. Channel marketers work collaboratively with partners for mutually beneficial results in campaigns, programs and sales. Examples include discovering where there are no partners and recruiting them, or helping a partner try out a new business model.

• Relationship management – is building a long-term two-way trust liaison with a client to assure repeat and add-on business. Sales people look for immediate results. Relationship managers seek strategic, long term results. Examples include the banking and finance industries, where they solve complex and varied needs of clients buying or selling a business, planning for retirement, or otherwise handling their wealth over time. Because relationship managers are in long term, it is hard for clients to choose different providers.

These are just a couple of the careers that are hot for people with MBAs in marketing. You'll work with the players both inside and outside the company on goals, action plans and reporting, so you'll use analytical, broad and creative thinking.

Marketing MBA for Careers in Branding

Your MBA with a specialization in marketing might have once been seen as "soft" by MBAs in Finance, Accounting, or IT. But it is no "easy A." In fact, companies for whom those with "hard" courses work only got where they are with some very sharp marketers. In business, you can't just be good. Your customers don't notice your hard work. You have to tell them.

Some of the coolest, in-demand marketing careers all about branding - shaping how the world (customer base) perceives companies and their products and services. Some of the top careers for MBAs in Marketing include:

• Audience Marketing Management – is seeing your company as if you are the customers and competitors. Audience marketers look at how others see their companies, products and services and develop plans to keep the audiences attracted and engaged. This is heavily internet-driven, but is still market research. Consider the way websites where you buy always suggest other things based on your previous purchases and locale. Examples are: tracking your competition and customers to know who they are, what they like, and how they behave; proposing new investments to grow the product-line; designing strategies that drive channel capacity; and ensuring timely, cost-effective marketing content wherever your target audience looks for products and services.

• Marketing Communications Management – is delivering words and impressions to your customers to influence their buying. If you like to be among people, or have your words in public this is a role to consider. You'll assure all the words and images that go out of your company are aligned with the brand the company wants to create. Examples: Directing events or public or media relations; advertising and digital or social media strategy; marketing messages and formats – graphics and logos, brochures, company or product fact sheets, or other promotional products.

Building corporate, personal or product brand, finding new ways to increase market share, and using new technologies to reach new customers, are what some marketing MBAs enjoy. Collaborating with team members across business groups and public agencies to deliver an integrated marketing message also can be done whether locally or internationally.

Marketing MBA for careers in International Marketing

International Marketing is important for tomorrow's business leaders. The more global business becomes, the more necessary it is to understand the nature of that beast. Taking these courses could put you above the candidates for spots in the world's largest companies because they operate internationally. Key growth careers for MBAs in International Marketing include:

• Marketing Business Planning – the study and direction of how to make global business profitable. The point of business is converting whatever you offer into cash (monetizing). Marketing business planners directly impact the bottom line. They look at business end-to-end monitoring production and warehousing systems (outsourcing and offshoring), performance of the product line, revenue and pricing forecasts, trends and data, and competitive risks. Examples include creating business plans based on that information to make and keep money flowing in to the business.

• Global marketing management – is development and implementation of strategic international marketing plans for an organization. Global or international marketing managers monitor changes in business environments and adjust business or product plans to meet company goals. Examples of the work are: researching and developing pricing policies or recommending more appropriate sales channels. The more we do business on the internet, the more global business becomes.

Careers for MBAs in international marketing are for big picture leaders who think broadly and creatively about how to get the company message to as many purchasing audiences as possible. These positions generally include consulting and leadership roles and are definitely in growth mode.


Choosing the MBA with a concentration in Marketing could be just the ticket for big picture thinkers who can still pay attention to details. Typical coursework usually consists of case studies, applied assignments and tests. Because there are so many marketing messages out there (thanks to the internet, automation and social media), businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to create strong, memorable brand identities. That's why this is not a "fluff" career, but instead one of the most difficult. However, because it is also creative, International marketing MBAs have the opportunity to explore marketing strategies and make a name for themselves as business innovators. Companies all over the world show no signs of backing away from seeking management talent in marketing and paying that talent six figures.

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