What is Marketing?
At the beginning of a marketing student’s time in college, they may discuss the different marketing roles. Several activities and roles make up “marketing” as a field or career. And, depending on the student’s degree in marketing, that definition may also include public relations.
Public relations professionals assist an organization and the public to interact, adapt and relate to each other. Market research professionals research services and products and gather information. They may also interpret the data they find and perform analysis.
Content marketing could be as simple the recipes on the side of a box of cereal; more often than not, that recipe features name-brand products made by the same company. Or content marketing may be performed through the creation of a content-heavy website that offers information and ideas that a company’s customers might find useful. Video marketing is a subset of content marketing but in film format. Large content sites and video marketers develop a strategy so that they are responding directly to what consumers need or want.
Database marketing works by distilling large amounts of data so the marketing company can create personalized messaging for consumers. Direct marketing uses this approach to personalize sending promotional marketing to potential consumers. Not everyone likes them but can be effective.
Alaskan marketing programs may focus on local advertising because the area is more remote than most in the U.S. However, some programs likely use that as a good reason to focus on E-commerce and how to make your company or product unique in a global marketplace. No matter the program you choose, Alaskan companies need marketing professionals just as much as those in the contiguous states.
Marketing Education in Alaska
Defining what a marketing professional is can be similar to someone viewing themselves in a hall of mirrors. Depending on what the marketing professional’s specialization is, “marketing” may be slightly different for each professional in the field. Simply put, a marketing professional displays a company in a good light. They also demonstrate to customers or clients why it is safe to trust the company and its products or services.
One company may have several marketing professionals working together, each responsible for different slice of the marketing pie. Some may work in public relations, others in web design, still others digital marketing or graphic design.
Dividing marketing into two groups, professionals may work in traditional marketing or digital marketing. Under the digital marketing umbrella, pay-per-click, search engine optimization, content marketing, and video marketing are found. In traditional marketing, professionals may use experiential marketing, local marketing and market research.
Associate Degree in Marketing (AS)
For a general marketing degree, community college students interested in this field can do two things. First, they can choose to complete a General Marketing Certificate of Achievement. They may also earn their Associate in Science or Associate of Arts in Marketing. The classes in these programs teach students about marketing and help them to master product promotion skills and services, which they may use to promote a single company full-time or in a business that works on a variety of marketing campaigns. An associate degree also allows the student to build upon their ability to communicate well, a vital skill for any marketing specialist. They may learn how to speak and write persuasively in one of several marketing styles: digital, personal, or organizational/business-to-business.
After earning an associate degree in marketing, graduates should be eligible to apply for entry-level positions in marketing. If students are interested, they may choose to earn additional certificates in the following areas: advertising, sales, or international business.
Bachelor's Degree in Marketing (BS)
The most common undergraduate degree earned in marketing is a bachelor’s degree. At this level, students learn about creating and working in a dynamic marketing environment. A good program should combine traditional business practices with advanced technology such as a sales engagement platform (SEP), search engine optimization (SEO), data analytics, multimedia content management, and even user interface (UI) design. While graduates will still likely start in an entry-level position, they will learn even more about their chosen field, which means that they will have an even better chance of advancing upward.
Marketing specialists may choose to work as independent contractors rather than for a single company. Some marketing specialists may be tasked with developing marketing programs—this is a possible project for marketing students who have graduated with their undergraduate degree. They communicate the company’s reputation, create brand awareness, increase sales and promote products. Rather than working solo, these professionals may work as a team member.
Master's Degree in Marketing (MS or MC)
A Master of Marketing program may offer a combination of Master of Business Administration (MBA) level courses and Master in Marketing classes. Students who take these courses learn how to deal with real-world experiences once they move into management positions. Students often find graduate courses intense, covering a wide variety of marketing areas such as social media, advertising and promotion, web-based marketing, big data analytics, and consumer behavior. Rigorous academic programs give students what they need to know to be excellent marketers and to work in management positions, with enough business coursework thrown in that they can better understand their company’s position in the marketplace.
PhD Degree in Marketing (PhD)
A PhD or doctoral degree in marketing may draw on several fields including psychology, economics, and administrative or managerial knowledge. By using discipline-based and field-based learning, students can learn the concepts and the research skills that have the most impact on businesses. PhD candidates should be able to understand the point of view of a practicing marketing manager and also be able to combine research and theory as they resolve business problems.
Students at this level may be required to complete sequential courses in sociology, microeconomics, and psychology. They’ll also take business management theory courses, academic field courses, and classes in research methods. Some programs may also require students to complete some MBA elective courses and academic field seminars. Any of these may be used as the topic for their dissertation. Economics, statistics, industrial organization, and management science courses all allow students to gain in-depth knowledge in their field and focus on new techniques and research.
Become a Marketing Professional in Alaska
As is the case everywhere in the US, marketing professionals do not need any special licensure to work in Alaska. However, due to its smaller population, it may be more difficult to find a position that is not already filled. That is why it is so important to earn a degree and gain some experience while you are still in college. Getting into a saturated market is difficult, and the ease with which marketing departments can access workers in other countries has made marketing an even more difficult niche to enter without proving yourself.
Luckily, many companies will hire marketing graduates who have earned an associate degree, especially if they are planning to go on and earn a bachelor’s in the field. Those students who earn a double major in another business-related field may have an even easier time of it since their knowledge will cover more bases and allow them to generalize and work elsewhere in the company or gather and analyze marketing data themselves rather than relying on another part of the company to do so. Those who work for smaller companies must be willing to fill more roles, in general.
So, the best way to become a marketing professional in Alaska is to earn your degree, gain certifications if they seem useful to your career, and never stop learning new techniques and technologies so that you can be on the cutting edge of every new thing in the marketing sphere.
The Western Exchange Program and Alaska
The Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) is a program which enables Alaskan students to enroll in any other university participating in the WUE or the Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP) without paying exorbitant out-of-state tuition costs. Undergraduates covered by the WUE pay up to 150% of the in-state tuition rate at the partner school and graduate students pay the in-state tuition rate for any graduate degree program covered by the WRGP. While certificate programs don’t qualify for this, it can certainly save a lot of money for Alaskan students who may not have much variety in the degrees they can earn at smaller in-state schools.
To qualify, students must live in one of the participating states: Alaska, Wyoming, Arizona, Washington, California, Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, Hawaii, Oregon, Montana, North Dakota, or Nevada. Additionally, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, U.S. Pacific Territories, and Freely Associated States take part in WUE and WRGP.
Top College Programs in Alaska for Marketing
- University of Alaska - Anchorage:
The top university in Alaska offering business degrees is the University of Alaska Anchorage. This public, four-year university is situated in a large city. In 2019, a total of 324 business students graduated; 65 received associate degrees, 220 earned bachelor’s degrees, 28 earned master’s degrees, and 11 earned certificates.
The University of Alaska Anchorage is the only four-year university in the state that specifically offers a sales and marketing degree program. The University of Alaska Anchorage is a public university located in a large city. The school has a student population of over 12,000 and a student-to-teacher ratio of 28 to 1.
Careers for Marketing Graduates
- Chief Marketing Manager:
The CMM must be able to blend management and marketing, along with other business functions. They are expected to champion customers, act as the chief storyteller, drive growth, be the catalyst for breakthrough innovation, and help the team to develop and use robust marketing capabilities. Marketing management personnel must be able to use data analytics, be technologically fluent, and know how to make the best use of customer data.
- Media Buyer:
The media buyer, who focuses on marketing and advertising, supervises the process for ad purchasing, with input from the media planning team. These professionals need to have a full understanding of the company’s marketing goals and who their target audience preferences are.
- Digital Marketing Manager/Director:
Digital marketing managers or directors have to be savvy, curious, analytical, and creative as they manage the digital marketing duties of their team. This professional may develop, implement, and manage marketing campaigns that help to promote a company’s products and services. However, digital marketing directors often work more on the policy side of marketing; they develop and deliver current marketing policies, practices, and strategies as they work on attracting customers to their online presence or website.
- Brand Manager:
It’s the brand manager’s responsibility to adapt a brand strategy for the company’s target market or demographic. One way they do this is by maintaining brand integrity; what is displayed on one website must echo the same message across every one of the company’s marketing initiatives and even their communications. A brand manager may be responsible for a full portfolio.
- Advertising Coordinator:
This marketing professional is responsible for a wide range of advertising practices. They create ads for internet, broadcast, and print distribution. They also study customer requirements, help develop messaging architecture, and improve competitive positioning.
- Marketing/Business Analyst:
A marketing analyst or business analyst studies market conditions so that they are able to determine the potential sales of a service or product. It’s their role to help companies understand the products their customers want, how much they are willing to pay, and who will actually buy the goods. In short, they monitor and forecast trends for marketing and sales.
- Product Manager:
This professional’s main focus is to optimize a product, achieve business goals, and satisfy user needs while they grow the company’s return on investment.
- Marketing Assistant:
This position is a good beginning for a new marketing graduate. Having excellent attention to detail and a high degree of subject knowledge may be able to use this position as a springboard into more senior positions.
- Public Relations Representative:
In the field, a PR representative may help their client to develop and maintain a good, positive reputation with the public. If they are hired by a company that already has a negative relationship with the public, they may consult with the company management to help them turn this view around and get the goodwill of their customers back.
- Sales Representative:
Sales representatives have one overarching goal. They want to increase the sales of their company’s products or services.