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What is Marketing?

Louisiana is a state with a lot of versatility. Many people think of Louisiana and automatically think of New Orleans and Mardi Gras. Or, if they’re sports fans, they might think of the Superdome and the New Orleans Saints. Or maybe you’re into Ann Rice and vampires, something else Louisiana is known for. But there’s a lot more to the Pelican State than a big party, supernatural phenomenon, and football. If we take a look at the economy, Louisiana’s biggest industries are manufacturing, real estate, and education. Tourism isn’t even a huge market, but it’s also one of the industries people think of first when considering the state. This is because marketing has been used to make the industry seem much bigger than it actually is. People with excellent marketing skills are an important part of any business that wants to reach potential customers.

A marketing professional works with companies and organizations that need marketing campaigns developed and executed. Marketing can take many different forms, from traditional advertisements to conventions or direct mail materials. A marketing professional is trained to determine the best marketing strategy for a business and create and execute the campaign. Marketing professionals are also experienced in helping businesses pinpoint their actual needs and crafting a campaign that matches their needs to gain the desired results. Marketing professionals can work for a company as their marketing department or work for a marketing firm that helps clients meet their marketing needs and goals. They can work as part of a team or as an individual in a department.

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Marketing Education in Louisiana

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for marketing professionals is expected to increase at an average rate over the next 10 years. This means that if you are considering going into this field now, it’s a good time to get started. Salaries for marketing professionals vary greatly depending on the industry and type of marketing work being performed, but the average salary of marketing professionals in Louisiana is $53,000. It is possible to start a career as a marketing professional without a formal education, though the majority of successful people working in the field have some level of education.

One of the major perks to a career in marketing is that there are many avenues a person can pursue. Whether you want to work for a marketing agency and help different companies with their marketing needs or be part of the marketing team for an individual business, both are an option. Or maybe you want to work with a specific kind of marketing, such as direct marketing or conventions; this is a good option as well. And, if you have a preference regarding an industry to want to work in, this is also something you could do. As you can see, there are many different ways to work in marketing and you can carve your own career path. So, if a career as a marketing professional sounds like something that might be of interest to you, keep reading. There is information below that can help you get started and answer some questions you might have.

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It is possible to get started as a marketing professional with a formal education, but eventually some training will be required, especially for larger organizations. Below are the educational opportunities that exist for those who want formal marketing training.

Associate Degree in Marketing (AS)

A two-year degree in marketing can be a good foundation for a marketing professional. However, it is just a foundation. There are jobs in marketing that can be attained with just an associate degree, but they are going to be lower-level positions, most likely in direct sales or outgoing call centers. The two-year degree includes basic education in business administration and a few introductory courses in marketing and advertising. It makes an excellent start for those who choose to pursue a higher degree in either marketing or business administration.

Bachelor's Degree in Marketing (BS)

A bachelor’s degree is the first education level for a person who wants to succeed in the marketing field. Students will study general business, get an introduction to management techniques, and take several marketing and advertising courses. Many programs require students to complete an internship and create a portfolio of work.

Some of the courses a student pursing a degree in marketing include:

  • Accounting I & II
  • Principles of Marketing
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Marketing Research
  • Promotion and Advertising
  • Marketing Management

Bachelor’s degrees typically take four to six years to complete. With this degree, a person can seek entry level up to lower management level positions, depending on the industry and their experience level.

Master's Degree in Marketing (MS or MC)

Although a master’s degree in marketing is a thing, most people go for the more versatile master of business administration, also known as an MBA, and add on a marketing concentration. Those who want to pursue positions in management and move up in a company are more likely to get a master’s degree than those who want to focus primarily on the creative or sales side of marketing. Most graduate degree programs take up to three years to complete, but some accelerated programs can be completed in 18 months.

Some of the courses a student enrolled in an MBA program might take include:

  • Marketing Management
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Digital Marketing Techniques
  • Other marketing courses depending on the specialization

Although an internship isn’t normally required, a portfolio and either a capstone or comprehensive examination is required. Upon completion of a graduate degree, mid-level or upper-level management positions could become available, depending on work experience.

PhD Degree in Marketing (PhD)

A terminal degree in business or marketing is an achievement for those who want to become subject matter experts or move into the highest levels of management. It also qualifies people to teach at the collegiate level. Most doctorate degree programs in business focus on organizational leadership and how to create a company atmosphere that meets the needs of both its employees and its customers. Courses in business, psychology, and management are offered to students and the degree can take up to seven years to complete. A dissertation and its successful defense are required for the doctorate degree to be conferred.

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Become a Marketing Manager in Louisiana

There are two paths a person can take to becoming a marketing professional in Louisiana. A person can get an entry-level marketing position and work their way up or they can get a formal education and still work their way up but start out on a higher level.

For those who chose to skip the formal education and dive right in, starting out in direct sales is the most common option. Direct sales require a person to understand their potential customer base, their motivation for buying, and how much they’re willing to spend and why. All these skills are things a person getting a formal education in marketing would learn.

The ability to identify markets for a company’s services and products is a key element to being successful in the industry. Companies spend fortunes on marketing campaigns, so the target of this massive dollar spend needs to be as accurate. This is one area where having a formal education could be a benefit. Knowing who the market is, where they are, and the type of marketing they respond to is a must. As the marketing professional, it will be your responsibility to provide this information and help clients create marketing campaign that not only reach this market but urge them to make a purchase. This means recognizing the specific needs of a market.

Excellent writing skills are needed for anyone seeking to become a marketing professional, especially one in management. Marketing requires a lot of writing, so having command of grammar and proper sentence structure is a valuable skill to possess. The ability to write compelling copy is also a plus and requires different skills, which includes creativity.

Combining your marketing expertise and writing skills with general business management knowledge will make you even more attractive in the marketing management industry. As mentioned previously, you can start your professional career without a formal education but, at some point, a degree of some sort will be required for you to progress. You’ll also want to hone your communication skills. After working in marketing for some time, you should already have adequate communications skills, but the most successful marketing professionals can talk with CEOs as well as potential customers.

With these skills in hand, you are ready to pursue more professional positions in the marketing field. Depending on your experience and track record, you could qualify for middle management positions.

Careers for Marketing Graduates

There is no shortage of career options for those who seek to work as marketing professionals. The only limits are the ones you place on yourself. Whether you want to work in direct marketing or manage a marketing team, you can find a position that meets your needs and skills. Below are some examples of the types of position available to someone with a marketing background. And keep in mind that all industries use marketing in some fashion, so it’s quite possible that you could combine two passions into one career.

  • Marketing Director:
    This is a high-profile position that requires excellent communication and written skills, as well as management experience, so this is one position where a formal education is often required. Marketing directors run marketing teams that execute marketing plans and campaigns. This person communicates with the client to ascertain their needs and then relays this information to the marketing team tasked with creating the campaigns and marketing materials. The director is also often the person who presents the campaign, especially if they are the point person of the team. Some marketing directors run one team, while others often oversee several teams and have under-directors who run point for the marketing teams.

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  • Marketing Specialist:
    Marketing specialists tend to work in one specific element on marketing and become experts in that area. Examples include digital marketing specialists who primarily design and execute digital marketing campaigns or marketing event coordinators who primarily set up and run conventions and other marketing events for clients.
  • Senior Project Manager:
    A senior project manager is often the leader of at least one marketing team. They act as the liaison between the client and upper management, ensuring that all the marketing needs are met and that the material matches the vision of the client. If the client isn’t sure of what they want, the project manager and a few members of the marketing team will sit down with the client and help them hone their marketing needs.
  • Business Development Director:
    Business development directors are in charge of business development managers, the people who identify needs in a market and create the plan and materials to meet that need. They not only understand the market in which they work, they know how to reach the target audience and turn them into customers.
  • Media Buyer:
    Media buyers meet with clients and, after determining their needs and the right type of marketing, find mediums in which to buy marketing time for campaigns. This is a profession that requires a person with excellent research skills and a solid understanding of the types of media markets that exist. There is often a lot of money involved in media buying, so a buyer needs to understand as much as possible about the potential markets so that they can provide the best return on investment possible.
  • Marketing/Research Analyst:
    A marketing research analyst looks at different markets in search of the next big trend. Then this information is used by marketers to create campaigns to reach the people who will be most interested in following the trend and buying the products that are a part of it.

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