Montana is a huge, sparsely populated state. Most people might associate the state with ranching and the huge estates of celebrity superstars. However, the state is more than just those two things. The Montana economy includes industries such as real estate, manufacturing, healthcare, educational services, construction, retail trade, and more. While the state doesn't boast numbers on the scale of, say, California, Montana is a very important state to both the Northwestern region and the nation as a whole.
Montana is even important for marketing professionals. Even cattle ranchers need to rely on marketing professionals who utilize targeted messaging to sell their products and generally attract wholesale buyers such as grocery store chains. Meanwhile, manufacturing facilities, retail traders, and recreational services firms need a marketing firm or team to help them attract consumers who will boost their bottom line.
In order to maintain this economic activity, Montana needs a steady supply of highly skilled, capable marketing professionals. The best source of such intellectual capital must come from the state's colleges and universities. The state thus supports a strong system of community colleges and four-year universities that train marketing and other business students to become the business leaders of tomorrow.
Marketing Education in Montana
Since Montana is somewhat unique relative to other states, the state's universities seek out experienced, degreed, and highly qualified marketing instructors to teach their students. These institutions of higher learning naturally will seek out marketing professors who are from Montana or who have had successful careers in marketing to Montana consumers. When a professor can bring real-world examples and experience into the classroom, the lessons come to life and students tend to have a well-rounded educational experience.
Montana's marketing students can then graduate with their bachelor's degrees or MBAs into a state economy that needs their expertise. Since the economy is rather small in Montana, students don't have far to travel to find more robust economic activity. Washington State is not far away, nor is Oregon, both of which have larger economic hubs. Students can also take their accredited Montana marketing degrees anywhere in the nation and find that they are on equal footing with their peers.
A marketing professional is a business executive who specializes in branding and selling products or services. There are two general types of marketing professionals. One is involved in analyzing consumer behaviors and preferences. The others create and otherwise work on the marketing campaigns with which we are all familiar. This can include high-visibility promotions such as a Superbowl advertisement or as ordinary as a flyer stapled to a light pole.
Most type of businesses need marketing professionals to help them reach consumers. Thus, many marketing professionals are known to establish themselves in a specific industry or sector of the economy. They may also specialize in either business to business or business to consumer marketing. Most marketing professionals have a similar work environment, often in an office building. However, some marketing firms inhabit creative spaces that are designed to stimulate creativity. Marketing professionals can also work from home or other remote locations.
Online Associate Degree in Marketing (AS)
Obtaining a two-year marketing diploma can be just the ticket to a brilliant marketing career. In fact, no matter which side of the profession is desired, an associate marketing degree can be a tremendous boon. Those who gravitate to the analytical side may even focus on mathematics and computer science while taking a few marketing courses on the side. Those who are eager to create can focus on graphic art and design. Still, a traditional associate marketing degree will instill the tried-and-true principles of the industry.
An associate marketing degree has other practical aspects. For one thing, students will appreciate that community college credits tend to be far more affordable than those from a four-year institution. They will also like that they can complete their core college curriculum as part of their associate degree. Not only do they get the credits, but those classes are likely to have fewer students and have the same dynamite instruction as any other school.
Online Bachelor's Degree in Marketing (BSM)
The best option to launching a successful marketing career, is to start with a four-year bachelor's in marketing. Students in a four-year program can explore their major field more than in an associate degree program, and even branch out into affiliated fields that inform their marketing studies. For instance, an analytical marketing student can take courses in statistics, computer programming, and data science. A more creative-minded marketing student can take extra art, design, or even production courses to help them work on a creative team.
Students in a bachelor's marketing degree program should also consider an internship. That sort of work experience can be a real boon to their resume. Not only does the experience help, but they may even meet future colleagues or collaborators. Finally, a bachelor's marketing degree sets up a student for later studies at the graduate level, such as an MBA or a MS in Marketing.
Online Master's Degree in Marketing (MM)
These days, a bachelor's marketing degree is important, but a master’s marketing degree can be even more so. That's especially true for those who are hoping for a spot in the C-suites. In fact, most undergraduate students should start thinking about a graduate degree sooner rather than later. High school students may even look for accelerated MBA programs that allow them to complete both their undergraduate and graduate degrees in a mere five years, which saves both money and time.
Note that an MBA program is typically divided into two parts. The first year is spent in a general business curriculum, though at the graduate level. The second year is where students choose a concentration, such as marketing, which determines their later career. Marketing students who are interested in the analytical side can choose a program with a data science concentration or a computer science focus. Those who choose the data science route should be sure to take at least one graduate level marketing course in their first year.
Online PhD Degree in Marketing (PhD)
A PhD isn't in high demand in the marketing world these days. However, that could change. After all, the proliferation of MBAs and master’s marketing degrees waters down their importance in hiring decisions. If a candidate has an PhD in marketing as well as strong work experience, then they are sure to find great success.
A PhD in a subject like data science or computer science can perhaps be more important in today's climate. Since those subjects are so technical, a doctorate degree can give a candidate an edge over others. However, they may not be a great match for a C-level position, but those who seek a PhD are usually more concerned with their research and studies in any case. Those who choose a PhD in marketing are generally headed to a position in academia, where their doctorate will help them land a tenure track position.
Become a Marketing Specialist in Montana
There are many roads to a successful career in marketing. Since there is no Montana state licensure required, marketing professionals don't even necessarily need a degree. Further, since marketing professionals don't rely on certifications like some other, more technical, fields, nearly anyone can enter the field of marketing. However, in order to become a successful marketing professional in Montana, it's very important to prepare and study.
Preparation for a career in marketing can mean many different things. After all, the field is comprised of two very important, yet very different, sides. Those who are drawn to the analytical side often tend to thrive in mathematics and science courses in their early, pre-college days. They may be more interested in computing than anything. On the other hand, creative marketing professionals tend to be more artistic. They may also have strong communication skills and lead dynamic social lives. Interestingly, both of these skill sets can be acquired without attending a college.
Those who are drawn to analytical work may have strong talents in mathematics. For marketing, it's likely that they will need a background with statistical analysis. They will also need skills with programming, most likely in Python or R, which are the main languages used to crunch big data. Since these programming languages can be learned with a book or a free or affordable online course, there may be no real need for a college degree. However, college courses in mathematics or computer science will be immensely helpful.
Creative marketing professionals can likewise self-teach themselves many valuable skills. With free and affordable online resources, students can gain the core technical skills needed to create dynamite graphic arts. Once they have a mastery of web design, illustration, or layout, they can build a portfolio that will get them noticed. Students will naturally need loads of natural talent and the discipline to put in the hours to master their craft.
While it is possible to become a marketing professional in Montana without a degree, this is not recommended. There is no substitute for working with a trained, established professional in an academic setting. Even one's classmates help create an environment that facilitates learning and growth. Furthermore, employers always trust a diploma from an accredited Montana college or university.
Potential Careers for Marketing Graduates
- Marketing Director
This position often requires at least around five years of marketing experience. Marketing directors can come from either the analytical or creative side of marketing, but they need to have a working knowledge of both. Thus, those who desire this position are well-advised to earn an MBA or at least a bachelor's marketing degree from an accredited Montana university.
- Social Media Manager
A social media manager is a marketing professional whose specialty is social media. These marketing professionals plan social media posts that may include text, static images, animations, or video. They also respond to comments from others, both positive and negative. These days, a firm's social media presence is a huge part of its public relations, so the demands on a social media manager's qualifications continue to grow.
- Special Events Manager
Marketing is not only conducted via various media platforms. Special events are a huge part of introducing new products, opening new stores, and generally interacting with the public. Special events managers need to have a strong background in logistics and have the insight and creativity to orchestrate fun, interactive events that will broaden their firm's consumer base.
- Media Buyer
These marketing professionals may be the unsung heroes of any marketing campaign. They spend their time analyzing the optimum media for their firm or client to purchase. Then they negotiate the price of that media space or time. For instance, a high-end product may need a billboard near an upper-class neighborhood, tv ads during finance shows, and targeted online ads that seek high-dollar consumers.
- Digital Marketing Manager/Director
Digital market is vital to success for any product or service. A digital marketing manager needs to have in-depth knowledge of internet technologies and social media platforms. These managers oversee their social media specialists, coordinate broader internet advertising, and may manage video production for special YouTube presentations.
- Marketing/Research Analyst
The era of big data is upon us, and marketing researchers and analysts need to understand how to work with it. These marketing professionals are often considered data scientists and they need to have a background in statistics, computer science, and perhaps social science. Students who aspire to become a marketing analyst should consider a double major combining marketing with mathematics or computer science.
- Marketing Specialist
A marketing specialist analyzes market data from both a quantitative and qualitative angle. They can then work with the creative team to create a campaign that will build their brand, attract more customers, and expand the firm's bottom line. A degree in marketing will be necessary for this position, as will strong analytical and communication skills.
- Merchandising Manager
To be qualified for this position, merchandising managers need to have experience in retail sales and marketing. They often work for retail outlets, and they make sure that the store overall design and presentation is optimized for strong sales. To land such a position, merchandising managers need a background in market analysis, including an MBA or computer science degree, and design savvy for 3D spaces.