With today’s brands more dependent than ever on traditional and digital marketing, now is an excellent time to pursue a marketing-focused Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. Marketing is no longer considered just a cost center that helps build brand awareness, and companies are seeking professionals who can demonstrate enterprise-wide leadership abilities.
Marketing professionals today are synonymous with general managers rather than being limited to marketing communications or PR. Marketing leaders are expected to drive the P&L and those with a highly versatile marketing-focused MBA can deliver.
According to the Digital Marketing Institute, the existing skills gap in digital marketing is projected to worsen as more and more companies seek digital marketing professionals. When you decide to earn an MBA with an emphasis in marketing, you will benefit from the fact that demand exceeds supply. When this happens, salaries increase so companies can compete for the top job candidates.
Reported salaries for the following positions can vary widely, and the candidate with a marketing-focused MBA will be closer to the top end of the salary range rather than the median.
The following are some of the top marketing jobs for MBA grads:
Chief Marketing Officer
The Chief Marketing Officer drives the marketing vision and strategy for a company and is often responsible for providing leadership for sales as well. The CMO drives not just branding efforts; innovation, direction, leadership, communication, goal setting, measurement, data interpretation and analysis can all fall under the CMO’s purview. Marketing touches every aspect of business for a company, so an understanding of business administration is crucial. Most companies want their CMO to have an advanced degree, and a marketing-focused MBA is often what they seek. According to PayScale, the median annual salary for a Chief Marketing Officer in the U.S. is $160,000, but depending on the size of the company, this figure is easily doubled.
While CMO is the top spot for marketing professionals, there are additional leadership roles available to MBA graduates, including director roles and senior leadership jobs, such as vice president.
According to The Creative Group (TCG), a Robert Half Company, the creative director is a “Design master. Magnificent mediator. Highly skilled multitasker. A great creative director brings it all to the party.” This position requires a person who knows “the ins and outs of marketing and advertising.” Managing the creative process end-to-end is just one main responsibility. A creative director is often required to manage outside agencies in the production of marketing collateral and is the liaison to upper management and clients as well. TCG says the average starting salary for a creative director in the U.S. is $99,500 to $143,500 and climbs significantly with higher levels of experience.
Public Relations Director
The PR director is responsible for media relations, announcements, press releases, speaking engagements for company executives, editorial placement and more. Often responsible for developing white papers and other long-form content, the PR director works very closely with all other marketing team members and top executives. The national median salary for a public relations director is $127,000, according to Salary.com, as of April 2017.
Marketing Manager or Director
Some companies have either a marketing manager or a marketing director who usually reports directly to the CMO. Some companies have both positions, with the manager reporting to the director, but either way, this is a mid-level management position and the national median salary is $95,000 for a manager and $133,000 for a director, according to Salary.com, as of April 2017.
Marketing professionals in this position are responsible for budget, strategy, marketing campaigns, market and competitive research, data analysis and more. They also typically manage a diverse team with creative staff, analysts, brand managers and communicators. It is often the marketing manager or director who works with any outside agencies supporting the company’s marketing efforts.
Marketing Management Consultant
For companies that require help with identifying problems within their organization when determining a new marketing vision, hiring a consultant is a viable solution. The Institute of Management Consultants says that 27 percent of consultants are self-employed but the majority work for larger consulting firms. According to U.S. News & World Report, MBA grads draw an average yearly salary of $126,919 in consulting.
2016 Rankings: Top Companies for MBA Marketing Students
Kimberly Whitler is a former CMO who has worked both in the U.S. and overseas for a variety of large companies, and is now an assistant professor at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. Last year she partnered with Christine DeYoung, partner at DHR International, to survey executive recruiters who exclusively place C-level marketers. Whitler and DeYoung wanted executive recruiters to help them identify the top 20 companies for marketing-focused MBAs, based on factors like training for employee development and coaching for leadership development. Procter & Gamble, Pepsico and Unilever took the top three spots.
As Elaine Dinos, principal at Korn Ferry suggests in Forbes: “CPG (consumer packaged goods) firms have always been a great training ground for marketers who are early in their career, because marketing is leveraged as an integrated capability with an expectation to drive revenue growth. Even more so today, there is a great opportunity for those seeking purpose and values alignment in their work, as many high growth consumer goods companies are also solving for our world’s systemic needs through their products.”
Given the renewed focus on and increased demand for marketing leadership, and the fact that demand is outpacing supply, it makes sense that a marketing-focused MBA can help put you in a position to choose your path to success.
Learn more about the SOSU online MBA with an emphasis in marketing program.