Marketing vs Advertising: Which Degree to Study in 2020?

Marketing and Advertising are often used interchangeably, but that’s a big mistake. There are important differences between these business practices, which you should know before choosing one of them for your studies abroad.

In this article, we’ll talk about the most relevant distinctions, typical classes, and the types of jobs and salaries you can expect after graduating with a degree in either Marketing or Advertising.

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What's the difference between Marketing and Advertising?

Let’s make some things clear right from the start: Marketing and Advertising aren’t only related. Advertising actually is a part of Marketing. This is why people often make the mistake of using them as synonyms.

In a nutshell, Marketing focuses on market research, product or service development, and brand alignment, while Advertising strictly deals with promoting a product, service, or brand.

Here more things that are different between Marketing and Advertising:

  • Marketing is much broader than Advertising. It aims to identify target audiences and customer needs and uses market insights to determine how a company’s products, services, or brand can meet those needs.
  • Advertising is mainly focused on using paid channels to directly promote the company’s products, services, or brand.
  • There are many types of Marketing, including Digital Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Relationship Marketing, Inbound and Outbound Marketing, etc.
  • Similarly, there are various methods used in Advertising: Traditional Advertising, Retail Advertising, Online Advertising, Mobile Advertising, etc.
  • Unlike Marketing, Advertising always involves paying another company to place a message in a specific location (e.g. billboard, store, TV commercial, website, YouTube video, mobile app).

Marketing vs Advertising: degree specialisations

We’ve already mentioned that Advertising is a component of Marketing, but there are other specialisations you can choose if you don’t want to study a general Marketing degree. Here are several examples:

  • Digital Marketing
  • International or Global Marketing
  • Marketing Research
  • Brand Management
  • Marketing Management
  • Content Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing

Studying from the comfort of your home is also an option. So have a look at online Master’s degrees in Marketing or Advertising if you want to study at your own pace, no matter where you’re located.

Meeting focused on Marketing

Marketing vs Advertising classes

We’ve listed some of the most common classes for Marketing and Advertising degrees below. Still, the types of subjects will vary from one university or country to another.

In general, study programmes are designed to offer a well-rounded education. But if you’re interested in a specific subject, you can always check out the curriculum or look for a more specialised Marketing branch.

Marketing classes include topics such as:

  • Contemporary marketing practice
  • Marketing analytics
  • Consumers and brands
  • Marketing research and planning
  • Cross-cultural consumer behaviour
  • Marketing innovation for growth
  • Global Marketing

Advertising classes cover these topics:

  • Consumer insights
  • Digital media strategies
  • Legal and ethical aspects in Advertising
  • Advertising research
  • Creative copywriting for Advertising
  • New and alternative media
  • Return on Advertising investment

Best universities for studying Marketing or Advertising

What’s the point of talking about Marketing and Advertising, if we’re not going to mention some of the best universities where you can study these degrees? Here’s how the top 10 looks based on the QS ranking created by TopUniversities:

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Marketing vs Advertising: skills you will develop

While we’ve established that Marketing and Advertising aren’t the same thing, the skills you need to succeed in these areas are very similar.

The list we’ve created is not exhaustive, and you don’t need all these abilities from the start. You’ll develop many of them through internships, training, and real-life experience. Here’s what you’ll need to succeed as a marketer or advertiser:

  • Empathy - that’s right. It’s not all about persuading people to buy your goods or services or to like your brand. It’s about understanding what they need, what they can afford, and how you can offer a product with the right balance between price, value, and usefulness.
  • Communication - this one is obvious. Whether you’re a marketer or an advertiser, you need to communicate clearly and make sure people understand your message and ideas. This includes written materials, public speaking and presentations, and so on.
  • Active listening - closely related to empathy; you cannot understand customers and their needs if you don’t actually listen to them. We often listen with the aim to quickly provide a reply or a piece of advice. But the key is learning to listen in order to understand.
  • Research skills - living in the digital age also means living with an overwhelming amount of information. To identify target audiences and promote services and products, you need to do proper research, collect data and come up with easy-to-understand insights.
  • Openness to learning and new ideas - the Marketing and Advertising world is constantly changing. This applies to SEO strategies, market trends, ads, and so on. To win at this game, you need to stay up-to-date with the latest methods, tools, practices.
  • Analytical skills - understanding customer behaviour means understanding and working with data. Tools like Google Analytics, Tag Manager, Ahrefs, HubSpot, SemRush, and many others will be your best friend (or enemy), so becoming familiar with them early on is a great asset.
  • Storytelling - it’s no secret: people love stories, and the format (video, blog post, flyer, etc.) doesn’t matter. As long as you understand the elements of a good story and how to tell one, customers will follow. Like Simon Sinek said, “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
  • Creativity - last but not least. To come up with new messages and ways to promote a brand, service, or product, you need to be creative. You need to stand out and come out with something new. Something that will make people say ‘oh, wow!’ - like that epic Volvo commercial featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme.

Team meeting discussing advertising ideas

Marketing vs Advertising jobs

Existing companies and new organisations will always need people to promote them. That’s why marketing and advertising specialists are both well-paid and safe from being replaced by A.I. or robots.

In the US, for example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the job outlook for advertising, promotions, and marketing managers will grow by 8% through 2028.

Marketing jobs and salaries

Here’s a list with some of the most popular Marketing jobs. Based on data from Glassdoor, we’ve also added the average annual salaries in the United States:

  • Marketing Specialist - 54,250 USD
  • Brand Manager - 89,800 USD
  • Copywriter - 58,450 USD
  • Market Research Analyst - 53,700 USD
  • SEO Manager - 62,600 USD
  • Social Media Coordinator - 46,285 USD
  • Marketing Manager - 65,500 USD

Advertising jobs and salaries

Using the same structure and Glassdoor data, here are several in-demand Advertising jobs:

  • Advertising Coordinator - 42,900 USD
  • Communication Consultant - 77,350 USD
  • Media Planner - 51,100 USD
  • Campaign Manager - 53,400 USD
  • Production Artist - 44,800 USD
  • Creative Director - 126,600 USD
  • Advertising Manager - 72,250 USD

Should you study Marketing or Advertising?

There you have it! Now you are one of the people who know how Marketing and Advertising are different and why they are both relevant for businesses all over the world.

This makes us wonder...which one will you choose for your studies and why? Share this article on social media and let us know!

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