At the heart of every brand that’s ever been loved was a marketing team who knew what they were doing. “Think Nike, Apple, Absolut, Volkswagen,” wrote Douglas Holt, former Oxford marketing professor, in the Harvard Business Review, “they’re brands [that are] revered by their customers not because they deliver distinctive benefits or innovative technologies (though they may provide all of them); rather, they succeeded because they forged a deep connection with the culture through compelling stories.”
If your goal is to become the driving force behind the making of an iconic brand, then you might want to consider pursuing a Master’s in Marketing. It deepens your understanding of not only the principles of marketing, but also the analytical tools to unpack consumer behaviour as marketing moves rapidly away from just an art form and into a scientific method.
I’ll draw on my experience studying MSc Marketing at LSE as I share my opinions.
Who would suit a Master’s in Marketing?
A common theme binding marketing postgraduates together is a fascination with integrating creativity with analytics to craft narratives that people care about. If you enjoy harnessing data to reach customers with the right messages at the right touch points where they’re most susceptible to influence, then a Master’s in Marketing might suit you.
There are three main types of people who pursue such degrees.
- Firstly, recent graduates and working professionals who want to kickstart a career in marketing but may not have any formal experience in marketing and business.
- Secondly, marketers who strive to advance the corporate ladder by developing an even stronger and more nuanced understanding of marketing from a managerial and scientific perspective.
- Thirdly, aspiring academic researchers who aim to specialise in fields such as behavioural science, digital marketing, and branding.
Of course, obtaining a master’s degree isn’t the only way to become a marketer. If your profession or undergraduate degree offers you transferable skills, you could opt for an internship or entry-level role. This may allow you to reach your goal more efficiently, gaining valuable work experience while leaving a tangible impact on a company’s performance. Likewise, if you’re a marketer looking to be promoted, applying for a higher position in a different company may be a better option.
What does a Master’s in Marketing offer you?
An entry-level position may not provide you with the same breadth and depth that a marketing postgraduate degree might. Sometimes, as an employee, you’re given clear responsibilities, which may restrict your ability to experience the different facets of a business.
As a marketing postgraduate, you’ll learn the science and art of marketing, deep-diving into how consumers think and behave, leveraging technology to deliver personalised value propositions and optimise pricing strategies that resolve acute consumer pain-points, and measuring key metrics to improve campaigns that drive customer preferences and generate revenue growth.
You’ll also be exposed to critical business areas such as;
- corporate strategy
- organisational behaviour
- game theory
- financial management
- public relations policy
Therefore, transforming you into a more well-rounded and business-savvy marketer. Furthermore, you’ll have the opportunity to connect with a diverse range of industry experts, expanding your network and learning meaningful insights from each other.
Beyond this, you’ll work alongside real-world companies to help solve their challenges. Your assessments are mainly group projects based on up-to-date case studies, enabling you to develop collaborative and leadership skills alongside commercial awareness across multiple industries such as food and beverage, and information technology.
Nevertheless, most graduate programmes do offer departmental rotations (and don’t necessarily require a marketing degree), which you could consider if you’d rather work immediately. However, they’re extremely competitive. While a Master’s in Marketing doesn’t guarantee a job offer, it may help your application stand out due to the unique mix of creative, analytical, and interpersonal skills you hold.
What career paths are available to marketing postgraduates?
You’ll have a diverse range of career paths available. This is because almost every company depends on visibility and awareness to succeed. Quantitative roles like data science and consulting may suit you due to the transferable skills and knowledge gained from a marketing degree.
|Develop marketing strategies and oversee the marketing department.
|Use digital channels to generate leads and build brand awareness.
|Market research analyst
|Analyze market conditions and apply a data-driven approach to inform management decisions (e.g. find the right location to launch a service).
|Perform quantitative and qualitative analysis, determine brand positioning, develop a marketing and media campaign, and outline social media plan.
|Develop relationships with clients, connect with business executives, and identify business opportunities among existing clients.
|Strategic communications manager
|Ensure development and measurement of communication strategies and policies, and increase communications capability and performance of organisation.
|Guide the success of a product (strategic roadmaps, value propositions) and lead the cross-functional team to build/improve it.
|Gather and evaluate user requirements, illustrate design ideas using storyboards, process flows and sitemaps, and design graphic user interface elements.
|Create machine learning-based tools or processes within the company (e.g. recommendation engines or automated lead scoring systems).
|Collect data on sales numbers, market research, logistics, linguistics, and other behaviours. Ensure accuracy of the data, process, design, and present it to help businesses make better decisions.
|Identify information sources, gather and interpret data, execute analysis, and present findings to case team and client stakeholders.
|Bridge gap between IT and business using data analytics to assess processes, determine requirements, and deliver data-driven recommendations to stakeholders.
However, if you’d like to specialise in niche fields like consulting or data science, then you should consider studying business administration or human computer interaction (HCI) respectively.
A Master’s in Marketing stands out because it provides you with a scientific approach to analysing consumer behaviour and leveraging data-driven insights to execute creative marketing campaigns. While there are other options available (e.g. find work experience or choose a niche degree like HCI), a marketing degree equips you with the know-how to combine the science and art of marketing to strategically help brands thrive in today’s ultra-competitive landscape.