Marketing Department - College of Business Northern Illinois University

Quick Navigation


Marketing Department

Careers in Marketing

Generally speaking, to be successful in marketing, one needs to be a good communicator, critical thinker, and able to relate well with others. Successful marketers have good time-management skills, enjoy working with a wide variety of people, and are self-motivated. Marketing is a good career for people who are not afraid to have their performance measured and who enjoy receiving rewards for hard work.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2010, jobs requiring a bachelor's degree or higher will grow 2.2% per year, compared with 1.2% per year for jobs requiring work-related training only. Advertising, marketing, public relations, sales, and sales promotion manager positions are expected to increase faster than the average for all occupations through 2014.


Many organizations employ advertising specialists. Advertising agencies are the largest employers; however, manufacturers, retailers, banks, radio and television stations, hospitals, and insurance agencies all have advertising departments. Account executives manage the account services department, assess the need for advertising, and maintain client accounts.

Because the industry is so competitive, it is very difficult to enter. Compensation for entry level positions in advertising is generally lower than other entry level positions, but increases substantially as one moves into management. In addition to experience, account manager positions will generally require an M.B.A. degree.

  • Mktg Manager Business Product/Service
  • Mktg Manager Consumer Product
  • Market Research Director
  • Media Planner/Analyst
  • Account Executive
  • Account Supervisor

Interactive Marketing

As a result of technological capabilities and lifestyle market opportunities, interactive marketing has enjoyed substantial expansion. Although precise figures are difficult to pinpoint, interactive marketing has grown at a rate of at least 10% annually in recent years.

The marketing positions in interactive marketing generally involve three facets: planning marketing activities, marketing research, and market analysis. Underlying most interactive marketing programs is the use of a computerized database containing data related to customer/prospect information, transaction records, and media tracking information. Graduating students with skills and interest in both marketing and data processing are likely to find excellent career opportunities in interactive marketing.

  • Catalog Circulation Manager
  • Catalog Marketing Director/B-to-B
  • Catalog Marketing Director/Consumer
  • Art Director-Catalog
  • Database Manager
  • Catalog Marketing Manager-Consumer
  • Catalog Marketing Manager-B-to-B

NIU's Department of Marketing offers an area of study in interactive marketing supported by the Chicago Association of Direct Marketing Education Foundation. learn more...

Marketing Research

Market researchers figure out what drives people to buy Cheerios, Chevrolets and Chimichangas. Market researchers are applied consumer behaviouralists, combining quantitative data with their understanding of how markets work to better promote a product. Market researchers use tools such as statistical analysis packages, surveys, focus groups and new product tests to help achieve success for a product. Work as a market researcher in both interesting and potentially lucrative. The field is booming and with ever-improving data from places such as supermarket scanners and the web, there is no doubt that this field has a bright future.

Marketing research requires knowledge of statistics, data processing and analysis, psychology, and communication. A large supplier firm such as A.C. Nielsen will hire entry level people in two primary areas: statistical analysis and client services. A postgraduate degree (M.B.A., MS) is a prerequisite for most corporate researchers at major companies (and, yes, grades are important!).

  • Marketing Research Analyst
  • Market Analyst
  • Project Director
  • Market Research Director

Product (Brand) Management

Product (brand) managers coordinate all activities required to market a product. Thus, they need a general knowledge of all the aspects of marketing. The range of a product (brand) manager's function varies from company to company according to the profit importance of the individual brand and size of the company. Product managers are responsible for the successes and failures of a product and are compensated well for this responsibility.

Product management professionals are excited about their ability to manage and strengthen brands. They are at the vortex of company life because their decisions directly affect the success of a business.

The level of experience needed for a brand manager is usually three to five years as a marketing assistant and/or assistant product manager. The most common route to a "starting" position in a brand group is via a sales or communications/advertising background. Most product (brand) manager positions will also require a postgraduate degree (M.B.A., MS).

  • Product Manager-Web
  • Assistant Product Manager
  • Product/Brand Manager
  • Product Catalog Manager
  • Project Director

Public Relations

Public relations firms help create an image or message for an individual or organization and communicate it effectively to the desired audience. PR firms help companies, non-profits and governments manage everything from speeches and the look of brochures to major crises. Communication skills, both written and oral, are critical for success in public relations. There's no doubt that this field will continue to change, offering tremendous opportunities to someone with an interest in the area.

  • Corporate Director
  • Agency PR Manager
  • PR Account Executive
  • Freelance PR Agents


Retail is one of the fastest growing, most dynamic parts of the world economy. Careers in retail are people-oriented, fast-paced and exciting. Retailing is worth taking a good look at, particularly if you are looking for service-oriented, entrepreneurial profession. Retail careers require many skills. Retail personnel may manage the sales force and other personnel, select and order merchandise, and are responsible for promotional activities, inventory control, store security, and accounting. Large retail stores have a variety of positions, including store or department manager, buyer, display designer, and catalog manager.

  • Regional Sales Mgr
  • Mgmt Trainee
  • Senior Buyer
  • Assistant Manager
  • Store Manager
  • District Manager


There are more opportunities in sales than in any other area of marketing. Sales positions vary greatly among companies. Some selling positions focus more on providing information; others emphasize locating potential customers, closing the sale, and maintaining ongoing customer satisfaction. Compensation, often salary plus commission, sets few limits on the amount of money a person can make and therefore offers great potential.

Professional selling requires training and experience. You must know yourself, your product(s), your customer(s), and your market(s). If you have a good understanding of people and enjoy working independently, sales will offer you many options. While many plan a career in sales, many others will use sales as a stepping stone in the progress toward management. (Management positions often require an advanced degree; i.e., M.B.A. or MS.)

  • Sales & Marketing Director
  • Regional Sales Manager
  • Manufacturer's Representative

The Journal of Sales and Marketing Management has identified NIU's Department of Marketing as one of the six programs nationally from which to recruit new salespeople. learn more...

Sales Promotion

When a company is looking for an immediate response, it will spend a larger portion of its promotional budget on sales promotion. The sales promotion manager is someone whose experience lends itself to developing and executing short-term incentives such as sweepstakes, coupons, and premiums to augment the other promotional efforts of the firm. This position is usually found in the area of consumer products. Industrial firms may use sales promotion, but usually not to the degree of requiring a specialist.

There are no distinct career paths for a sales promotion manager. Product knowledge is essential, so it is not unusual for them to have some sales experience. This is also a position that assistant product managers may go into instead of into product management.