Marketing Careers

We'll guide you in developing the communication, critical thinking and time-management skills you need to be successful in your marketing career. We'll also help prepare you for your career with internships and other resources.

Our graduates launch successful careers in a wide range of marketing areas and positions:


Many organizations employ advertising specialists. Advertising agencies are the largest employers; however, manufacturers, retailers, banks, hospitals, insurance agencies, and radio and television stations all have advertising departments. Because the industry is so competitive, it's 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 MBA degree.


  • Marketing manager - business product/service
  • Marketing manager - consumer product
  • Market research director
  • Media planner/analyst
  • Account executive
  • Account supervisor
Digital Marketing

As a result of technological capabilities and lifestyle market opportunities, digital marketing has enjoyed substantial expansion. Positions in digital marketing generally involve three facets: planning marketing activities, marketing research and market analysis. Underlying most digital marketing programs is the use of a computerized database containing data related to customer/prospect information, transaction records and media tracking information. Your skills and interests in marketing and data processing can lead to excellent career opportunities in digital 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
Marketing Research

Market researchers figure out why people buy certain products, combining quantitative data with their understanding of how markets work. They 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 is 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, psychology, communication, and data processing and analysis. A large supplier firm such as the Nielsen company will hire entry-level employees in two primary areas, statistical analysis and client services. A postgraduate degree (MBA, M.S.) 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 the activities required to market a product. Thus, they need to have general knowledge of all 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 the 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 center of company life because their decisions directly affect the success of a business.

The level of experience needed for a brand manager position 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 (MBA, M.S.).


  • 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, nonprofits and governments manage everything from 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 those interested 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're interested in a service-oriented, entrepreneurial profession. Retail careers require many skills. Retail personnel select and order merchandise and may manage the sales force and other personnel. They 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 manager
  • Management 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 on providing information, while others emphasize locating potential customers, closing the sale or maintaining ongoing customer satisfaction. Compensation often consists of salary plus commission, setting few limits on the amount of money a person can make and offering 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, others will use sales as a stepping stone in their progress toward management. Management positions often require an advanced degree (MBA, M.S.).


  • Sales and marketing director
  • Regional sales manager
  • Manufacturer's representative

The Journal of Selling has recognized our Department of Marketing as one of six programs nationally from which to recruit salespeople.

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's not unusual for them to have some sales experience. Assistant product managers may choose to go into this position instead of product management.

Potential Employers

For information on recruiting our students, contact internship coordinator Michele Kaczka at or 815-753-1156.

Contact Us

Department of Marketing
Barsema Hall
740 Garden Road
DeKalb, IL 60115

NIU College of Business AACSB Accredited

Higher Education in Diversity Award - 2021 Top Colleges for Diversity

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