What’s the Best Degree Path to Becoming an Advertising and Promotions Manager?

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Advertising and promotions managers move at a fast pace. They have creative jobs that require imagination and strong leadership skills. Drawing on imagination and intuition makes advertising and promotions managers successful in their day-to-day tasks. As you embark on your path to become an advertising and promotions manager, this article will help guide your journey. You will find which degrees are best suited for this profession. There is other useful information, such as earnings and projected job outlook for this unique career.

Degrees and Education for Advertising and Promotions Managers

For most advertising and promotions manager positions, a bachelor’s degree is required. If you plan to work in advertising exclusively, a bachelor’s degree in advertising may be necessary. However, some employers look for candidates with degrees in other closely related disciplines, such as marketing or journalism.

While earning a bachelor’s in advertising or marketing, relevant courses provide a strong foundation in the field. These courses cover topics like:

  • consumer behavior
  • communication methods and technology
  • market research
  • sales
  • visual arts

Additional courses and electives may include:

  • business law
  • economics
  • finance
  • statistics

All of these are highly advantageous to the advertising major.

Some marketing majors may earn a specialization or concentration in a relevant area of focus. Common specializations include:

  • Advertising
  • Global marketing management
  • Integrated marketing
  • Journalism
  • Social media branding

Business programs often offer concentrations in:

  • advertising
  • marketing
  • another related area of focus

As a business major, you may choose to graduate with a bachelor’s in business administration (BBA) with a concentration in advertising. Graduate programs, such as an MBA, may also offer specializations in advertising or promotions management. Graduate degrees in advertising are also available. However, they are not as common as MBA programs with add-on specializations. Graduate degrees are beneficial for advancement in this field.

Beyond the Degree: Work Experience Required

Work experience is typically a requirement for advertising and promotions managers. In fact, completing an internship while still in school can be useful when applying for jobs. There are summer internships in:

  • advertising
  • marketing
  • promotions
  • sales

These provide relevant work experience that can make you stand out from the other job candidates.

Outside of school, work experience is necessary for advancement. Most advertising, marketing, and promotions managers have work experience in areas of:

  • advertising
  • promotions
  • sales

Typically, these managers have worked in entry-level positions before advancing to management roles. For example, an advertising or promotions manager might have worked as:

  • buyer or purchasing agent
  • a public relations specialist
  • a sales representative

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Important Qualities Needed for Advertising and Promotions Managers

In addition to education, advertising and promotions managers should have certain qualities that help them on the job. These qualities or skills may not be taught in the classroom, though some can be acquired with experience. Important qualities that are useful to advertising and promotions managers include:

  • Analytical abilities: In advertising, marketing, or promotions, analytical skills are important. Managers must be able to assess industry trends to determine the best strategy for their client or organization. Analytical abilities enable them to find solutions to complex problems. They help them  make informed decisions on what action to take next. Analytical skills are important at every level and in every position. They are especially important for managers.
  • Creativity: Creativity and imagination keeps the mind an active participant in a project. Creativity allows advertising and promotions managers to assess a problem and solve it with innovation and skill. Since the role of an advertising and promotions manager relies heavily on the ability to generate new ideas, creativity is critical.
  • Effective communication skills: Advertising and promotions managers must be able to effectively convey information to their teams. These teams are typically made up of:
    • other managers
    • staff members
    • even their client
  • Ideas, direction, and strategies must be communicated clearly and persuasively to the team. Also, ideas and strategies must come through the finished project in order to persuade the public.
  • Interpersonal skills: People with strong interpersonal skills work well with others. They tend to:
    • build strong and lasting relationships
    • understand coworkers and clients
    • communicate well
  • Managers work closely with teams of people at all professional levels. This work requires them to deal with individuals in different roles. Having strong interpersonal skills helps managers to build and keep relationships, both inside and outside of the organization.
  • Organizational skills: From managing budgets to directing staff, advertising and promotions managers have a lot on their plate. In order to juggle multiple tasks or projects, they must have strong organizational skills. Being organized helps a person manage their workload and stay productive, even during the busiest of times.
  • Quick decision-making skills: Managers in advertising and promotions must make quick decisions. They must choose between competing marketing and branding strategies brought forward by staff. Managers are often the ones who make the decision when it comes to which strategy will be used. Quick decision-making skills are important for this role.

Job Outlook for Advertising and Promotions Managers

A favorable job outlook is expected for advertising and promotions managers over the next 10 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, BLS reports that the overall employment of advertising and promotions managers is projected to rise 10 percent through 2030. This percentage is slightly higher than the average of eight percent for all occupations.

According to BLS, each year there will be about 31,000 openings for:

  • advertising managers
  • marketing managers
  • promotions managers

This number should continue each year over the next 10 years. The main reason for employment growth, as indicated by BLS, is a growing need to replace workers who exit the profession. Retirement will drive hiring to fill vacancies.

Other factors that should impact the job outlook for advertising and promotions managers include the expansion of company market shares and the continued use of marketing campaigns. As companies look to expand and grow, new marketing strategies will be needed. As a result, more experts in the field will be hired. Advertising and promotions managers will be sought after to generate new ideas on how to reach customers. Managers will also be needed for advice on coming up with new pricing strategies.

Also, with continued growth in electronic media, there should be an increase in demand for hiring managers with expertise in:

  • digital media campaigns
  • social media campaigns
  • other unique ways of reaching online audiences

The demand for individuals in this occupation will largely be for those with experience in:

  • live chats
  • social media
  • use of websites for marketing and strategy campaigns

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Pay for Advertising and Promotions Managers

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the median annual wage for advertising and promotions managers as $133,460. However, the lowest 10 percent of earners in this occupation make an average annual wage of less than $68,900. The highest 10 percent earn more than $208,000. What causes the difference in wages? There are several factors.

First, industry type directly impacts wages for advertising and promotions managers. According to BLS, there are four top-paying industries for this occupation. The top four industries and corresponding average wages are:

  • Advertising, public relations, and related services: $150,930
  • Management of companies and enterprises: $126,420
  • Information: $119,090
  • Wholesale trade: $96,380

A second factor impacting the earnings of advertising and promotions managers is geographic location. According to the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS), there are five top-paying states for advertising and promotions managers. These states are listed below, starting with the top-paying location.

  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Colorado
  • California
  • Ohio

In New York, the annual mean wage for advertising and promotions managers is $183,640. This number exceeds the average earnings for this occupation by about $50,000 annually. However, cost of living and other factors should be considered. Another high-paying state, New Jersey, reports annual mean wages of just over $175,000 for this occupation.
The earnings for advertising and promotions managers in Colorado is about $163,000 per year. It’s $158,820 California. The fifth-highest-paying state for this occupation is Ohio. In this state, advertising and promotions managers see an annual mean wage of $145,610.

Certain metropolitan areas also pay higher-than-average wages for advertising and promotions managers. In Boulder, Colorado, for example, the annual mean wage for this occupation is $220,420. As a result of these earnings, Boulder offers the highest wages of all metro areas for this occupation. Other high-paying metropolitan areas and corresponding mean wages are:

  • New York, Newark, and Jersey City (New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania): $185,490
  • San Francisco, Oakland, and Hayward (California): $181,540
  • Trenton (New Jersey): $179,370
  • Denver, Aurora, and Lakewood (Colorado): $160,440
  • Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Anaheim (California): $154,490

The cost of living is typically higher in certain metro areas than in other areas. However, to earn high wages as an advertising and promotions manager, you don’t have to live in a metro area. Certain non-metro areas also offer higher-than-average pay for this occupation. In fact, mid-sized cities in North Carolina and Texas offer earnings that exceed $200,000 per year.

Top Employers for Advertising and Promotions Managers

A year ago, advertising and promotions managers held approximately 23,200 jobs. Marketing managers held over 293,000 jobs. According to BLS, there are five top employers of advertising and promotions managers. The largest employers for this occupation include:

  • Advertising, public relations, and related services
  • Information
  • Management of companies
  • Wholesale trade
  • Self-employed workers

Managers working in advertising and related services make up about half of the profession. In fact, BLS reports that 49% of all advertising and promotions managers work in advertising, PR, and related services. The second-largest employer of advertising and promotions managers is the information industry. About 12 percent of all individuals in this profession work in information. About nine percent of advertising and promotions managers work in management of companies and enterprises. The remaining two largest employers for this occupation are wholesale trade and self-employed workers. About four percent of managers work in wholesale trade and three percent are self-employed workers.

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For marketing managers, there are also five major employers. The largest employers for marketing managers include the following:

  • Professional, scientific, and technical services
  • Management of companies and enterprises
  • Finance and insurance
  • Manufacturing
  • Wholesale trade

According to BLS, 23 percent of all marketing managers work in professional, scientific, and technical services. 13 percent work in management of companies and enterprises. About 10 percent of marketing managers work in finance and insurance. The manufacturing industry employs about nine percent of all marketing managers, and wholesale trade employs about eight percent.

Types of Managers in Advertising and Promotions

Advertising Managers
The role of an advertising manager is to create interest among potential buyers of products and services. Advertising managers may oversee a department or a division within an organization. They may deliver advertising strategies on a project basis. They may strategize advertising efforts for multiple products and services. In addition to these duties, advertising managers may specialize in a particular field of advertising and promotions, such as:

  • internet
  • magazines
  • billboards
  • social media
  • television

Marketing Managers
Marketing managers identify potential markets for products, services, and the like. They are responsible for estimating the demand for an organization’s product or services. Marketing managers often help to determine pricing strategies that will help a company maximize profits and leverage market share.

Promotions Managers
Promotions managers work with programs that combine advertising and purchasing efforts to drive sales and improve profits in an organization. To help target customers, promotions managers utilize a number of strategies. For example, they use:

  • direct mail
  • in-store displays
  • internet advertisements
  • product endorsements
  • social media ads

They also use purchasing incentives like:

  • contests
  • free samples
  • gifts
  • rebates
  • sweepstakes

BDP Staff
December 2021

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This concludes our article on what’s the best degree path to becoming an advertising and promotions manager.

Brenda Rufener
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Julie McCaulley
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