The field of integrated marketing communications is critical to the success of national and international businesses. According to the American Association of Advertising Agencies, integrated marketing communications connect myriad message-delivery platforms through effective planning. Professionals in this field need to know how everything from coupons and email offers to national TV ads fit together. The required technical and creative skills in this field make it one of the more challenging marketing and communications jobs.
Aspiring integrated marketing experts might ask themselves, “Is a communications degree worth it?” Successful marketing professionals possess the passion and knowledge to create cohesive communication plans. Marketing executives often have a fine-tuned radar for ideas and projects that are off message, over budget, or ineffective at reaching target audiences. To reach this level of expertise, however, professionals need the right experience and education to prepare them for critical moments.
The online MA in Integrated Marketing Communications from St. Bonaventure University turns students into skilled communicators. Students in this program develop essential skills through courses covering everything from developing a company’s voice to using data analysis tools. With an MA in Integrated Marketing Communications from SBU in hand, graduates are positioned for progressive marketing roles across industries.
PayScale offers a glimpse into average marketing communications salaries for master’s degree holders. In 2019, the job data site listed an average salary of $70,000 for integrated marketing communications graduates. For comparison, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported an average salary of $51,960 across all occupations in May 2018, so integrated marketing jobs continue to pay above average for occupations with bachelor’s degrees.
PayScale also determined that marketing communications directors earned $88,000 per year on average in 2019. Marketing directors and senior marketing directors received median salaries of $102,000 per year. These statistics only account for job base salaries and does not include benefits, stock options, and other incentives.
MA graduates should consider several variables when determining an acceptable salary range for marketing and communications jobs. A salary closer to the median might be acceptable if the compensation package includes excellent health insurance and 401(k) contributions. An integrated marketing communication job’s salary might also vary from region to region to reflect the costs of living. Newcomers to the field should also keep in mind the level of demand for their services when setting their preferred salaries.
The BLS offers a promising outlook for professionals pursuing integrated marketing communications careers. According to the agency, advertising, promotions, and marketing managers will see a 10% estimated growth in available jobs from 2016 to 2026. BLS projected a 7% growth rate for all job categories in the United States during the same period. The industry’s exceptional growth in the near future means that marketing graduates should not settle for lower-than-average salaries.
In addition to the BLS jobs projection, it is worth considering why available jobs will grow substantially by 2026. Marketing and communications jobs are becoming more complex due to globalization and the technical proficiencies needed for multi-channel management. Workplace training and university programs often move young marketing professionals into specializations as indicators of progress. Integrated marketing communications, however, require the ability to shift from large-scale thinking to detailed planning within each project. Marketing firms and companies with in-house marketing departments need skilled staff members who can handle the complexities of modern communications.
Skills for success
Earning a master’s degree in integrated marketing communications is a critical step toward earning a good marketing communications salary. For long-term career growth, however, professionals need to cultivate strong skills outside of the classroom. MarketPro offers a good primer on the following skills desired for marketing communications professionals:
- Ability to highlight improvements to customer lives rather than specifications
- Balance knowledge of the marketplace with outside-the-box creativity
- Translation of data analysis into real-world initiatives
- Expertise in the latest tools Google AdWords and Adobe Creative Cloud
- Open and honest communications with team members
SBU’s online MA in integrated marketing communications moves students toward this desirable skill set. The program is designed for working professionals who want to create exceptional portfolios around their work and family schedules. Students also work with experienced faculty who can reinforce the good habits and honed skills necessary to break into this field.
Prospective career paths
With an MA in integrated marketing communications, a graduate can narrow their career path based on the desired job and industry. The most likely path for this degree is a marketing management career with a marketing, communications, or advertising firm. Marketing managers work with staff members to set budgets and develop communications plans. In addition to refining communications for a company, managers also oversee hiring processes and professional development for their teams. This career path can lead to senior leadership or executive positions after years of successful campaigns.
Professionals who ask, “Is a communications degree worth it?” might be interested in more creative positions. Social media managers are essential for any brand to connect traditional and online communications. This job requires staying current on the latest trends and consumer preferences while remaining true to a company’s vision. MA graduates can act as conduits between particular brands and communications teams as brand management consultants. Art directors draw on their natural creativity and acquired marketing skills to create the visual components used in corporate communication efforts.
A great salary and benefits, along with promising career prospects, are not the only rewards to gain from marketing and communications jobs. Marketing managers and other professionals in the field consistently report high satisfaction with their work. In Glassdoor’s 2019 list of jobs with the highest satisfaction rates, marketing managers placed 13th place with a job satisfaction score of 4.2 out of 5. This list also included brand managers and marketing assistants each with 4.3 scores on the five-point scale.
U.S. News & World Report also reported high satisfaction in its ratings for marketing manager positions. The publication ranked marketing manager as the top job in the sales and marketing industry. Marketing managers also reached the 15th spot on the Best Paying Jobs list and the 31st spot in the 100 Best Jobs. Professionals in this line of work report exceptional salaries, a thriving job market, and good work-life balance. An unemployment rate of 1.8% in the field plus a top-level salary of $180,070 also contribute to satisfying careers. Master’s degrees in integrated marketing communications help graduates achieve these goals.