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Advertising Vs. Marketing Majors: What's the Difference?

Advertising and marketing are related majors with key differences. While advertising is a part of marketing, they are actually two distinct disciplines. The various majors available in marketing and advertising reflect these important differences.

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Advertising vs. Marketing Majors: Overview of Differences

Advertising is the act of getting the word out to consumers about a product or service. Marketing is the larger process of successfully selling products or services to the consumer from start to finish. Marketing may begin as early as the research and development stage and involves market research, product development, pricing, sales strategies, distribution, advertising and public relations. Advertising, therefore, is only one part of the marketing process.

Advertising Major Overview

Advertising majors may be presented as a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts in Advertising. Many programs also offer concentrations or simultaneous studies in public relations and management. Upon finishing the undergraduate program, individuals may want to earn a master's degree for better job opportunities.

Concentrations

All undergraduate programs in advertising offer courses in the principles of advertising and consumer behavior. Often, students can select a concentration or additional course of study, such as public relations or management. A public relations concentration includes courses in copy writing, press releases, interactive design and strategic communication. A management concentration instructs students in integrated strategy, promotions and sponsorships, advertising and PR research techniques, advertising management and account planning.

Graduate Options

A Master of Science in Advertising program is also available for interested students. This degree program often allows students to select an advertising management or advertising research concentration. Programs include classes in advertising and promotion management, marketing management, advertising and society, consumer behavior and public relations research.

Marketing Major Overview

A Bachelor of Business Administration or Bachelor of Science in Marketing is most commonly offered for those who wish to major in the field of marketing. Many programs encourage (or require) students to participate in a hands-on marketing internship. The programs include classes in the following:

  • Marketing research
  • International marketing
  • Marketing strategies
  • Advertising and promotion management
  • Retail and Web-based marketing
  • Personal selling
  • Sales management

Graduate Options

At the graduate level, many schools offer a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program with a marketing management emphasis. In addition to the regular MBA coursework, marketing students can take courses in promotion management, market research, strategy and planning, international marketing and buyer behavior.

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