Marketing vs. Finance: Which Degree is Right for Me?
You’re interested in a business career, but the options are overwhelming. It seems like there is a limitless number of business degrees and programs available, and you can’t seem to keep them all straight. From accounting to human resources to management, there’s a lot to consider as you search for the right fit.
To help you narrow it down, we’ve provided a side-by-side comparison of two top business fields: marketing versus finance. Whether you’re leaning toward the more creative side of marketing or favoring the analytical side of finance, this article can help you clarify two of the most in-demand business majors.
Marketing vs. finance: The basics
You may think you know what a business degree entails, but “business” is a broad term that encompasses many varying programs and career paths. There’s a lot to consider when choosing a major, such as job outlook, earning potential and time to degree-completion. You want to choose something with a favorable outlook, as well as something you are truly passionate about. To help you make the best decision, we broke down the basics of each career.
Marketing is the business of introducing or promoting products or services to other organizations or consumers directly. This is done through traditional means such as TV or print ads, flyers, newsletters and billboards, or through newer, digital means. Digital marketing has an ever-increasing scope that now includes content marketing, search engine optimization and email marketing.
Finance, on the other hand, is all about budgeting money and assets. It is similar to accounting in that it involves computation and investments. However, those who study and work in finance will understand how to effectively manage debt, properly manage an investment portfolio and efficiently monitor financial markets and trends.
Marketing vs. finance: Common job titles
Now that you have a better understanding of the basics of marketing and finance, you may be curious to see what you can do with a degree in each of those fields.
Using real-time job analysis software, we identified some of the most popular job titles in each field from the past year.1 We included some common job duties too, so you can get a feel for what the basic day-to-day of each position entails.
Common marketing job titles
- Create marketing strategies from objectives and market characteristics
- Promote services or products through various marketing activities
- Describe product offerings and create strategies on pricing
Projected job growth: 9%
2016 Median annual salary: $131,1802
- Identify prospective customers and follow sales leads
- Communicate with prospective customers about the features of products or offerings
- Build and maintain customer relationships through regular check-ins
Projected job growth: 7%
2016 Median annual salary: $60,5302
- Gather data on market conditions and possible sales of a product
- Determine company’s position in the market and compare to competitors’ prices and sales
- Collect statistics and information through surveys, polls and questionnaires
Projected job growth: 19%
2016 Median annual salary: $62,5602
- Create, maintain and promote public image of company through media
- Form beneficial relationships between company and consumers, communities or public interest groups
- Determine objectives and needs of different companies and develop strategies to promote products or services
Projected job growth: 6%
2016 Median annual salary: $58,0202
- Develop digital strategies to promote visibility and engagement of product
- Analyze online consumer behaviors in relation to the product and market
- Monitor and measure outcomes and data for further optimization
Projected job growth: 2-4%
2016 Median annual salary: $86,5102
Common finance job titles
- Report on current and past financial data
- Determine a company’s value and prospects through financial statements and meetings
- Gather trends and statistics and build investment portfolios
Projected job growth: 12%
2016 Median annual salary: $81,7602
- Keep records of company’s assets, liabilities, taxes and profits
- Analyze financial statements and reports for standardization and accuracy
- Organize tax returns and reports to meet tax requirements and standards
Projected job growth: 11%
2016 Median annual salary: $68,1502
- Research systems and operations that assist management in working more efficiently
- Gather and analyze data to develop solutions
- Follow through with implementation and monitoring of the effectiveness of new strategies
Projected job growth: 14%
2016 Median annual salary: $81,3302
- Examine budget estimates for accuracy and conformance with procedures
- Analyze monthly department budgeting and accounting reports
- Assist business leaders on cost analysis, fiscal allocation and budget preparation
Projected job growth: 3%
2016 Median annual salary: $73,8402
- Assist companies or organizations in making financial decisions
- Create and monitor budgets, financial plans, and investments
- Write and review business reports, financial forecasts and annual budgets
Project job growth: 7%
2016 Median annual salary: $121,7502
Marketing vs. finance: Required skills
The above jobs may sound interesting, but they are not for just anyone. Positions in either fields require a specific set of skills. We found the top skills required in both marketing and finance, so you can get a better understanding of the areas you may excel in.1
|In-demand marketing skills||In-demand finance skills|
|Social media||Financial reporting|
|Customer service||Financial statements|
|Market strategy||Business administration|
|Sales management||Generally Accepted Accounting Principles|
|Customer contact||Account reconciliation|
|Market research||General ledger|
Both fields also share a few common skill sets. These include knowledge of Microsoft Office software, particularly in Excel, budget management and project management. This goes to show that Business degrees, while different in nature, do teach and utilize some of the same transferrable skills, making your degree even more versatile.
Marketing vs. finance: Education requirements
Before embarking on your career in either marketing or finance, you need to get the right degree for your desired position. Our job-posting analysis showed the preferred levels of education in both fields.
The data revealed that 87 percent of marketing jobs required at least a Bachelor’s degree and 89 percent of finance jobs required at least a Bachelor’s degree.1
It’s clear that education is a critical part of launching your career in either marketing or finance. While you may still be deciding which path to take, the most important decision is choosing to go to school to earn a degree.
Marketing vs. finance: The decision is yours
We broke down the fields of marketing versus finance to help you get the bare bones facts on what these two exciting fields entail. In the end, though, only you can decide which career path is right for you. Take some time to identify your strengths and interests to help determine which field best suits you.
If you want a closer look at the career opportunities in each of these fields, take a look at the following articles:
- 10 In-Demand Jobs You Could Land with a Marketing Degree
- Jobs You Can Get with a Finance Degree: 4 Elite Opportunities
- 6 Signs You Might Be Destined to Work in Marketing
- What Does a Financial Analyst Do? Beyond the Numbers
- Should You Major in Business? 4 Reasons to Say 'Yes'
1Burning-Glass.com (analysis of 352,393 finance job postings and 173,052 marketing job postings, June 01, 2016 – May 31, 2017)
2Salary data represents national, averaged earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries and employment conditions in your area may vary.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was originally published in September 2013. It has since been updated to include information relevant to 2017.