What is the Difference Between a Marketing Degree and an Advertising Degree?

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Marketing vs. AdvertisingIf you are interested in pursuing a career in the fields of advertising and/or marketing, an important question has probably crossed your mind: What is the difference between marketing degree and advertising degree?

Marketing: The Basics

Marketing is a process that involves communicating the value of a business’s services or products to a customer in order to sell the service or product. To help students excel within the field of marketing, degrees in the subject place primacy upon the acquisition of knowledge in courses such as Managerial Communications, Macroeconomics, Principles of Marketing, Principles of Management, Principles of Finance, Principles of International Business, Business to Business Marketing, Marketing Research, and Consumer Behavior.

Advertising: The Basics

Advertising is a type of marketing communication that is used to persuade an audience to take a specific course of action. Generally, the purpose of advertising is to persuade prospective customers to make a purchase, but the ultimate objective can also be political or ideological. To prepare students to work within the field of advertising, advertising degrees place primacy on subjects such as Advertising and Society, Contemporary Mass Communication, Writing for Media Professionals, Principles and Practices of Advertising, and Consumer Insight and Account Planning.

Marketing and Advertising Degrees: Is There Really A Difference?

If you were to compare and contrast the types of courses that an individual would take upon determining to get a degree in advertising or marketing, a certain continuity would become plain. In short, both degrees place primacy upon providing students with information regarding how to effectively communicate with the public regarding a business’s goods and services in a manner that promotes conversion. Yet, while it may seem that marketing and advertising degrees are similar, there are differences that should be recognized by individuals attempting to determine which educational path to pursue. As Laura Lake notes in her article Marketing vs. Advertising: What’s The Difference?,┬áthe field of advertising involves the non-personal dissemination of announcements designed to inform the public about a business’s products. On the other hand, marketing involves the systematic planning and control of several business activities for the purpose of uniting sellers and buyers in a mutually advantageous manner that promotes conversion. In offering these definitions, Lake provides the reader with an important distinction that separates the worlds of advertising and marketing. In short, marketing is much more personal and is predicated upon the establishment of a meaningful, long-term relationship between buyer and customer. Thus, while individuals who opt to pursue a degree in marketing will learn basic advertising principles, they will also be exposed to ideologies and praxis geared toward fostering and optimizing buyer-seller relationships. Individuals who opt to pursue degrees in advertising will often receive less instruction regarding the relationship-building aspect of product and service promotion.

Related Resource: Specialize a Business Degree


If you are thinking about pursuing a career in the fields of advertising or marketing, you should know that doing so can be personally and professionally rewarding. Now that you have an answer to the question “What is the difference between marketing degree and advertising degree?,” you can determine which educational path would best help you accomplish your vocational objectives.

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