Merchandising marketing, sales and distribution represent key steps in the process of moving products into the hands of customers. Degree programs are available to prepare candidates for jobs including marketing manager, sales manager and supply chain manager. A bachelor's degree in sales or marketing provides one path toward these careers, while certain position in specialized technical markets require both an undergraduate degree in a technical field and an MBA.
|Career||Marketing Manager||Sales Manager||Supply Chain Manager|
|Education Requirements||Bachelor's degree or MBA||Bachelor's degree or MBA||Bachelor's degree or MBA|
|Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)*||13%||8%||3%|
|Median Salary (2014)*||$127,130||$110,660||$105,060|
*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Degrees in Merchandising Marketing, Sales and Distribution
An aspiring merchandising marketing and sales professional may pursue a bachelor's degree in sales and marketing. Such a degree program could include courses in advertising, international marketing, sales management, buyer behavior and salesmanship. For management positions, some employers prefer an advanced degree, such as a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in marketing. MBA marketing degree programs may include such courses as marketing research, supply chain management and e-commerce marketing.
Marketing and sales management positions in technical markets, such as electronics or pharmaceuticals, may require a bachelor's degree in a relevant field, such as engineering or biochemistry, in addition to an MBA in marketing.
A career in distribution, also known as supply chain management, commonly requires a bachelor's degree in supply chain management or a related field. Coursework in such programs may include transportation and logistics, quality management and inventory management. Some positions require an advanced degree, for example, an MBA with a supply chain management concentration.
Marketing managers promote their company's products to prospective markets and customers. They do this by assessing demand for their products and by developing pricing strategies. They also search for new markets for their products and keep abreast of emerging trends that may signal the need for a new product offering. They commonly work closely with other professionals, such as advertising managers, market research managers and product development managers.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for marketing managers is expected to increase by 13% from 2012-2022 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also stated that, as of May 2014, the median annual salary for marketing managers was $127,130.
Sales managers coordinate the sale of products to customers. They typically are responsible for an assigned geographic region. Some sales managers direct the activities of junior sales representatives in their region. They may establish sales goals and quotas, develop training programs and provide coaching on sales techniques and strategies. They can monitor sales trends to ensure supply of product can meet projected demand. They may also monitor trends that may be useful in the development of new products.
In May 2014, the BLS reported that the median annual wage for sales managers was $110,660. Employment in this field is expected to increase by 8% through the 2012-2022 decade, the BLS further indicates, which is slower than average.
Supply Chain Manager
Supply chain managers coordinate the various steps involved in sourcing, procurement and transportation of raw material, work in progress (WIP) and finished product in a timely and cost-effective manner. This effort involves many duties, including analyzing inventories, negotiating with raw material suppliers and freight carriers, balancing flow of raw material to match demand for finished product, continuously monitoring supply chain performance and implementing improvements as needed. They work closely with managers of other functional areas, including marketing, finance, production and quality assurance.
In 2014, purchasing managers in general earned a median income of $105,060 per year, as per data from the BLS. The number of positions for purchasing managers are expected to see slower-than-average job growth between 2012 and 2022, with opportunities expected to rise by only 3%.