Students seeking formal academic training in marketing can find online degree programs at several four-year universities and colleges. Distance learning programs in this field typically lead to a Bachelor of Science or Master of Science degree. The entirely online coursework is designed to give students a solid foundation in business, consumer behavior, marketing research, sales and communications.
Online bachelor's programs in marketing typically take around four years to complete, although students who already have transferable associate's degrees may be able to earn their degree in half that time. Students who decide to pursue graduate-level education must have a bachelor's degree and may have to submit information on their professional experience as well as GMAT scores. Once admitted, distance learners can usually earn their master's degree in about two years.
At the bachelor's degree level, online programs address a broad spectrum of topics in marketing and business in addition to requiring general education coursework. Web-based master's degree programs offer further opportunities to specialize in such areas as analytics or public relations. Typical online course topics may include the following:
- Demographic outreach
- Digital advertising
- Marketing research
- Budget management
Although many programs offer marketing coursework totally online, some could require distance learners to complete an in-person practicum or internship to gain experience.
Online marketing programs traditionally utilize e-mail, discussion boards and instant messengers for communication among students and instructors. In this field, correspondence and participation may be weighted heavily, considering its relevance to the field of study. Students complete tests and assignments online, often at their own pace but in accordance with specific, fixed deadlines.
Professionals working as marketing consultants often handle the following duties:
- Coordinate resources
- Oversee marketing communications
- Analyze previous marketing strategies
- Estimate project outlooks
- Implement customer relations programs
Because of the nature of their business, marketing consultants' wages vary widely. Some work by commission, while others are paid a steady wage. Some are also paid by project. Freelance marketing consultants may operate almost entirely online; in this case, earnings are dependent on personal effort, ability and success. PayScale.com reported that the salary range for the 10th-90th percentile of marketing consultants was $31,802-$102,832 as of October 2016.
Individuals wanting to be a marketing consultant can earn their bachelor's or master's degree fully online, but some programs may require an on-site internship. While some master's degree programs offer areas of concentration, undergraduate and graduate coursework typically includes marketing and business courses combined with general education courses.