Is a Marketing Degree worth it in the UK 2023?

Is a Marketing Degree worth it in the UK? Among the many different subjects you can study to work in the business world, marketing is definitely one of the most popular.

In this post we will look into this degree in detail and we will answer that question. Firstly, we need to identify what attracts students to pursue a marketing degree.

As we have seen in our review of a business management degree, you have this image of a manager having a business meeting in a nice office, possibly a skyscraper with a view of the city.

When you think about an accounting & finance degree, you have these image of smart people wearing suits and looking at big screens with money all over them.

But what do you think, or better, how do you imagine marketing? The very first thing that probably comes up to your mind is ads.

We constantly see them everyday, companies trying to advertise their products and services in the most effective ways possible.

Some are so impactful that we remember them for years. Well, that’s pure marketing at its best, and it is fascinating!

What is Marketing?

The best way to start a research is always to find a simple but comprehensive definition. “Marketing refers to activities a company undertakes to promote the buying or selling of a product or service. (Investopedia)

The first thing to highlight from that definition is: activities. If you think that marketing is simply creating ads you are wrong.

There is a vast set of tasks that a marketing expert needs to execute, from market research to the actual final campaign.

Marketing is a core department of a business and it operates hand in hand with the sales department. In many cases, they actually follow the same organisational structure and report to the same head of department/director.

Hopefully, those are the positions you are targeting for your future career, think big! You might also think about starting your own marketing agency, for some students even more exciting!

A Marketing Degree

Another important thing to consider is that marketing is rarely a stand-alone course nowadays. In fact, it is common for students to combine marketing with other subjects (joint degree).

Most universities are flexible in that regard and offer a large variety of courses. However, we can identify some of the most popular subjects often combined with marketing: business; finance; human resources; law; design; psychology.

As you can see, you could mix marketing with business studies or also with more scientific subjects. All of the above, for different reasons, well complement with marketing.

Nevertheless, sure you can find many more subjects to combine it with. Basically, you can tailor your marketing degree according to your interests.

Just as for business degrees, it is also very common to combine marketing with a foreign language. This is particularly convenient if you would like to work for a multinational or go abroad for a work experience.

So what will you actually study in a marketing degree?

You might have heard of the famous 5 P’s of marketing: product; price; promotion; place; people. However, some extend the marketing mix to 7 P’s, adding process and physical evidence.

These are usually the very first marketing concepts you will be taught at university. If you think the marketing mix is something that you can learn easily you are wrong! Each of those p involves a remarkable amount of work and research.

There is a wide range of marketing techniques to learn. You will need to understand how to design a marketing campaign effectively. Do you think is that easy? There are a lot of stages to get through!

It involves subjects you might not even think of. A lot of things are hidden from consumers’ eyes. They just see the final product or service.

Knowledge to develop a marketing strategy

For example, you need financial knowledge in order to allocate the budget available for the marketing campaign.

You also need to be able to conduct market research; define your target audience precisely; study its consumer behaviour; what do they read? how do they shop? their demographics; income and so on.

If that wasn’t enough, you have to learn about data analytics in order to make decisions based on pilot campaigns and other data.

Not even to mention the knowledge you need to have on the product or service you are going to advertise! What values does it provide to consumers?

You might have heard of the “Value Proposition Canvas”. It is one of the most widely used marketing tool, and it’s essential to design effective marketing campaigns.

That was just a taste of designing a marketing strategy. There is so much more you will need to master; from design and communication skills to regulations and law.

A great marketing strategy can make a company successful and give you a big financial bonus. On the other hand, think about unsuccessful marketing campaigns.

There are many real examples to learn from. What might sound like a great idea, might result in a disaster and bad company reputation!

What is like to work in Marketing?

So what are you actually going to do when working in marketing? What we have discussed above was just a taste of what goes on in a marketing department.

The first thing to outline is pressure, although that is the case of every department really. Where does this pressure come from?

Sales targets! As mentioned earlier, marketing and sales have a strong connection! There is a ratio that higher management and directors always look at.

It assesses the conversion from marketing spending to actual sales. In simple words, how much a company earns thanks to marketing activities.

Unsurprisingly, the problems start when the conversion rate is low. There the pressure comes. Why the marketing strategy is not driving up sales? You will need to find that out and give answers.

Was it because of competition? Or maybe a change in consumer behaviour? There is a lot to learn from failure and mistakes.

Having said so, marketing is about great innovative ideas, it can give great satisfaction and pay a high salary! If you like the sound of what goes on in such department, then a Marketing Degree is worth pursuing!

Where can you work with a marketing degree?

Not all companies have an internal marketing department. It depends on their own strategy, no matter if it is a multinational or an SME.

Nevertheless, nowadays many businesses outsource their marketing activities to external agencies. This would change considerably your role as a marketing agent.

Working in an internal marketing department; you will develop an in-depth knowledge of the company you work for and all products and services.

You will become an expert of that industry and work on many internal projects; e.g. launching a brand new product; improving the marketing strategy of a product already in the market; adjusting the campaign of a product approaching the end of its lifecycle and so on.

Working for an independent marketing agency; you will work on a much larger variety of projects and gain exposure to multiple industries.

You will also need to build long lasting relationships with clients as you will have to deal with them directly. Imagine it like this, your official employer is the marketing agency, but your real ones are the client(s).

More about Marketing jobs

Obviously, if you become a marketing expert you can open your own agency, or alternatively work as a self-employed freelancer.

Ideally, you will have already some work experience and few clients before setting up your own business. However, there are many stories of graduates who have started their marketing agency successfully right after graduation.

If you get really good at it, success will come naturally, even in such competitive environment! Are still unsure whether or not a marketing degree is worth it?

Moreover, as technology is constantly evolving, so it does the marketing industry. In fact, specialisations in digital & social media marketing, virtual reality and SEO are in high demand in the current job market.

These are certainly trends worth noting down if marketing is the career you want to pursue! With all these skills to gain, marketing degree is definitely an employable degree.

The UK marketing industry

The UK economy is one of the most developed in the world. Unsurprisingly, the marketing and advertising industry is a large contributor to that.

Below some data on advertising spending the UK from 2018 to 2022 (data on 2023 spending not available as yet).

In 2019 alone the gross value added of the sector to the UK economy reached over £17 billion. If you are wondering what impact coronavirus had on the industry, in 2020 marketing spending dropped 7.6%.

It is undeniable the fall in ad spending. However, the industry is already back with a 10.4% growth prediction in 2021 and 10.5% for 2022! (source: Statista, A. Guttmann, 2021)

Nevertheless, you should never let industry trends impact your decision. This is regardless of what they look like, either promising or unfavourable.

It’s a mindset that you need to adopt, the market will always bounce back, despite of ups and downs. Education is like an investment, but rather than investing in the market you are investing in yourself.

Is marketing a good degree in the UK?

It is certainly an exciting time to get into marketing! Technology and innovation are driving marketing to a whole new level.

A lot is happening right now, people are changing their spending behaviour, the way they shop, where they see ads and more.

We have the explosion of social media with new platforms taking over more established ones. The rise of virtual reality and other technologies such as the blockchain will revolutionise the sector even more.

If this sounds interesting to you, then marketing is a very good degree. You will have the opportunity to study, and work in, this amazing evolution.

In terms of the degree itself, as mentioned earlier in the post, you can often combine marketing with another subject(s).

This would give you leverage to access multiple industries of your interests! Keep in mind that the business world is widely interconnected.

Thus, with a background in marketing you could effectively work managerial roles in sales, business management, customer service/acquisition, public relations and many more.

On top of that, a degree is a standard requirement for many higher paid jobs, regardless of the subjects studied.

Obviously, you could also continue your academic journey doing a master/postgraduate and specialise in a specific marketing area.

That would definitely be a great option to become an industry expert, making a marketing degree even more worth pursuing.

Conclusions, is a Marketing Degree worth it?

In this post we went trough all major aspects of a marketing degree. We have seen what marketing is; what studies it involves; what is like to work in marketing; the marketing industry n the UK and the future of it.

It is a fantastic career and a core part of the business world. It certainly comes with pressure, but it also offers great rewards, both career satisfaction and financial.

A marketing degree makes you very employable and equips you with the necessary skills to success in the job market. Therefore, the answer is quite clearly YES, a Marketing Degree is worth in the UK.


Please mind that everything you read on this blog is based on the authors’ experience and research. Therefore consider this as an opinion only.

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