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A wide range of educational backgrounds is suitable for entry
into advertising, marketing, promotions, public relations, and sales
managerial jobs, but many employers prefer those with experience in
related occupations plus a broad liberal arts background. A bachelor's
degree in sociology, psychology, literature, journalism, or philosophy,
among other subjects, is acceptable. However, requirements vary,
depending upon the particular job.
For marketing, sales, and promotions management positions, some
employers prefer a bachelor's or master's degree in business
administration with an emphasis on marketing. Courses in business law,
economics, accounting, finance, mathematics, and statistics are
advantageous. In highly technical industries, such as computer and
electronics manufacturing, a bachelor's degree in engineering or
science, combined with a master's degree in business administration, is
For advertising management positions, some employers prefer a
bachelor's degree in advertising or journalism. A course of study
should include marketing, consumer behavior, market research, sales,
communication methods and technology, and visual arts-for example, art
history and photography.
For public relations management positions, some employers prefer a
bachelor's or master's degree in public relations or journalism. The
applicant's curriculum should include courses in advertising, business
administration, public affairs, public speaking, political science, and
creative and technical writing.
For all these specialties, courses in management and completion of
an internship while in school are highly recommended. Familiarity with
word processing and database applications also is important for many
positions. Computer skills are vital because marketing, product
promotion, and advertising on the Internet are increasingly common. The
ability to communicate in a foreign language may open up employment
opportunities in many rapidly growing areas around the country,
especially in cities with large Spanish-speaking populations.
Most advertising, marketing, promotions, public relations, and sales
management positions are filled by promoting experienced staff or
related professional personnel. For example, many managers are former
sales representatives, purchasing agents, buyers, or product,
advertising, promotions, or public relations specialists. In small
firms, where the number of positions is limited, advancement to a
management position usually comes slowly. In large firms, promotion may
occur more quickly.
Although experience, ability, and leadership are emphasized for
promotion, advancement can be accelerated by participation in
management training programs conducted by many large firms. Many firms
also provide their employees with continuing education opportunities,
either in-house or at local colleges and universities, and encourage
employee participation in seminars and conferences, often provided by
professional societies. In collaboration with colleges and
universities, numerous marketing and related associations sponsor
national or local management training programs. Course subjects include
brand and product management, international marketing, sales management
evaluation, telemarketing and direct sales, interactive marketing,
promotion, marketing communication, market research, organizational
communication, and data processing systems procedures and management.
Many firms pay all or part of the cost for those who successfully
Some associations offer certification programs for these managers.
Certification-a sign of competence and achievement in this field-is
particularly important in a competitive job market. While relatively
few advertising, marketing, promotions, public relations, and sales
managers currently are certified, the number of managers who seek
certification is expected to grow. For example, Sales and Marketing
Executives International offers a management certification program
based on education and job performance. The Public Relations Society of
America offers a certification program for public relations
practitioners based on years of experience and performance on an
Persons interested in becoming advertising, marketing, promotions,
public relations, and sales managers should be mature, creative, highly
motivated, resistant to stress, flexible, and decisive. The ability to
communicate persuasively, both orally and in writing, with other
managers, staff, and the public is vital. These managers also need
tact, good judgment, and exceptional ability to establish and maintain
effective personal relationships with supervisory and professional
staff members and client firms.
Because of the importance and high visibility of their jobs,
advertising, marketing, promotions, public relations, and sales
managers often are prime candidates for advancement to the highest
ranks. Well-trained, experienced, successful managers may be promoted
to higher positions in their own, or other, firms. Some become top
executives. Managers with extensive experience and sufficient capital
may open their own businesses.