Communications + Arts

Captivate the Audience

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Look around you. Someone, somewhere, got paid to draw your attention toward something that they want you to consume.

Recent reports suggest that occupations that create experiences, tell stories, or provide entertainment comprise one of the highest areas of job growth. With an imaginative mind, a resourceful toolkit, and an interest in engaging an audience, the modern workforce presents countless opportunities to make an impact through creative, original, expressive work.

Use the information on this page to jumpstart careers related to marketing, advertising, branding, public relations, professional writing, journalism, design, digital media, film production, performing arts, entertainment, sports, museums, tourism, hospitality, event planning, and other creative roles.



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Discover Options: Marketing

For complete information on assessing yourself, choosing majors, and exploring careers, review our starter tips to Discover Options in all careers as well as the specialized tips on this page.

Defining the Scope of Marketing

Careers in marketing offer a creative and analytical scope of work, but the exact definition can vary and has evolved in recent years due to technological innovations. There is often confusion among the functional definitions of marketing, advertising, and branding, even within official sources such as professional associations and job descriptions.

Here is a simple way to remember a few key distinctions:

  • Marketing: Utilizes the process of research, analysis, and creation to enhance products and services.
  • Advertising: Utilizes advertisements to promote the consumption of products and services.
  • Branding: Utilizes modern strategies to create an appealing and recognizable image for an organization.

In addition to other related functions, such as public relations, business development, and sales, all of these areas work together to support the overall success of a business. They all base their efforts around understanding the behavioral patterns of an audience, and using consumer analysis and industry research to generate best practices. Thus, it is common for careers in marketing to overlap across various functional areas. Because marketers' ultimate goal is to encourage potential customers to consume a product or service, data, results, and impact are critical to their success.

Though there can be a great deal of specialization, a traditional career in marketing may follow a path of increasing responsibility through the following roles:

  • Marketing Intern / Marketing Assistant
  • Marketing Coordinator / Marketing Specialist
  • Marketing Analyst / Marketing Manager
  • Director of Marketing
  • Vice President of Marketing
  • Chief Marketing Officer

Learn More 

Visit the Marketing Dictionary for specific terminology used in the field. For more information on the field of Advertising, check out The Balance Career's articles on How to Work for an Advertising Agency and What to Expect From a Career in Advertising, and engage with Adage and Adweek.


Types of Employers

Marketing professionals can experience very different roles depending on the employer for which they work. With variations in specialization, size, and many other factors, it is worth considering the type of organization that may suit your goals best.

Click below to see two main ways to understand employers in the marketing field.

Working for an agency typically entails a focus on specialized projects which serve clients of the agency. The diversity of client-based work can build a deep understanding of the needs within your specialization, and you will create solutions and campaigns in accordance with clients’ deadlines. 

Working in-house entails working internally within an organization that employs you to market their products or services. In-house marketers typically have opportunities to take on a wide variety of projects, which can build a number of different skills ranging from research, to design, to budgeting, and much more.

In small organizations, there may be only one or two staff members responsible for marketing efforts, which can make these roles quite varied. For example, your duties can range from managing a marketing budget, to attending promotional events, to coordinating marketing materials, to reviewing potential vendors for new partnerships, to other tasks that support the organization’s brand as needed. 

In large organizations, your role may focus on one specialty, allowing you to hone in on the specific skill sets and knowledge regarding that specialization. This environment often entails additional advisors and specialists to provide support for larger projects.

Primary Specialty Areas

Whether you are interested in focusing your career on the artistic, interactive, or analytical aspects of marketing, there are various specialties to discover (and thus, various ways to break into these specialties).

Click the below items to explore a few primary specialty areas within marketing.

This specialty area focuses on the creation of written content to accompany visual appeals in commercial art. Their work involves collaboration with creative marketing (usually an Art Director) to convey an overall message and tone by connecting the written content to visuals. A background in film, radio, video, and print production can be valued in this sector, for transferable skills.

This specialty area focuses on the creative production of marketing materials that are used in campaigns to capture attention. Because creative marketers and designers rely on their artistic eye or verbal communication skills for a product's livelihood, it is helpful to attain a foundation of relevant artistic knowledge early in your college academics. These marketers often share a passion for project-based work, in which multiple projects can coincide.

This specialty area focuses on any type of marketing which occurs online. In digital marketing, businesses utilize search engines, email communication, online brochures, social media, and more to reach out to potential and returning customers. The internet also allows businesses to analyze their advertisements with analytic tools for strategic improvement. Example titles of these positions include Digital Marketer, Digital Content Strategist, SEO Specialist, Social Media Coordinator, and Online Community Manager.

Learn More 

To learn more about digital marketing, read The Who, What, Why, & How of Digital Marketing blog post by Acquisition Marketer, Lucy Alexander.

This specialty area focuses on the acquisition of insights and information regarding competitors, customers, and stakeholders within the market, as well as its potential. A subfield of this is market research, in which the researchers aim to discover particular information, such as determining whether or not a business should launch their new product. Both of these positions entail analytical and quantitative skills in addition to knowledge of consumerism. Example titles of these positions include Market Researcher, Market Research Analyst, and Market Analyst.

Learn More

For details, Discover Data Science's How to Become a Marketing Analyst article, and O*Net Online's Market Research Analysts report.

Learn More

To get more insights on different Marketing Specializations to pursue, read this article: 10 Types of Marketing Specialization Areas to Pursue.


Academic Preparation

A career in marketing does not require a specific major or minor, therefore, you should explore all academic options at UCSB to choose what matches your interests and strengths. Students who study what interests them tend to earn higher GPAs and have richer college experiences.

Here are a few selected majors at UCSB that can provide a useful foundation for careers in marketing (with varying points of focus):

To enhance your studies at UCSB, it may be beneficial to add a minor, through which you can gain additional skills and knowledge for your career.

Here are some minors at UCSB that can provide relevant insights for careers in marketing:

If you are looking at a specific industry to work within for a future marketing career (e.g., environmental industry), it can be helpful to pursue a minor related to this area (e.g., Spatial Studies). Similarly, you may consider the undergraduate certificate program in Technology Management as a unique way to specialize your studies in technology at UCSB.


Learn More

Watch this virtual panel for advice from two UCSB alumni in the marketing field! 

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