Answer: Master’s in IMC programs and master’s in marketing programs are very similar. The biggest difference between the two relates to the schools that offer them. In most cases, master’s in IMC programs are offered through schools of communication, while master’s in marketing programs are part of business schools. As a result, master’s in IMC programs tend to have a greater focus on communication, while master’s in marketing programs generally contain more business-related courses. In fact, many master’s degree programs in marketing are really MBA programs with a specialization in marketing. When deciding which program to enroll in, students should examine specific coursework offered by different programs to find the one that best suits their academic and professional goals.
Regardless of the type of program they choose to attend, students earning either degree can expect to learn about marketing strategies and tactics, as well as campaign measurement, a skill that allows them to tie campaigns to organizational goals like brand awareness and revenue growth. Upon graduation, students with either a master’s in IMC or a master’s in marketing can put their skills to use in roles such as campaign manager, content strategist, marketing manager, director of marketing, digital marketing specialist, market research manager, or a variety of other related positions.
|Featured Online Master's in Marketing and Advertising Programs
The University of West Alabama
Online Master of Arts in Integrated Marketing Communications
West Virginia University
Online Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications with Specializations in Creative Strategy, Management, and Public Relations Leadership
Online Master of Professional Studies in Integrated Marketing Communications
Southern New Hampshire University
Online Master of Science in Marketing with Concentrations in Digital Marketing, Marketing Research & Analytics, New Media & Communications, and Social Media Marketing
Online Master of Science in Communications with a Specialization in Strategic Communications
Master’s in Integrated Marketing Communications
The goal of a master’s in integrated marketing communications program is to prepare graduates with the knowledge they need to create and execute marketing strategies using a variety of channels and tactics. Along with this, IMC students learn how to measure the effect that marketing campaigns have on brand awareness, company revenue, and other key metrics.
There are a wide range of positions available to professionals with a master’s in IMC. Some examples include digital marketing manager, product marketing strategist, director of market research, brand manager, or content marketing strategist. Most often, graduates find positions at for-profit organizations. However, many graduates also work in the non-profit or government sectors.
In a master’s in IMC program, students generally take courses that cover topics like brand communication, market research, public relations, crisis communication, copywriting, social media, consumer behavior, and more. This helps them become professionals with a deep knowledge of marketing strategies, tactics, and measurement. Below is a list of example courses students might find in an IMC program. Keep in mind, this list is not exhaustive, but rather a representation of the type of topics often covered.
|Example Courses in a Master’s in IMC Program
|Marketing Research and Analysis
|Applied Public Relations
|Research and Awareness
|Online Research for IMC
|Digital Video Production
|Creative Message Strategy
|Global Consumer Insights
|Brand Management and Communication
|Advanced Creative Concepts
|Internet Advertising and Social Media
|Social Media Strategies
|Financial Tools for IMC
|Marketing Mix Analysis
Master’s in Marketing Programs
Unsurprisingly, students who decide to pursue a master’s degree in marketing can expect to learn the skills they need to become marketing leaders. These programs prepare students to manage marketing campaigns while making strategic business decisions related to marketing. In a master’s in marketing program, students learn about topics like brand management, media technologies, consumer behavior, project management, data mining, social media, and data management. When they graduate, most go on to positions with for-profit organizations, although some may earn roles in other settings.
Professionals with a master’s in marketing might pursue roles such as marketing director, marketing consultant, marketing strategist, digital marketing specialist, content marketing director, or market research manager. This list is by no means exhaustive. There are a wide variety of roles available to marketing graduates, and the position a student might move into largely depends on the skills they acquire in their program.
While earning a master’s in marketing, students can expect to study topics such as advanced statistical data management, economics and financial management, project management, web analytics for digital marketing, and more. Below is a list of sample courses illustrating the type of topics a student might encounter while pursuing their degree. It is important to note that many master’s in marketing programs are extensions of an MBA program. Thus, though the degree is promoted as a master’s in marketing, it is often an MBA with a specialization in the field. This will affect the coursework offered, and prospective students should research individual programs extensively to ensure that they choose one that fits their needs.
|Example Courses in a Master’s in Marketing Program
|Advertising and Social Media
|Effective Social Media
|Advanced Data Mining
|Sports Marketing and Public Relations
|Fundamentals of Product Marketing
|Sports Development and Sales
|Negotiations Theory and Practice
|Data Mining for Business
|Services Marketing Management
|Marketing Research Methods
|Foundations of Business Statistics
|Information Systems Strategy
|Marketing and Business Intelligence
Master’s in IMC vs. Master’s in Marketing Programs
The difference between these two programs is somewhat minimal, however, clear distinctions will emerge when students compare specific programs. While graduates of either program can take on similar positions after earning their degree, there is one main difference that students should consider when deciding which to pursue.
Typically, IMC programs live within schools of communication, while master’s in marketing programs are offered by business schools. This results in some subtle, but key differences. The biggest one being IMC programs tend to include more communication-related coursework, such as courses in creative messaging, organizational communication, public relations, and persuasion. While some master’s degree programs in marketing may have this coursework, it is less common. Instead, master’s in marketing programs tend to have a more business-focused curriculum, with coursework that may require more math or technical skills. For example, students might take courses in sales management, import and export strategy, data mining, and financial management — topics typically not found in a master’s in IMC program.
Finally, as previously mentioned, quite a few master’s in marketing programs are really MBA programs with a specialization in marketing. This results in a curriculum that includes marketing courses, but also a variety of other business-related topics like economics, managerial finance, operations management, and applied business statistics.