Becoming a Merchandise Marketer: Job Description & Salary Info

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Get the truth about a merchandise marketer's salary, education requirements and career prospects. Read the job duties and see the pros and cons of becoming a merchandise marketer.
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Pros and Cons of a Career as a Merchandise Marketer

The merchandise marketing field includes both marketing managers and buyers; however, marketing managers are often in charge of marketing merchandise and oversee the work of buyers. Continue reading the pros and cons to help you decide if this career is right for you.

Pros of a Merchandise Marketer Career
High pay potential for marketing managers (top 75 percentile earned about $171,000 or more in May 2014)*
High school education may be enough to become a merchandise buyer*
Some positions may include opportunities for international travel*
May work in comfortable environments*

Cons of a Merchandise Marketer Career
Buyer positions are expected to grow at a slow pace (4% increase from 2012-2022)*
Marketing managers may face strong competition*
Some positions may be subjected to strict deadlines and high stress*
May be required to work overtime*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Career Information

Job Duties

Job duties may be different depending on your line of work. For example, marketing managers may be in charge of bringing public attention to a particular product or service. They are also tasked with selecting advertising plans, determining contract details, developing pricing strategies and monitoring product demand. As a wholesale or retail buyer, you may procure products or services to be resold to consumers. If you work for a big company, you may need to specialize in procuring a few types of merchandise. Small stores usually hire buyers who can efficiently buy everything the store sells.

Salary and Job Outlook Information

The BLS estimated that marketing managers earned a median salary of around $127,130 as of May 2014. During that same year, the BLS estimated that the median annual salary for wholesale and retail buyers was about $52,270.

According to the BLS, marketing manager careers are expected to grow 13% from 2012-2022. This increase may be caused by the growing importance of marketing products to specific customer types. Retail buyer positions are expected to grow slower than average at 7% from 2012-2022. Growth in this field is determined by the strength of retail and wholesale industries.

Career Skills and Requirements

To become a marketing manager, employers may require you to have a bachelor's degree related to marketing or business. Marketing programs may cover topics in marketing research, consumer behavior, public relations, advertising, ethics and marketing strategies. A business program includes topics in organizational design, management, small business marketing, selling products, business law and logistics.

Some employers may prefer buyers to have a bachelor's degree education in fields related to merchandising. Merchandising programs can cover topics in buying and selling, customer behavior, trends and pricing. The following general traits may be required by some employers:

  • Strong presentation and negotiation skills
  • Exceptional written and oral communication skills
  • Ability to adapt to any situation
  • Proficiency using Microsoft Office applications
  • Strong problem-solving skills

Job Posting from Real Employers

If you are looking for marketing manager positions, most positions can be found with employers looking to sell a product or service. Employers sometimes require marketing manager candidates to have an employment history in sales and marketing. Buyer positions can usually be found working for retail chains looking to sell many different types of products. The BLS states that many buyers receive on-the-job training. Although this is only a few examples, the following profiles were taken from a May 2012 national job board sampling:

  • A manufacturing company in Atlanta was looking for a marketing manager knowledgeable in brand recognition and promotional techniques.
  • A staffing service company in Chicago was searching for a marketing manager with experience in digital marketing strategies and analysis.
  • A major retail chain in Minneapolis searched for a retail buyer able to develop marketing plans and work with product design teams.
  • A retailer in Brooklyn was searching for a merchandise manager able to communicate with vendors and manage inventory levels.

How to Make Your Skills Stand out

In addition to a marketing bachelor's degree education, the BLS states that completing courses in management, economics, mathematics, business law, finance and accounting may be beneficial when searching for marketing manager jobs. If you are interested in developing professional skills while in school, you may want to consider participating in an internship with a marketing firm. Although some buyer positions may only require a high school education, a bachelor's degree education can be beneficial if you are looking to find employment with a large company. If a position centers on a specialized type of product, employers may prefer you to have experience working with related products.

Certification

If you intend on becoming a buyer, the Universal Public Procurement Certification Council (UPPCC) offers the Certified Professional Public Buyer (CPPB) designation. To qualify for the exam, you need a combination of contact hours and experience that vary according to the amount of education you have completed. The multiple choice exam covers topics in legal aspects, leadership and management, contracts, strategic planning, procurement terms and negotiation. You must re-certify every five years by earning ten renewal points through continuing education and training, contribution and membership requirements.

Alternative Career Paths

If you would like to be in charge of how a product looks, you may be interested in a career as an art director. As an art director, you are tasked with adapting to client requests, developing product design, presenting designs to clients, collaborating with creative departments and adhering to budgetary guidelines. Art director careers can be found with movie, book, public relations and advertising companies. To enter this field, employers often require you to have related work experience and a bachelor's degree education in art or design. According to the BLS in May 2011, workers in this field earned a median salary of about $81,000.

As a market research analyst, you help companies figure out what consumers want to buy. You are tasked with recording sales trends, developing visual data representations, keeping track of the competition, conducting surveys and opinion polls, reporting consumer demographics and evaluating marketing programs. Work in this field can be found in almost every industry looking to sell a product. Most employers require you to have a bachelor's degree education in fields related to mathematics, communications, business administration, computer science or statistics. In May 2011, the BLS reported that market research analysts earned a median salary of about $60,000.

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Featured Schools

Herzing University

  • MBA
  • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
  • Associate of Science - Business Management

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Full Sail University

  • M.S. - Internet Marketing
  • M.S. - Entertainment Business
  • B.S. - Music Business
  • BS - Internet Marketing - Certificate

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Keiser University

  • Master of Business Administration - Management (Spanish)
  • B.A. - Business Admin: Marketing
  • Associate of Arts - Accounting

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Northcentral University

  • Doctor of Business Admin - Marketing
  • PhD in Business Admin - Marketing
  • MBA - Marketing
  • Master of Business Admin - General Business

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Saint John's University

  • Master of Business Administration: Interdisciplinary Business

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Colorado Technical University

  • Doctor of Management (DM) - General Concentration (Executive Format)
  • Master of Business Admin: Marketing
  • BS - Business Administration - Marketing
  • Associate of Science in Business Administration

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American InterContinental University

  • Master of Business Admin: Marketing
  • Bachelor of Business Admin: Marketing
  • Associate of Arts in Business Administration

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Seton Hall University

  • Master of Business Administration - Marketing
  • Master of Business Administration

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