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NYstateOfMind88's avatar

Major in sociology to a career in advertising/marketing. Is it possible?

Asked by NYstateOfMind88 (76points) December 16th, 2008

I am close to graduating with a degree in sociology. I am not in love with it, but chose it as my major because it was the most practical thing for me to do (long story).

What I realized too late is that I think my passion is in something like advertising, marketing, or public relations. I’d switch my major but my college doesn’t offer a program in any of those.

How do I transition in to an internship and eventually a career in this field?

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20 Answers

EmpressPixie's avatar

You are fine! Apply for some internships and whatever, but sociology (and psychology) are great majors for future marketers. As a psych AND marketing major, let me tell you: largely the same classes. Just make sure you point out how your research is basically the same as marketing research and how you can apply your major to marketing. It’s super easy to apply soc. to business, so all you have to do is let them know you know it is super easy. And hopefully show it is easy in a way they haven’t thought of before.

dlm812's avatar

Definitely apply for a few marketing internships, even with the sociology degree. I am a marketing major and take sociology courses as “fillers” because it is important to know how people work in a social setting in order to market to them. You could also take a few marketing or advertising related night courses while you work at a local tech college. Or, if it is a possibility, an MBA in marketing would be great for grad school with a sociology base. I kind of wish that I had done that, because it is said that you should have a different focus in grad school than your original major.

steelmarket's avatar

Consider taking a few online courses in marketing. With a little knowledge under your belt, you might find a job as a marketing assistant in the marketing department of a social-services based company or non-profit.

Now, “marketing assistant” in some organizations is pretty close to clerk. You could find yourself doing mass mailings, maintaining databases, duping DVDs -basically scut work. But, you would be getting paid. I have had a couple of assistants grow into decent proofers, copywriters, printing managers, etc.

wundayatta's avatar

Marketing is mostly demographic analysis. Hmm, funny. That’s what sociology is, too.

You don’t know how to pursuade people to buy something or change a policy if you don’t know who they are.

Mizuki's avatar

The economic outlook for Marketing and Public Relations is very dim, and the competition for jobs in these areas will be unbelieveable.

The economic world of the near future will be much different that the past. The future requires production of real things, not things of percieved value. Things like production of food, education, and mechanical activities.

wundayatta's avatar

Mizuki, I couldn’t disagree with you more. The future will demand creative workers—hi tech, advertising, and the like. The only things to be made will be more artistic things. Mass production of things will continue to move offshore.

advilicious's avatar

Mizuki; just out of curiosity, from which sources exactly are you getting this information?

Mizuki's avatar

Most folks assume the future will be like the recent past or better. Since cheap energy is not part of the future, and because 1/3rd of American wealth has evaporated since Septemeber 2008, and since the financial industry is in meltdown, and since American manufacturing has been exported, and since cheap energy is required to mass produce food on a scale needed, and since our population is neither austere or disciplined, my view of the near future is a bit bleak.

I think that soon, surburbia will be a monument to human stupidity and unsustainability, and that diminished resources will create an enviroment that we cannot now even imagine.

I will agree to disagree with you Daloon. In July of 2005 when I started contacting my clients, family, and friends warning them of impending doom in the real estate and credit markets—most of them laughed. Most of them are now upside down in home loans, bankrupt, or in a stage of foreclosure.

It does not matter what you and I believe. I hope I am wrong, prepare for the worst, hope for the best.

Mizuki's avatar

@advil….for what topic do you want a link or evidence?

wundayatta's avatar

@Mizuki: ”It does not matter what you and I believe. I hope I am wrong, prepare for the worst, hope for the best.

Well, I agree with you there. However, I can’t decide what worst and best is. An 19th or pre-1950 20th century style economy doesn’t sound very appealing. In any case, that couldn’t happen, because technology has advanced so far since then.

On the other hand, the advertising dystopias that William Gibson and Phillip K Dick have well imagined are also not appealing.

I imagine a future where we continue to get more efficient, and computers are miniaturized, and maybe quantum computers are developed… Nanotech devices to keep us healthy—may knock the bottom out of the health care sector…

This crash is not a mere blip. It is also the biggest factor contributing to the election of Obama. We are poised for change, but I think Obama will only be the symbol of it. The real change will happen at the grassroots level, and in labs across the world where technology is still moving forward at a breakneck pace.

We’ll take more time to evaluate tech, and financial opportunities. At least for a decade or two. But in not too long another generation will come along that has never experienced a recession. Bubbles will happen over and over.

I guess I don’t see people changing much, and thus I don’t see the jobs in the economy changing much, except, as driven by technological innovation.

NYstateOfMind88's avatar

Just wanted to thank everyone for all the answers so far!

For those have gone just a little off track (looks at 2 above posts…), perhaps I should repeat what was the basis of my question: “How do I transition in to an internship and eventually a career in this field?”

Once again, thanks. I don’t mind if some of some you don’t think it’s doable to go into the marketing field with a sociology degree, but perhaps we should save our abstract political ideas about the future of the recession for another post.

NYstateOfMind88's avatar

And yeah, I get it, the economy is bad and we’re all doomed and we’ll all have to shift back to agrarian society and blah blah blah, I’m not interested. To further prevent political rants, for further clarification of my question allow me to add that when answering perhaps we could pretend that I am asking this question 10 years ago. K?

steelmarket's avatar

Marketing has already entered a new age, the age of totally targeted marketing. Advertisements as we know them will eventually be replaced with completely personalized “ads”, tailored to the desires of the individual. We are already seeing this on the web, and in the near future this personalization will extend to all mediams (my word).

As the competition for consumer dollars intensifies, whether driven by a shrinkage in disposable income or expansion in product/service choices, the role of marketing will be even more important.

In a little more distant future, you will make all your purchasing decisions based upon trusted advice and not “ads”. The concept of trusted advice is now being born in the form of blogs and online ratings.

Mizuki's avatar

“But in not too long another generation will come along that has never experienced a recession. Bubbles will happen over and over.”
Any ideas on what bubbles could be in our future, with only health care and service industry? I think that people confuse cheap energy and technology advances. I don’t think one has to do with the other, and I see no alternative to the cheap fuel powering a suburbia car based way of living. the patient is dead, and our government is squandering our remaining wealth on life support. How much value will be added by smaller computers? What value does it add outside of minor convenience? It is wishful, not realistic thinking that just because is has been this way that it will continue to be this way. A must read is “Black Swan”—it will challenge your assumptions and blow your mind and open you eyes to possibilities.

While the questioner does not see relevance of my contribution to the thread, I believe this is the most relevant regarding current trends, and analysis of trends. You are invited to dismiss this, blah blah blah since you already know everything about everything. Too bad you were not going to college 10 years ago—I would be angry too, angry that the current generation has squandered the future you assumed you were entitled too. I think we will see much more anger as your generation realizes that it may not be able to afford a car, health insurance, your cheese doodles and cable tv and play station.

Marketing of need based products like food and cloths and basic need based items, differ from the marketing of the boom time. One does not need to market or advertise rationed gass and heating oil, if it is all there is in town. No need to market when the basic needs are unmet. As the retail base crumbles in this coming year, there will be many less chain stores to advertise for, to do PR for—unless you want to generate retro bubble PR that life of the future will be the same as the life of the past. So, go ahead and dismiss my conclusion, that marketing no longer adds value, or adds less and less value when housing and energy and health care needs loom larger than our need for a 1% mortgage loan, Virgin Whopper Eaters, and Erection Medication.

Maybe you can market a pill to time travel Gen Z back to 1950 where all the things they think they are entitled to could still exist.

NYstateOfMind88's avatar

Mizuki, I don’t mind if people want to tell me that trying to get a job in this particular field with my credentials will be difficult or even undoable – after all, I am trying to gain perspective and all is appreciated. You want to tell me that getting a job in marketing won’t be doable with going to grad school, go ahead. You want to tell me that you work at a PR firm and you know that everyone in the industry right now is talking about how no one is hiring and it’s really competitive so I shouldn’t count on it, be my guest.

Mizuki. I am asking for advice on how to transition in to my desired industry after college. Yet you seem dead set on lecturing me about how it’s going to be impossible because of the collapse of modern society as we know it. Why don’t you take a step back and take a look at how ridiculous you look in the context of this thread. Is this how you answer everyone’s other questions? “Where is a good place to buy a gift for my friend?” “Well there wont BE ANY MORE GIFTS BECAUSE SOON THERE WON’T BE STORES TO BUY THEM AT, MANNNN.” Please.

Seriously, though, anyone else have actual advice for me?

EmpressPixie's avatar

Mizuki, what are the four Ps of marketing? You forget that we consider the product itself part of the marketing effort. The gas may be rationed, but what is the appropriate price to sell it at? If basic needs aren’t being met, this is an especially important question. How should consumers think of the product? While before we may have wanted to show the product as an affordable luxury, now we need them to think it is an absolute necessity. How can we achieve that—not just through advertising, but also packaging and other things. How can we move our product from mentally slated as available to cut from an ever shrinking grocery list over to the absolutely must have, would give up food first list.

Marketing is not all about advertising.

Mizuki's avatar

@ empress—G.A.

jjd2006's avatar

I don’t have advice, per se but I sympathize with you, nystateofmind88.
I feel like I’m just uncovering my passions as a junior in college and I’m feeling like it’s too late (and too much of a waste of money) to start a whole new path of study. I’m just going to continue where I’m going and then study what I’m truly passionate about in grad school. I agree with what was said, it’s good to have a diverse background of study. You don’t have to get your undergrad degree in the field you see yourself in forever, you know? Best of luck!

andrew's avatar

@NYstateOfMind88: It’s possible, but it will be difficult. Advertising is going to be hurting for a while, and it’s super competitive.

What’s your ability to withstand an unpaid internship? You have youth on your side, at least.

BBQsomeCows's avatar

since sociology is fluff

and marketing is convincing people they need fluff

and you believe it’s not fluff

are you half way there?

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