Merchandise Marketing Professional: Employment Info & Requirements

Oct 20, 2021

Career Definition of a Merchandise Marketing Professional

Merchandise marketing professionals work for manufacturers, as well as wholesalers and retailers. Account executives and merchandise coordinators employed by manufacturers court clients to buy their products or create graphics for retail ads and point-of-purchase displays. Planners who work for wholesalers and retailers identify store trends and develop financial forecasts. Buyers and marketing managers who also work for wholesalers and retailers order products or monitor retail, inventory and personnel activities.

Education Varies by job level: diploma for entry-level; bachelor's or master's in retail, business or economics for advancement and management
Job Skills Solid interpersonal skills, cordial demeanor, proficiency in business software, market awareness
Median Annual Salary (2019)* $136,850 for marketing managers
Job Outlook (2019-2029)* 7% job growth for marketing, advertising and promotions managers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Educational requirements for merchandise marketing professionals vary according to the position and size of the organization. High school graduates are often hired as trainees, clerks, expediters or assistant buyers, but they will need continuing education, certification or a bachelor's degree to advance. Retail and wholesale firms tend to prefer applicants with a bachelor's degree and familiarity with the retail business. Manufacturing firms typically hire applicants with a bachelor's or master's degree in engineering, business or economics. Employees are likelier to be elevated to management positions if they have a master's degree, preferably in business.

Skills Needed

Good interpersonal skills are useful for all merchandise marketing professionals. Dealing with the public is key at the retail level, and a pleasant, professional demeanor is important, Familiarity with computer business software can be helpful. Buyers and planners need to understand their markets and accurately predict popular items, while account executives should be well versed in sales techniques.

Employment and Salary Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected a 10%, or faster-than-average, growth in jobs for marketing, advertising and promotions managers nationwide from 2019 to 2029. Median annual wages in 2019 were $136,850 for marketing managers and $125,510 for advertising and promotions managers (www.bls.gov).

Alternate Career Options

If the job duties of merchandise marketing professionals interests you, you may also want to look into becoming a market research analyst or sales manager.

Market Research Analysts

Market research analysts monitor consumer buying and sales trends to determine how well a product or service will sell to a particular population. In general, a 4-year degree in either market research or a related field of study is the minimum requirement for securing a position; candidates applying for high-level marketing research jobs may need a master's degree. The BLS reports that employment opportunities for marketing research analysts nationwide are expected to increase by 18%, or much faster than average, between 2019 and 2029. In 2019, market research analysts earned median annual salaries of $63,790 (www.bls.gov).

Sales Managers

Sales managers oversee how products and services are distributed and sold to consumers, and their activities typically include establishing sales goals and territories and evaluating purchasing preferences and trends. Minimum educational requirements usually include a bachelor's degree and between one and five years of prior experience as a sales representative. Nationwide, the BLS has projected a 4% average growth in jobs for sales managers from 2019 to 2029. In 2019, sales managers employed in the field were paid median annual salaries of $126,640 (www.bls.gov).

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