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What is the difference between business management and business marketing?

If you’re considering an undergraduate business degree you’ll no doubt have come across the business management and business marketing courses. But what exactly is the difference between the two? While both subject areas fall under the umbrella of business, each has a unique focus and can lead to different careers. Below, we explore the differences between business management and business marketing. Read on to discover the distinctive characteristics of each area, what courses are available, and how to figure out which one suits you and your future goals.

By Grant Longstaff. Published 21 February 2024.

What is Business Management?

Business management covers a range of responsibilities necessary for overseeing the day to day operation of a company or organisation. It can involve supervising staff, overseeing finances, resource management, and strategic planning. Business management requires a wide range of business skills and personal attributes and professionals can be found within many departments, reacting to business trends and the needs of the organisation.

What is Business Marketing?

The core concept of marketing focuses on how a company promotes its products or services to potential customers. It involves understanding consumer behaviour and market trends and explores ideas in promotion and advertising to help develop new strategies to attract customers. It’s also increasingly important for marketing departments to examine how a company is perceived by the public and improve customer relationships.

What are the different study paths between the two careers?

Business degrees are extremely popular. The Higher Education Statistics Agency found undergraduate business courses “[were] the most popular subject among students, with 19% of all students enrolling in this subject” in the 2020/2021 academic year. This means there is a varied selection of business degrees to choose from and you’ll easily find a course to suit you and your future career.

If you choose to study business management you’ll develop a keen understanding of how businesses and organisations operate. You’ll cover areas such as accounting and finance, corporate governance, project management, risk management, and resource management to name a few. You’ll also develop a number of essential attributes, such as problem solving and decision making, and enhance your entrepreneurial and conflict management skills, essential for working in business management.

However, if you decide on a business marketing degree you’ll focus on how businesses market their product effectively. Topics will cover the principles of marketing, brand management, consumer trends and behaviour, and more. Over the duration of the course you’ll hone your creativity, learn to identify patterns and trends, and develop your interpersonal skills. Through market research you’ll realise what works and what doesn’t and learn how to respond to potential barriers.

With all the above said, it’s important to highlight there will be many crossovers between management and marketing courses. For example, you can’t effectively manage an organisation without understanding the key principles of marketing. Likewise, if you don’t understand how an organisation operates and where it sits in the business world you’ll struggle to market it effectively. It’s likely that no matter which path you choose – management or marketing – the course will contain some aspects of the other.

What skills are desired for business management vs business marketing?

Despite this overlap, there are certain skills which you might find are particularly valuable to either business marketing or business management.

Marketing will require imagination and creative thinking; you’ll also need to react quickly to changing markets and analyse consumer data to understand the challenges you’ll face and how you can improve. Digital marketing is also an increasingly important area for businesses, so you’ll need to understand how to utilise digital tools and various platforms for the best results.

Management positions require strong leadership, and you’ll need to make quick decisions and come up with solutions to complicated problems. Not only that, you’ll need to understand the principles of business finance and accounting, business ethics, and human resource management.

Marketing vs. Business Management: salary and job prospects

The need for marketing and management expertise is required across a multitude of sectors. You’ll likely find very few industries without a need for the skills you’ll graduate with. As a result, the positions available and salaries you could earn are difficult to list and break down in any meaningful way. The size of an organisation, the industry, and even where a company is based can all impact how much money you can make.

Consider instead the sector you would like to work in, or a business you might like to work for, and research what roles they have in management or marketing. It’s a promising prospect for business students to know their abilities are needed almost everywhere and job satisfaction comes from more than just financial compensation.

If you’re not sure what kind of path you want to follow, you can take a look at our Career Finder pages and explore a variety of roles you could access. We’ve highlighted a couple to get you started. For marketing careers take a look at the roles of an advertising account executive or marketing executive. Alternatively, for management positions, look at those of a project manager or sales manager.

Marketing vs. Business Management: Which one is right for me?

If you’re creative, innovative, open to change, and thrive in a changing environment then a career in marketing might suit you. On the other hand, if you have an interest in the overall operation of a business and feel more comfortable problem solving, strategizing, and planning, management might be a more fitting avenue to explore.

Take the time to consider what you want to do in the future. Research job roles and what they require. Reflect on your skills and strengths. Explore what each course offers and see how they relate to your goals and choose the course which fits best. In the end, the choice between management and marketing comes down to you.


Whether it’s marketing or management you want to go into, our BSc in Business Management with Marketing will set you on the correct path.