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A Look at the Marketing Profession in the Pacific Northwest

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For marketing MBA graduates in the job market or for those considering relocating, the Pacific Northwest is a hotbed of activity. With a plethora of corporate home offices, abundant job opportunities and higher than average starting salaries, the Pacific Northwest region offers MBA graduates a great place to land for a thriving career in marketing.

Marketing manager was ranked in U.S. News & World Report as one of the “Top 25 Best Jobs for 2018.” The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that national employment estimates for marketing managers are strong and annual median salaries are high across the country, with a 10 percent projected job growth rate for marketing managers through 2026. The chart below shows the projected growth rate for marketing and advertising managers:

But while a career in marketing offers strong prospects across the country, it’s booming for marketing managers in the Pacific Northwest. Washington and Oregon show some of the nation’s highest concentrations of marketing manager jobs.

Marketing managers in the Pacific Northwest enjoy not only some of the highest concentrations of jobs and employment rates in the nation, but also some of the top wages.

According to the BLS, the median salary for marketing managers was $132,230 per year in May 2017. Monster reported a yearly salary of $152,800 for marketing directors.

The Marketing Scene in Washington

For marketing professionals considering relocating to the Pacific Northwest, Seattle is a top choice. The Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue area is one of the fastest-growing regions in the country. It is the largest metropolitan area in the Pacific Northwest with over 3.7 million people. Some of the nation’s largest corporations, including six Fortune 500 companies, call the Seattle area home. Leading the way, giants such as Microsoft, Amazon and Boeing have home offices in the area, employing thousands. Seattle-based Starbucks continues a large-scale expansion, with over 27,000 stores around the world, doubling its size in just a decade. All of these companies have large in-house marketing teams.

According to, Amazon is one of the largest employers of MBA graduates in the country. Working in marketing departments for large-scale organizations provides several advantages for recent graduates, including large internship programs, ongoing training, leadership development, numerous learning opportunities, and career growth and advancement.

Oregon Hot Spot for Marketing Professionals

Not to be outdone by neighboring Washington, Oregon boasts its own share of top regions for MBA marketing employment. Portland and its suburbs are home to retail powerhouses Adidas and Columbia, while Harry & David is based in Medford, all with in-house marketing teams. Oregon is home to behemoth brand, Nike, one of the Top 15 employers of MBAs — not just in the Pacific Northwest, but in the nation. Once a shoe distributorship out of Portland, Nike continues its tremendous growth. Employment projections for retail marketing professionals with MBAs continues to grow, with the most number of jobs projected for digital, brand marketing and social media marketing.

Marketing Agencies

The shift to digital and online marketing has made it more common for businesses large and small to have their own in-house marketing teams, but for graduates who prefer agency work, marketing agencies are also thriving in the greater Seattle area. Portland-based Wieden+Kennedy is one of the largest independently owned ad agencies in the world and has well-known clients including Nike, Old Spice, Samsung and Coca-Cola. Other popular agencies in the region include Blue Fountain Media, Green Rubino and Drake Cooper.

Opportunities abound for marketing professionals who prefer smaller marketing agencies. Add3, a digital marketing agency, was listed as one of Seattle’s “Top 10 Fastest Growing Companies,” according to Inc. Add3’s workforce grew from 13 in 2011 to 30 in 2014. Its revenue grew 200 percent to $13.4 million, over the same period. It was named one of Washington’s “Best Workplaces” by Puget Sound Business Journal.

Also on Inc.’s list of fastest growing companies in Seattle is full-service marketing agency, Rational Interaction. According to Inc., Rational went from 11 employees in 2011 to 80 employees in just three years, growing its sales 600 percent.

Pacific Northwest Hot Jobs of the Future

A wide variety of marketing roles exist for MBA marketing professionals. Marketing and business development directors with experience can draw well above the national average salary of $80,000. Depending on the level of experience, senior marketing managers and marketing directors are seeing some of the greatest rates of job growth, which are projected to continue into the next decade. reports a median yearly salary of $148,537 for marketing directors in Seattle as of September 2018, with salaries ranging from $127,554 to $174,352.

Demand for brand managers, strategic planning directors, and marketing and business development directors is also projected to remain strong. Retail giants with offices in the Pacific Northwest, including Costco, Nordstrom and Macy’s, foresee a continued growth of opportunities for MBA grads.

Market research analyst and marketing specialist roles are some of the hottest jobs in Washington, with a projected growth rate of over 35 percent in the next decade. Oregon follows closely behind, with a 30 percent growth rate projected through 2024.

For marketing professionals who have an interest in market data analysis, job opportunities will continue to grow as organizations increase their implementation of market data analytics. Large companies are investing less and less time and resources in ad and brand tracking, with marketing resources — and jobs — going to data mining and analytics. Marketing professionals who can take collected data and integrate the results into marketing solutions will be key hires.

Competition in the Pacific Northwest to hire the best and brightest marketing professionals will put MBA marketing grads in the driver’s seat.

Learn more about SOU’s online MBA with a Concentration in Marketing.


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook – Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers

Inc.: Meet the 10 Fastest Growing Companies in the Ever Damp (but Never Dull) Seattle


Blue Fountain Media

Green Rubino

Drake Cooper


Rational Interaction

CNN: 15 Top MBA Employers – Amazon

CNN: 15 Top MBA Employers – Nike

Zippia: Fastest Growing Jobs in Washington

Zippia: Fastest Growing Jobs in Oregon Marketing Director Salaries in Seattle, Washington

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