One byproduct of advances in technology has singularly reshaped the marketing landscape more than any other: data. From tracking consumer behavior to geolocation information, the proliferation of internet users, mobile devices, and social media has created a surge in data available to companies and marketers alike. The ability to parse this information into actionable insights has become central to capturing a consumer’s interest, and perhaps the most vital skill one can have when it comes to selling products, building brands, and improving company communications.
The field of marketing analytics emphasizes data’s impact on advertising, marketing, and brand strategy. In today’s tech-centered economy, business intelligence is king, and professionals with the ability to collect and interpret data into integrated marketing strategies and messages are in ever-growing demand.
Classification of Master’s in Marketing Analytics Programs
Graduate programs in marketing analytics help prepare individuals to handle a range of marketing intelligence (e.g., audience data, behavioral data, web analytics data, transactional data) and transform that information into strategic marketing initiatives across media channels.
In most cases, master’s degrees in the field are offered as a Master of Science (M.S.); however, there are some Master of Arts (M.A.) degree options available. These programs can be found at a wide range of institutions, often in business or graduate schools, or marketing and communications, journalism, or media departments. The majority are standalone, but there are some schools that offer marketing analytics as a specialization or emphasis within broader business, data analytics, marketing, or communication programs. For example, the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University offers Consumer Insights and Analytics as a specific sequence within their master’s program in integrated marketing communications.
Further examples of marketing analytics programs can be found at the following universities:
- American University: Master of Science in Marketing Analytics
- Claremont Graduate University: Master of Science in Marketing Analytics
- University of Maryland: Master of Science in Marketing Analytics
- University of Rochester: Master of Science in Marketing Analytics
- West Virginia University: Master of Science in Data Marketing Communications
Online Master’s in Marketing Analytics Programs
Individuals currently working in marketing, analytics, or another field, who want to complete a graduate education without taking a break from their current career, may want to consider an online masters’ program in marketing analytics. Online programs offer a variety of flexible scheduling options, many of which do not require on-campus visits. Online programs are also a great option for students who do not live near a campus-based program and do not want to relocate for graduate school. Example online programs include the Master of Science in Marketing (Marketing Analytics specialization) at The University of Alabama, the Master of Arts in Digital Marketing and Data Analytics at Emerson College, and the Master of Science in Marketing (Marketing Research and Analytics concentration) at Southern New Hampshire University.
It is important to understand the difference in instructional methods for online programs, as they determine the relative flexibility by which students view lectures and complete assignments. Synchronous instruction requires students to participate in scheduled online learning sessions at specific times. Students log into a learning management system to watch live lectures or engage with classmates in class discussions through video chat and web conferencing chat platforms. These programs emphasize a more “traditional” feel for learning, placing a premium on student interaction with instructors and peers. However, they require students to be online at specific times, which may not be possible for working professionals or other busy individuals.
Students who want or need a more independent learning experience may want to explore programs that mainly use asynchronous instruction. In these programs, students are not required to attend courses or lectures at scheduled times. Instead, they complete assignments according to a set schedule, but watch lectures and complete reading materials on their own time. This learning format can be beneficial if students need greater flexibility to fit graduate education into their personal and work schedule, or live in a different time zone than their program’s institution. However, programs that utilize asynchronous instruction require more self-motivation to keep up with course assignments and lectures.
Curriculum Details for Master’s in Marketing Analytics Programs
Coursework in a marketing analytics program generally focuses on helping students develop familiarity with data analysis tools and become competent in making data-driven decisions that can be applied across industries through mobile marketing, social media, web content, display advertising, and more. Some feature curriculum heavily grounded in programming languages (e.g., R, SAS, Python) and database modeling, requiring students to have a background in programming. However, there are programs that teach complex statistical analysis (e.g., consumer analysis and predictive modeling) without the need for deep knowledge of programming languages.
Most master’s degree programs in marketing analytics are comprised of around 30 to 36 credit hours, and require between 12 and 24 months to complete. Typically, these programs have a set curriculum that includes both required (core) and elective courses. Although the number of core classes varies by each program (usually 15 to 24 credits), this coursework serves as the foundation to the graduate program. In this portion of the curriculum, students are typically introduced to fundamental concepts in marketing management, customer analysis, market research and analysis, applied statistics, data science, business intelligence, and more.
Through a comprehensive approach to marketing analysis, students develop skills that allow them to handle tasks such as:
- Leverage consumer insights to reach target audiences with multi-channel marketing strategies
- Conduct demand forecasting and pricing analyses (e.g., price matching, product-line pricing)
- Optimize sales approaches through data analysis of consumer and market trends
- Conduct market research
- Apply predictive modeling to business problems to drive management decision-making
- Analyze and develop strategies for marketing potential services and products
- Work with varying datasets (e.g., geo-demographic, social media, click stream) and segment them into useful, actionable items
After finishing their core coursework, students typically take a selection of electives. Like core courses, electives vary by program, but allow students to craft a course of study that best fits their personal and career goals. Sample subjects include pricing analytics, market forecasting, web analytics, user experience platforms, digital marketing strategy, databases, and big data, and technology product marketing. Some master’s programs in marketing analytics do not require electives, while others may require students to complete six to 15 credits of elective courses.
Some master’s programs culminate with a capstone experience meant to assess students’ ability to apply what they learned in their program to a real-world learning experience. This may be a project, a portfolio, or, in some cases, an in-person practicum that requires students to travel to their institution or another location to complete the work. On-site practicums are typically multi-day events where students partner with business leaders and fellow students to participate in case studies and listen to lectures and talks from different area experts.
To give students a better idea of what to expect in a Master’s in Marketing Analytics program, below is an example list of course topics commonly covered in the curriculum:
- Applied Managerial Statistics: The study of decision making through statistical analysis, teaching students how to use real-world data sets and analytical software to build regression models and probability distributions.
- Social Media Management: Examines social media technologies and platforms, and how they shape today’s media, marketing, communications, and public relations strategies in both digital and traditional formats.
- Big Data: A fundamental course that studies central database concepts, such as design and extraction, offering students hands-on skill development in transforming raw data into powerful business intelligence through data mining and data querying.
- Predictive Analytics: Teaches students about predictive modeling tools and methods, providing them with a foundational understanding of how to use predictive methods to develop data-driven solutions to organizational or business problems.
- Business Intelligence: Explores strategic decision making through meaningful data collection and analysis using tools such as data mining, predictive statistics, and data warehousing, teaching student how to create visual data presentations that lead to useful business insights.
- Marketing Research: Introduces students to the design and appropriate selection of marketing research methodologies and analysis, including how to produce marketing information and reports based on that data.
The table below outlines a sample curriculum plan for a one-year program that includes five, eight-week course modules and requires 10 classes (30 credits) to complete, including a culminating capstone experience.
|Module 1||Module 2||Module 3||Module 4||Module 5|
Career Paths for Graduates with a Master’s in Marketing Analytics
Digital and social media have reshaped modern marketing and are now firmly entrenched in every industry, from automotive to credit cards. With this new landscape comes data — demographic data, device-use data, geolocation data, and more. That means companies, agencies, government organizations, and nonprofits alike need to collect, analyze, and understand a wide range of data to best achieve their business objectives. Marketing analytics is a burgeoning career field with emerging opportunities as advances in technology and marketing platforms continue.
Due to this explosion of data collection, graduates with a master’s degree in marketing analytics are well-positioned for a variety of roles across industries – in strategy and business intelligence, creative, media and media production, marketing, sales, and more. With skills in data analysis and forecasting, graduates can pursue careers in digital specializations (such as digital marketing), management (e.g., product management), or data science (e.g., data analyst, marketing strategist, or market researcher), to name just a few possible options.
Below is a list of some potential career paths graduates of Master’s in Marketing Analytics programs might consider:
- Marketing Strategist: Understands company’s or client’s marketing needs, handling account management and strategic plan creation, conducting primary (e.g., surveys and focus groups) and secondary research to identify market patterns and opportunities, and develop multi-channel media plans.
- Digital Marketing Analyst: Collects and analyzes relevant business data (e.g., web and mobile data) to develop and executive online marketing programs such as social marketing and organic media to enhance user experience, expand a brand’s reach, or convert prospective consumers into potential business leads.
- Market Researcher: Develops systematic approaches to designing research methods, such as surveys, to collect data on prospective and current consumers, competitors, and overall market place trends, and uses statistical analysis to translate that data into actionable strategies.
- Marketing Analytics Manager: Analyzes business performance numbers to develop insights into user behaviors and long-term market trends, and build data sets and reporting tools that drive strategic recommendations to senior leadership.
- Product Marketing Manager: Serves as the lead over a company’s product or service(s), coordinates with other functional units for product feedback, testing, and updates, and develops appropriate marketing approaches, such as pricing, and messaging across different media channels.