Skip to main content

A New World of Marketing

By Caroline Barnhill

Now, more than any other time in history, companies across the globe have access to unprecedented amounts of data allowing them to make disruptive business decisions and experience higher levels of efficiency and productivity. Simply put, big data is changing the landscape of nearly every segment of the industry – including marketing.

“There’s always been a lot of thought given into how companies make decisions – but the thought behind the best way to make decisions has changed over time,” explains Bill Rand, executive director of Poole College of Management’s Business Analytics Initiative BAI) and associate professor of marketing. “For a long time, companies leaned on hiring someone with the most years of past experience in order to make its most important decisions for the future. But today, to some extent, a person’s personal judgment is going by the wayside and the new forefront of data-driven decision making is taking over.”

However, one key limitation prevents many businesses from capitalizing on the data at their fingertips – talent.

A recent study published in Harvard Business Review found that companies plan to expand their budgets for marketing analytics by 198 percent. However, only two percent of these companies said that they had the right talent for the job. It’s a sentiment Rand has heard often from business leaders.

“We’ve floated the idea of launching a graduate degree in marketing analytics past a number of industry partners, like IBM for example, and they immediately saw the value it could provide,” Rand says.

After conducting research and determining the market would support such a program, Poole College set out to launch the new Master’s of Management in Marketing Analytics, which will welcome its first class of students in the fall of 2021. It will be the second graduate in marketing analytics degree offered in the southeast, and the second graduate degree program focused on marketing within the state. Rand believes while there will always be interest in MBA programs, the future of business graduate schools will see a variety of more specialized degrees – such as marketing analytics.

Steve Allen, Poole College of Management’s associate dean of academics, agrees.

“The Marketing Analytics program is designed to develop talent in an area where there is a critical need. It will be taught by the same faculty who teach marketing and analytics courses in our highly ranked MBA program,” Allen explains. “I believe this program will be a great fit for students who are comfortable with data analysis and have a passion for connecting with consumers.”

Poole’s newest graduate degree program will be offered entirely online in an effort to cater to working professionals who need flexibility in professional development, says the program director, Dr. Rishika Rishika

“In today’s data-driven digital world, students want to gain not only knowledge of various marketing areas but also be able to apply this knowledge to big data and leverage analytics to solve real business problems and make better decisions,” Rishika says. “Our program is geared towards these students who want to take a more data-oriented approach to marketing problems, hone their data analytic skills, learn how to work with real data and develop marketing models that will help them succeed in their careers.”

Rand has similar sentiments.

“I see this program attracting two types of professionals – first, people with traditional marketing experience who want to add technical skills to take their careers to the next level and then individuals who have an analytics, statistics or computer science background and desire a more particular area of focus,” he says.

Rand believes the BAI will be a great complement to the graduate program by overseeing the practicums, pulling in resources from different companies to facilitate classroom discussions, as well as providing state-of-the-art research and thought leadership. The deep connections to the industry, Rand says, will equip the program’s graduates to make an immediate impact on their places of employment.

Through unique curriculum design and industry-led insights, program faculty hope graduates will gain a deeper understanding of fundamental marketing issues related to customers, products, brands and marketing communications with an overall emphasis on data-based decision making. 

“Companies are increasingly devoting more and more resources towards collecting data about their customers to learn about their behavior. Our program graduates will learn how to glean actionable knowledge from these big marketing data to help understand and engage with their customers better, develop better products and more customized marketing communications,” Rishika says. “Graduates will learn cutting-edge marketing tools and techniques that will help make sense of real data and generate critical data insights needed for enhancing ROI and creating a long-lasting, sustainable competitive advantage for the companies who will be lucky enough to attract them.”

To learn more information about the program and admissions, visit

This post was originally published in Poole College of Management News.