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Marketing Analytics Grad Gets Ahead of the Curve

By Caroline Barnhill

A few years into her career in the corporate world, Claire Mangum began thinking about which graduate degrees could drive her career forward, allow her to grow professionally and help her gain a competitive edge. 

A proud, third-generation graduate of NC State, Mangum toyed with the idea of applying to the Jenkins MBA program, or to Jenkins’ dual-degree Juris Doctor-MBA program offered in concert with Campbell University. 

And then, in a moment of serendipity, a post announcing Poole College of Management’s new Master of Management program with a concentration in marketing analytics popped up on her Facebook page. 

“I knew it was the perfect opportunity for me because it’s in the exact field of marketing that I want to break into,” Mangum says. “It will also help me differentiate myself from other young professionals with marketing degrees and a few years of experience. Because I’m still in the early stages of my career, obtaining a master’s degree in something so niche will set me apart from other candidates and help me get my foot in the door.”

Mangum also saw the marketing analytics program as an opportunity to leverage her skills and passions in a unique way.

“I love research, science and facts, but I have a very creative side as well, so marketing gives me the ability to use both ‘sides’ of my brain, so to speak,” she says. “When you add in data analytics, I have a ball. I really enjoy turning data into concrete applications, and I know that this is such a critical part of marketing products and services. Data allows you to understand consumer behavior, wants and needs, so I’m very eager to grow this skill set through the marketing analytics program.”

Growing those skills, she believes, will also allow her to streamline companies’ marketing efforts in a changing world.

“Things in the world, and in the business landscape change, so rapidly – and that rate of change is accelerating. To be successful, businesses are going to have to rely on data more and more to clarify what’s going on, predict the next market trends and become more efficient.”

In Mangum’s eyes, data is brimming with possibilities – and yet for many companies, its power has mostly gone untapped.

“Data has the ability to take a lot of the guesswork out of the marketing process to allow for more tailored marketing efforts, which leads to more awareness, higher sales and more money for a company’s bottom line,” she explains. “But there are several companies that are just starting to make use of data, even though we have been in the world of ‘big data’ for quite some time.”Recognizing that data analytics is the future, however, Mangum is eager to get ahead of the curve – and to use the knowledge and expertise she gains as a force for good. One way she hopes to do this is by helping companies grow in more ethical, transparent business models.

“Companies often use misleading language or emotionally evocative words and imaging to shape the way consumers view products. For example, several companies have started ‘greenwashing’ their products when it comes to eco-conscious or sustainability claims. Doing even a small amount of research, however, usually shows that these claims are unsubstantiated. Often, these companies are either doing nothing – or the bare minimum – to care for the environment and pursue sustainability, and because they know that most customers aren’t doing their research when they buy a pair of jeans or a household cleaner, these brands are able to get away with it,” Mangum explains.

“A lot of companies love living in the grey area, where they aren’t technically engaging in false advertising, but they aren’t being transparent either. But transparency and sincerity are important to me, and I want to push the marketing industry to be better. I also want companies to have the data to prove it,” she continues.

With those dreams before her, Mangum is excited about being part of the marketing analytics program’s first cohort of students – and the fact that the program is at her alma mater is just the icing on the cake.

“This truly is the perfect degree program at the perfect school. I’m thrilled to be part of it and to help show the world the power of marketing analytics, and I imagine that this sort of program will start popping up at other schools as more people recognize how valuable it is.”