Digital Marketing Students Dissect Data in Search of Sales

Management Programs Prepare Grads for Demands of Complex Sophisticated Discipline

Apr. 18, 2013

One of the hottest trends in marketing requires talent for turning big data into big sales.

Digital marketing analysts study shoppers’ cyberfootprints to help businesses zero in on their most likely customers.

“You can target people in a very refined way that you can’t do with mass media advertising,” said Alex Edsel, director of the MS in Marketing Program and senior lecturer in marketing.

Alexander Edsel

Alex Edsel, director of the master's in marketing program.

Mark Thouin

Dr. Mark Thouin, director of information systems programs.

The Naveen Jindal School of Management added master’s degree concentrations in digital marketing and analytics two years ago to prepare students for this fast-growing field. Enrollment has tripled since 2011 to nearly 150 this spring.

Digital analysts are in high demand and short supply. The jobs pay well: The Digital Analytics Association reported in 2012 that the starting salary for a digital analyst was $60,800. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists market research analyst as one of the fastest-growing careers, with 41 percent projected growth from 2010 to 2020.

In addition to the marketing program, the school offers an increasingly popular business intelligence, analytics and data mining track within the MS in Information Technology and Management. The school also offers a Certificate in Data Mining and Business Intelligence through a partnership with the SAS Institute.

“Students study how to analyze big data,” said Dr. Mark Thouin, director of Information Systems Programs. “And they end up working in a variety of capacities.”

Graduates with analytics expertise work in finance, healthcare, human resources and operations management in addition to marketing.

Employers especially need people who can analyze data and communicate their findings, said John Lovett, a senior partner at Web Analytics Demystified Inc., who spoke at the Digital Analytics Association Symposium hosted at the JSOM last month. The event drew more than 260 attendees and featured industry leaders including a speaker from Google.

John Lovett, a senior partner at Web Analytics Demystified, Inc.

John Lovett of Web Analytics Demystified Inc. spoke at a Digital Analytics Association Symposium hosted last month by the Naveen Jindal School of Management.

Lovett and several digital analytics experts met in a special session to offer career advice to students.

He said many companies are looking for people with expertise in analytics. “There simply is not enough of it around,” Lovett said.

Edsel tells students that the need for digital marketing experts will continue to grow as businesses increasingly reach out to potential customers through newer avenues such as mobile technology and social media marketing. He recently launched a blog to offer career advice to students.

Online retail sales, projected at $231 billion in 2013, are expected to reach $370 billion a year by 2017, according to industry projections by Forrester Research, Inc.

In addition, online sales via mobile devices make up a growing part of that revenue – and present new opportunities for digital analysts. Marketing through mobile technology is expected to grow 38 percent by 2016, according to Forrester.

The science of reaching customers through digital marketing is evolving as fast as the technology it uses.

Farah Abughazaleh is one of the growing number of students enrolled in the master’s program. She said she’s learning to use digital analytics to understand what’s working and what’s not.

“By learning analytics and being able to analyze the return on my marketing, I can adapt and change my techniques based on the results I get, saving time and money and creating higher returns,” Abughazaleh said.


Media Contact: Kim Horner, UT Dallas, (972) 883-4463 kim.horner@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu.
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