The Artistry of Analytics
The Artistry of Analytics

The Artistry of Analytics

Since this blog was initially published, the curriculum has been updated to be even more relevant to the modern marketer. As of Fall 2022, Emerson College is proud to offer our reimagined Master of Arts in Marketing, previously known as the Master’s of Digital Marketing and Data Analytics (DMDA).


In the grand scheme of things, Digital Marketing and Data Analytics is a relatively new field of study and a fairly new career course. Afterall, analyzing customer behavior of social media, mining data from the internet, and using that knowledge to create compelling and attractive marketing campaigns for targeted audiences is only as young as the programs developed to do so. Yes, Hootsuite, Google Analytics IQ, Brandwatch, and SAS Enterprise Miner are all on the cutting edge of our deeper understanding of online human behavior, but the core of Digital Marketing and Data Analytics is grounded in instincts and desires that are as ancient as humanity itself.

In Pursuit of Wisdom

In his famous Apology, Plato penned those fateful words of Socrates, "The unexamined life is not worth living." This statement has often been interpreted by philosophers to mean that the pursuit of understanding is what makes us truly human. Once we've learned, we seek to share that understanding with others, express our experience or point of view, craving that connection and relationship with others. And when we connect like the social creatures we are, we engage in that most human ability of all: empathy.

This examining, ordering, sharing, and receiving of knowledge and experience is perhaps most obvious in our hunger for news and gossip, our social media sharing and liking, and virtually every form of expression, creation and consumption of art.

Science = Art

David Featherstone (1967-2017), former Professor of Biology and Neuroscience at UIC, argued that even science is based on this same need to understand and describe the world, organize data, and share it with others. "Science = Art. They are the same thing," he wrote in an 2017 article originally published on Quora and again by Forbes. "We crave order. We crave predictability. We share because we are social creatures."

This powerful combination of science, art, and social behavior is perhaps most clearly demonstrated in digital marketing and data analytics , an industry that relies on obtaining data -- often through social media -- interpreting it, and applying those insights in meaningful, innovative ways to deliver optimal results for companies and organizations.

  • US-based companies will spend $120 million on digital marketing by 2021. (Forbes)
  • It's projected that 110,000 new positions in the Digital Marketing industry will be created by 2020. (Burning Glass Technologies)
  • Digital Marketers with masters degrees will earn an average of 27.4% more than those with a bachelor's degree alone. (Burning Glass Technologies)
  • The median salary for managers, directors, specialists, and consultants in the Marketing Analytics industry in 2019 is $116,500. (

Pursuing higher education in digital marketing and data analytics is a highly advisable investment, and a master's in Digital Marketing and Data Analytics (DMDA) from Emerson College is an excellent source of training in the use of valuable tools, skills, and certifications needed to propel a career in digital marketing to greater levels of influence and profitability.

We Crave Order

The natural inclination to organize and categorize information gives us the motivation to learn valuable information about consumers and markets. Data, like open and click rates, is collected about customers using tools like SAS Studio, Enterprise Miner and Google Analytics. Customers can then be sorted into segments by a range of characteristics, and those segments used to create effective, targeted marketing campaigns, which will ideally result in increased sales.

A degree in Digital Marketing and Data Analytics hones skills in descriptive and predictive analytic approaches, as well as analytics methods. Because data is only valuable if it can be used to gain desired results, Emerson's online DMDA also offers hands-on training in applications and techniques that empower students to create insight-driven strategies.

We Crave Predictability

"Unpredictability and senselessness are stressful," says Featherstone, which is what drives humans to familiarity and routine. No matter how much a person might love adventure or spontaneity, certain predictable behaviors are all but guaranteed—which is an invaluable tool for the digital marketer. Earning a DMDA masters degree should provide the tools to examine online consumer behavior—especially their goals and fears—and understand and anticipate consumer motivations (analytics). It should also provide the tools to identify trends in order to effectively influence that behavior (marketing).

Being equipped to examine and predict consumer behavior through applications like SAS Studio and Enterprise Miner allows data analysts to build predictive models that identify appropriate targets, which is a valuable way to improve their company's bottom line by directing their marketing dollars to the avenues with the highest rate of return.

Emerson College's DMDA online program covers an array of website and predictive analytics, as well as modeling techniques like linear regression, logistical regression, and decision tree analysis. Students will be trained and certified in the Google Analytics platform to study consumer segments, website usage patterns, and channels that drive the greatest traffic.

We Are Social

As much as we crave order, humans also crave connection, and there's no greater form of connection than storytelling. Social media has become a monumental tool for both storytelling and connection, as well as a goldmine of data for digital analysts and marketers.

Insights gained through searchable tools like Brandwatch allow for brands to create influential paid advertisements as well as organic growth based on data-driven techniques for crafting their story in a way that resonates with digital consumers.

In turn, that story can be used to guide effective digital campaigns, which also use those handy customer segments to share the most relatable story to the most receptive audience. In the digital marketing industry, there's nothing quite as powerful as designing a creative, authentic, and data-driven marketing campaign that is layered across carefully targeted email, social media, web advertisement, and search engine optimization (SEO) mediums.

But those who've earned a masters in DMDA know that successful digital storytelling requires more than ideal packaging for online consumers. They set goals, evaluate results, and adapt their story and tools to effectively interact with each unique audience on their different devices. Digital marketing and data analytics is ever-changing—never static—and must evolve as quickly as the tools and devices we use to create and consume them.

Why Emerson

Because of that, students of Emerson College's DMDA online program also receive in-depth training on social media analytics and voice of the customer (VOC) analytics, as well as social media analytics platforms like Hootsuite. Listening to consumers through tools like these is what allows companies to receive timely feedback, to respond in ways that demonstrate the value of the customer, and to build brand loyalty among those valued customers.

Emerson College's DMDA online program includes training in all the essential skills and software like Hootsuite, SAS Studio, SAS Enterprise Miner, Microsoft Excel, and more. There are also certifications in Google Analytics and Brandwatch built right into the curriculum.

"I am looking forward to being able to include Google Analytics IQ Certified on my resume," says an online DMDA student. "More and more I am hearing and seeing that having a good understanding of analytics is essential to success in a lot of roles."

"I really value the opportunity to work with SAS studio and Enterprise Miner through real-world application examples," said another. "The instructions for each assignment were very detailed and easy to understand."

Master the Art of Science

Marketing is a powerful combination of art and science, which is why Emerson's Digital Marketing and Data Analytics online master's degree equips students with the tools and certifications they need to become the creative, innovative problem-solvers and communicators that the industry needs. Through artistry, analysis, strategy, and a deep understanding of customer needs, the future is bright for marketers and consumers alike.

Set your course for the future of marketing by talking to an admissions counselor at Emerson College to see if the DMDA online program is the right fit for you.

Click here to learn more about our programs and schedule an appointment with an enrollment advisor today.