Digital career opportunities are growing at an unprecedented rate, and an online master’s in digital marketing and data analytics is a powerful asset. Many assume this means the market is booming primarily for people with highly technical skills. Those with backgrounds in the humanities, arts or social sciences often wonder if their skills will translate in a digital age.
In fact, individuals with a bachelor’s degree in communications are uniquely suited to add an online master’s in digital marketing and data analytics to thrive. A communications background provides an excellent foundation for acquiring the skills needed for these exciting careers.
The Rising Relevance of the Online Master’s in Digital Marketing and Data Analytics Degree
The growth in digital marketing is explosive, and experts anticipate that global digital marketing expenditures will reach $306B in 2020. The range of possible career fields and areas of expertise in the digital marketing arena continues to grow, with current trends including:
- Social Media Stories
- Interactive Content
- Streaming Video Engagement
- Social Media Influencer Marketing
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- Smart Bidding
Businesses are investing billions of dollars in digital marketing, and their spending is not confined to one strategy. Business owners and leaders are looking for individuals equipped to lead them into exciting new avenues of communication and messaging. They increasingly understand that digital marketing professionals are essential to ongoing success.
Earning an online master’s in digital marketing and data analytics provides a clear advantage for existing and aspiring marketing professionals. In fact, those with a master’s degree earn an average of 27.4% more than those with a bachelor’s degree alone.
Unique Advantages for Those with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications
If you have an educational background in communications, you are equipped in some particular ways to pursue an online master’s in digital marketing and data analytics.
1) You’re Equipped With Some of the Most Important Skills
As the digital economy continues to expand, experts are recognizing the skills most important to success. These skills can be broken into three key categories:
- Human Skills
- Digital Building Blocks
- Business Enablers
Digital building blocks include skills like analyzing data, managing data and software development, all skills you are likely to learn through an online master’s in digital marketing and data analytics. Business enablers include digital design, project management and communicating data. However, human skills remain essential to the digital economy, and they include:
- Critical thinking
- Analytical Skills
Recent history shows the continued rise in demand for digital skills among employees. These skills are all essential components of a bachelor’s in communications. Communication has been broadly recognized as one of the new foundational skills employers consider crucial as they hire and advance staff. In fact, between 2012-2017, demand in the digital arena for these skills continued to rise:
|Skill||2017 openings||Percent Increase|
2) You Understand the Process and Power of Effective Storytelling
Once upon a time, marketing was primarily about slogans, commercials and traditional print ads. Even the conventional digital advertising methods, including banner ads, are proving less effective. In one study, 92 percent of people said they trust peer recommendations over traditional advertising.
This means companies must be more creative and effective than ever in creating brand identity and messaging. Impactful storytelling is crucial in meeting those goals. In fact, companies can increase the value of their product or service over 20 times when they tell their brand story well.
A bachelor’s in communications offers key building blocks for understanding stories and storytelling. Courses in rhetoric, public speaking, communication theory, persuasion and more each provide a helpful piece of the puzzle. An online master’s in digital marketing and data analytics will build on that core knowledge to enable you to meet the growing demand for effective storytellers in a digital economy.
3) You Have Learned That the Best Communication is Audience-Focused
Undergraduate communications curricula are particularly helpful in exposing students to a wide range of communication styles and contexts. If you have a bachelor’s in communications, your coursework probably included classes in:
- Interpersonal Communication
- Communication Theory
- Intercultural Communication
- Argument and Advocacy
- Rhetoric in Culture
- Political Communication
- Communication and Social Movements
- Group Communication
Each of these courses and others like them have in common a deeper path to understanding both sides of a message. All communication involves a party communicating in some way and a party receiving the communication.
Digital messaging and marketing require the kind of dynamic knowledge of an audience those with a bachelor’s in communication have already begun developing. Effective digital marketing content increasingly must not only be relevant to an audience but must understand and anticipate an audience’s needs.
An online master’s in digital marketing and data analytics provides an even deeper understanding of audience-focused communication. You’ll learn to better anticipate and engage audience motivations, questions and objections. You’ll gain expertise in gathering consumer insights. You’ll learn concepts such as social listening, voice of the customer and much more. Each of these is an essential component of the expertise that will empower you in a digital economy.
4) You Understand the Role Data Plays in Effective Communication, a Key Focus of an Online Master’s in Digital Marketing and Data Analytics
One of the most common misconceptions about academic work in a field like communication is that hard data and science take a back seat to art and theory. In fact, those with a bachelor’s in communications have learned that the most effective communication accounts for and relies on real-world data. Courses in both communication theory and specific methods and contexts of communication rely on scientific understandings of accurate data.
This understanding of how art and science work together in communication is foundational to success in the digital economy. Remember, alongside human skills, digital building blocks are considered new foundational skills in the digital economy. Those digital building blocks include:
- Analyzing Data
- Managing Data
- Software Development
- Computer Programming, and
- Digital Security and Privacy
An online master’s in digital marketing and data analytics explores the way each of these particular skills impacts effective digital marketing and offers even greater expertise in these areas. These fields of study offer mastery of web and predictive analysis, descriptive and predictive analytics, social media and voice of customer analytics, and much more.
5) You’re Familiar With the Broad Range of Styles and Skills Involved in Communication and Marketing
Marketing long has been more complex than eye-catching images and snappy slogans. The advent of digital marketing has even further diversified the concepts, skills and roles necessary for effective messaging. However, those without advanced education in the field are unlikely to be able to describe either the complexities of marketing or the long list of roles and jobs involved.
Digital marketing roles include:
- Digital Marketing Manager
- Search Engine Optimizer
- Social Media Marketing Expert
- Digital Marketing Copywriter
- Analytics Manager
- Content Designer
For those with an educational background in communications, this language may be new but the landscape will not be a surprise. In a very similar sense, you already have learned that productive communication is about more than simply writing or speaking well. You will quickly learn to translate that understanding to the diversity of skills and roles in the world of digital marketing.
This translation is made far simpler through an online master’s in digital marketing and data analytics. Through advanced education in these areas, you’ll learn more clearly the essential components and roles of the digital economy. And, of course, your background in communication will make you well-suited for finding your place and working effectively with others on a team.
6) You Know that Adaptability to Context, Audience and Circumstances Is Essential to Successful Messaging
As you began your undergraduate work in communications, you may have looked at courses like these and wondered when they might possibly matter in the real world:
- Rhetoric in Western Thought
- Communication Theory
- New Media and the Independent Voice
- Rhetorical Criticism
- Technology and Human Communication
- Communication Law and Policy
- American Oratory
- New Media and Civil Society
In fact, these kinds of courses equip communications students for an online master’s in digital marketing and data analytics by teaching adaptability. In broad and particular ways, you grow to understand that a limitless number of factors impact the effectiveness of communication.
This reality is a bedrock principle for digital marketing, where delivery methods alone create a constant climate of change and forced adjustment. Digital marketing is being delivered today in a number of ways most couldn’t have imagined not so long ago, including:
- Smart Watches
- Virtual Assistants with Artificial Intelligence
- Virtual Reality Devices
- Interactive Car Interfaces
- Smart Televisions
- Personal E-Readers
Of course, the fast pace of change in delivery methods provides just one example of why the ability to adjust is crucial in the digital economy. A core knowledge of communication theory and principles gives you the capacity to apply that understanding in a constantly changing environment. Programs like an online master’s in digital marketing and data analytics are designed to add digital-era skills to your communication background.
7) You Understand Both the Core Principles and the Ethics of Persuasion
Remember when you were fighting to stay awake during that lecture on Aristotle’s view of persuasion? If you retained even a fragment of that information, you’ll find yourself better prepared for an online master’s in digital marketing and data analytics.
Aristotle insisted that establishing trust and credibility was a crucial part of persuading an audience. Academic programs in communication teach Aristotle not only so you learn the art of persuasion, but also so you learn the ethics of persuasion. That foundation prepares you for effective, ethical digital marketing and data analytics.
Kath Pay of Cloud.IQ notes that this balanced approach to persuasion is mutually beneficial in digital marketing and data analytics:
"First, applying the principles of the Psychology of Persuasion can assist your customer in their journey to achieve their objective, i.e. buying a product or service from you, and secondly, you, as the marketer, benefit from facilitating more successful conversions.”
An online master’s in digital marketing and data analytics brings together a full integration of these principles. You’ll better learn how messaging affects behavior in both good and bad ways. It also brings the science of data to bear on persuasion. Among other skills, you’ll learn how to use data to analyze predictive outcomes and to measure consumer insights.
8) You Already Understand Customer Segmentation, a Key Focus of an Online Master’s in Digital Marketing and Data Analytics
Customer segmentation is a marketing tool that groups people with similar interests or needs together to deliver relevant content to them. This technique is essential in the digital economy where consumers expect personalized experiences.
None of this will be a surprise to you, of course. As you’ve already learned, communication with people is always personal. Any communicator, including those working in digital marketing and data analytics, must understand his or her audience and communicate with audience needs and expectations in mind.
9) You’ve Learned that Communication that Produces Change Is a Process and Rarely a One-time Event
No one completes a bachelor’s degree in communications without reading great speeches by Martin Luther King, Sojourner Truth or John F. Kennedy. Some communicators have the seemingly divine skill to produce change in mere minutes.
These moments, of course, are exceptions and not the rule when it comes to affecting human behavior. That’s why the great speeches only comprise a small part of a communications curriculum. As a whole, you have no doubt learned that the most fruitful messages are usually those delivered to specific audiences repeatedly over time.
One of the goals of an online master’s in digital marketing and data analytics is teaching you to be part of messaging that truly moves people to action using that principle. Your innate understanding of the importance of the process of communication is a significant advantage.
10) You’ve Gained Invaluable Experience in Problem-Solving Through Critical Thinking
Improved critical thinking skills are the often under-appreciated virtues of a liberal arts education in a field like communications. You’ve spent years not only reading and understanding great writing and speeches but also discussing their importance. You’ve translated communication theory to better understand the day-to-day realities of human interaction.
The goal of an online master’s in digital marketing and data analytics is to prepare you to harness the power of communication to reach and engage audiences. This requires the skill and the will to solve complex problems that rarely have clear mathematical answers.
Between 2012-2017, demand in the digital economy for professionals equipped with well-honed critical thinking skills rose 31 percent. You’ve already demonstrated a capacity to think critically to solve problems. Pursuing an online master’s in digital marketing and data analytics empowers you to add expertise to those skills.
Are You Ready to Explore an Online Master’s in Digital Marketing and Data Analytics?
This degree is one of the most logical and lucrative next steps for those with an educational background in communications. Equip yourself for a better future through a Master’s in Digital Marketing and Data Analytics from Emerson College.