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Data Marketing Communications — The First Degree of Its Kind


A re you passionate about the field of marketing communications?

Do you see the value in making  data-driven marketing decisions to increase ROI?

Do you recognize that the evolving marketing field requires professionals who have the skills needed to implement integrated marketing campaigns that are rooted in data?

West Virginia University's Reed College of Media is home to expert faculty and staff who recognize the need for marketing professionals who understand how to harness the power of data and use creative and critical thinking to establish and augment integrated marketing campaigns. In response to this need,  WVU developed a cutting-edge, first-of-its-kind graduate marketing degree: Data Marketing Communications (DMC).

This master's degree shouldn't be mistaken for data science or for statistical analysis, rather, WVU defines Data Marketing Communications  "as an emerging discipline that takes data and applies intelligence and strategic analysis to provide professional communicators with key insights to develop and refine marketing communications activities."

Let's dig a little deeper and examine West Virginia University's pioneer Data Marketing Communications graduate degree.

DMC — Seeking a Solution to the Talent Gap:

In previous years, marketing, technology, sales, and user experience were siloed and not always equal departments in business. Further, the rapidly-evolving field of marketing communications is facing a significant talent gap:  There is a significant gap today between what people actually know vs. what people need to know in the marketing communications industry.

Data Marketing Communications seeks to break down these silos and bridge the talent gap by understanding user experience and by implementing insight-driven solutions to  all facets of an integrated marketing campaign.

DMC Graphic

DMC's Focus on 4 Types of Data:

DMC equips marketing communication professionals with the skills to interpret data as a way of driving messaging, assessing metrics, measuring productivity, and increasing ROI — all by  focusing on four types of data: Audience, Transactional, Behavioral, and Intent

By focusing on these four types of data, professionals who study Data Marketing Communications are given the skills to better navigate today's field of marketing communications and are equipped with the acumen needed to thrive in competitive agency positions.

  • Audience Data — Demographic and psychographic information about the people responding to your communications
  • Transactional Data —Data that comes from an event, or the change as a result of a transaction
  • Behavioral Data — Information on the actions users take in response to your marketing content
  • Intent Data — Information that indicates the likelihood of an action to be taken by a user

Choosing the IMC Area of Emphasis:

DMC students have the opportunity to add one particular Area of Emphasis (AOE) to their graduate degree.  Included on your transcript once you graduate, the  Integrated Marketing Communications specialization is intended to broaden your knowledge base, make you more competitive in the job market, and demonstrate your level of expertise in data-driven marketing  and integrated marketing communications. Each course is three credit hours, totaling 12 hours:

IMC Emphasis

But what are the practical benefits to adding the IMC AOE to your Data Marketing Communications degree?

1) It’s an Automatic Way to Distinguish Yourself Professionally.  When you have a relevant specialization from a competitive master’s degree program, you are no longer trying to distinguish yourself from the many job-hunters who have a generic marketing background. With the AOE stamp of approval on your transcript, employers know they are talking to a person with knowledge of key strategy and tactics that can help them immediately improve their integrated marketing communications campaigns

2) It Gives You Specialized Knowledge About a Vital Area of Marketing. Specializing in Integrated Marketing Communications allows you to add immediate value back into an area of your organization’s marketing that might need some help. When  you become the solution to a lack of consistent messaging across brands, you make yourself indispensable. And who doesn’t want that?

Understanding the DMC Curriculum:

The  30-credit hour program is offered exclusively online. The curriculum requires students to take an introduction course, eight core courses, and a capstone course. Below are a few examples of the kinds of courses that DMC students take.

  • Introduction to DMC  — This course offers an overview of the program, focusing on the upcoming curriculum, industry trends, and campaign management systems available in the market.
  • Social Media Optimization — This course will focus on both gathering data from social media as well as customization of messages for maximum social media reach. Students will focus on how marketing communications initiatives succeed and fail in the social media sphere and which data sets can best inform their social media campaigns.
  • User Experience Platforms — This course introduces the student to the technology and purpose of UX platforms. Students will gain an understanding of the user centered design methodologies and business goals that have fueled the rapid growth of these platforms. 
  • Audience Segmentation  — This course is an analytical exploration of how data can be used to break down mass markets into specific, reachable target markets and how that can impact addressable advertising initiatives.
  • Campaign Planning & Programmatic Media Buying  — This course is a survey of the automated media buying landscape and focuses on the tools used, as well as the risks and rewards of automated media buys.   
  • Data Marketing Communications Campaigns  — In this course, students will develop a cohesive marketing communications campaign that demonstrates a conceptual mastery of data-driven marketing communications for a real-world client.

DMC's Community of Expert Faculty: 

The expert faculty who teach the DMC curriculum include a mix of communication professionals — from renowned authors to savvy marketing directors, from respected academics to innovative entrepreneurs. 

  • Susan Emerick:  Principal and founder of Brands Rising, where she works with Fortune 100 companies, providing expertise in strategy, engagement and measurement methods.
  • Neelesh Varde:  Conducts data visualization for several global food brands and pharmaceutical products.
  • Molly Gilmore: Owner of Blue Genes Media, a consulting business in the New York City area focused on user experience design and product development.
  • Cyndi Greenglass:  Top 10 Most Inspiring in Sales Lead Management People in Lead Generation Companies.
  • Michael Lynch:  Marketing professional with over 20 years of experience in the gaming and hospitality industries.

DMC's Students: Who Studies DMC?

WVU’s Data Marketing Communications program is specifically for professionals who are passionate about marketing communications but who are also aware of the needs that the marketing communications field is facing when it comes to data-driven insights. The program is  designed for marketers who want to establish themselves as leaders in the field by learning how to use data to achieve results

WVU's DMC students generally fall into one of three groups:

  1. Experienced marketing professionals who are leading or working in a marketing department
  2. Marketing specialists who want to advance and become leaders in their field
  3. Aspiring young marketers interested in developing the newest skills in communications

Listen & Learn with WVU's Podcast:

West Virginia University’s podcast, WVUMCToday, is the intersection of data-driven decision making and marketing practice. The successful  Marketing Communications Today podcast is moving to a weekly format. If you're interested in learning more about the current trends in the marketing communications industry, tune in to hear from experts in data, influencer marketing, AR/VR, modern branding strategies, and so much more.


Staying Connected Post DMC:

With a  network of over 1,500+  faculty members, current students, and alumni working in marketing communications all over the world, students and alumni alike are empowered to tap into the DMC network as questions and challenges arise in their careers.

You can also stay connected by attending one of WVU's  Integrate conferences, mentor future students, and share your excitement for WVU DMC with everyone you meet. 

Are you ready to join the DMC community?

West Virginia University’s Data Marketing Communications program is the nation’s first online master’s degree explicitly focused on the impact of data on marketing communications. 

You don’t need to be a math whiz in order to succeed in our Data Marketing Communications program, but you do  need the ambition and the analytical skills to interpret data to assess metrics, measure productivity, increase ROI, and develop integrated marketing strategies.

Ready to get started on your Data Marketing Communications journey?  Contact us today to learn more about how you can begin to make a difference in your marketing career!