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Consumer Behavior and Marketing Strategy

Change the way you see consumer data.

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At a Glance

Open Enrollment
8 weeks
Total CEUs
4.2 CEUs

Upcoming Dates

September Start

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Consumer data is meaningless without an understanding of human behavior. In eight weeks, you will learn social science theories of cognition, motivation, emotion, personality, social influence, culture, and other aspects of human nature, transforming analytics into a powerful tool of marketing action.

Designed For

Designed for professionals interested in a deepening understanding of consumer behavior grounded in cutting-edge social science theory

Learning Objectives

In this course, you will learn and practice applying eight social science theories to real-world marketing problems. In addition to gaining new insights into human behavior, you will learn new, data-driven ways to approach marketing solutions.

After completing the course, you will be able to:

  • Put the customer at the center of the strategic decision-making process
  • Make a case for a customer-centered solution based on data and present it using a persuasive conceptual model
  • Recommend a marketing plan based on your in-depth understanding of the consumer
  • Devise a framework to gauge the effectiveness of your marketing plan
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Leverage Deep Consumer Insights to Improve Marketing Performance

Reach out to our admissions team to find out how UChicago’s Consumer Behavior and Marketing Strategy course can help you stay ahead of the competition.

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Marketing curriculum

Our courses are designed to introduce you to a range of new marketing strategies and tools. You will learn to: 

  • Define a business goal in terms of what we want the consumer to think, feel, or do
  • Frame a desired consumer response within a conceptual model based on social science theory
  • Use data to provide insight into consumer behavior and determine the proper course of action
  • Establish and present a plan to test the effectiveness of the marketing action you recommend

Course format

  • Eight weeks in length
  • Weekly, self-paced interactive learning modules and assignments are time-sensitive and should be completed by the set deadlines
  • Synchronous sessions and live question and answer sessions 
  • Mentors will provide continuous support and encourage a dynamic and positive learning environment

Weekly course schedule

Examine marketing’s role in business and the consumer’s role in marketing. Learn to identify and describe business objectives and the beliefs, behaviors, or emotions you wish to instill in the consumer. Identify key aspects of consumer data needed to serve them better (and encourage a  desired belief, behavior, or emotion). Explore how a company’s perspective may be different from the customer’s.

Define the key elements of a culture: membership, practices, rituals, mythic stories, ways of life, and unspoken assumptions.  Identify types of cultural meaning: norms, beliefs, ideologies, emotions, values, mindset, mentality, and worldview. Discover what is meant by “a cultural understanding of consumers.” Learn how a cultural understanding of the consumer can be the basis for a marketing strategy and dissect a culture-based marketing program to identify its cultural insights.

Explore key concepts of social class from Bourdieu, Destin, Marx, Nietzsche, Veblen, Warner, and Yosso. Identify insights into a consumer audience based on a conceptual model of social class. Learn to recommend marketing strategies based on insights grounded in social class concepts and identify the class-based insights that drive an existing marketing campaign. Design an approach to testing your class-based marketing recommendations.

Explore the concepts of brand symbolism or brand image, the self, and how a match between a brand’s symbolism and the consumer’s self-image can make a brand more attractive to an audience segment.  Recommend a testable marketing strategy based on brand symbolism, and vice versa—identify the brand symbolism strategy behind an existing marketing campaign. Consider and argue for (or against) the idea that it is ethical to do marketing based on brand symbolism.

Using the theory of behaviorism, examine current behavior and ways to encourage people to start, continue, and stop a behavior.  Define different  behaviorist schedules for encouraging a behavior and the strengths and weaknesses of each type of schedule. Explore examples of marketing strategy based on behaviorism to uncover the behaviorist strategy underlying an existing brand loyalty program, and create a behaviorism-based strategy for a new loyalty program, or an improvement to an existing loyalty program.  Consider and argue both sides of the debate on the ethical risks of behaviorism in marketing.

Learn about cognitive science as a conceptual model for certain marketing problems via the concepts of memory storage, memory retrieval, effortful recall, and information integration theory. Devise a marketing strategy to solve a brand problem or capitalize on a brand opportunity using cognitive science as a conceptual model. Design a testing plan to evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing strategy.

Examine marketing successes and failures using network mathematics. Define the key concepts of network math: hubs, nodes, scale-free networks, and patterns in network growth.  Recommend a marketing strategy based on network math and a plan to test its effectiveness.

Analyze a business situation to identify the kind of consumer insight needed to solve its problems.  Create a conceptual model for analyzing a business problem using one or more of the theories presented in the course.  Apply the conceptual model you have created to make marketing recommendations and design a testing plan.

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Career outlook

Join the thriving marketing research field

22 %

There is a rising demand for professionals equipped with the skills to help enterprises optimize their marketing actions through data-driven customer understanding. The employment rate of market research analysts is expected to grow 22 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Potential job titles for Consumer Behavior and Marketing professionals

  • Chief Marketing Officer
  • Consumer Insights Manager
  • Consumer Insights Specialist
  • Consumer Researcher
  • Customer Data Specialist
  • Customer Insights Analyst
  • Customer Service Specialist
  • Director of Consumer Insights
  • Insights Analyst
  • Marketing Director
  • Marketing Research Analyst
  • Strategic Planner

Offered by The University of Chicago's Professional Education

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