Consumer Behavior and Marketing Strategy

Change the way you interpret consumer data.

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At a Glance

Open Enrollment
8 weeks
Total CEUs:
4.2 CEUs

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Create a marketing strategy for a brand based on consumer insights.

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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

Over eight weeks, you will learn and practice applying 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

Learn to combine two factors to plan marketing actions, or to show proof that your marketing plan will work: marketing analytics, and social sciences. Explore the stages of the scientific method to make predictions, and use the social sciences as frameworks for thinking. Use marketing analytics to enable data-driven decision making, and a theory-driven or hypothesis-driven approach to provide more consumer insight, greater understanding, and more successful planning.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Create a conceptual model for analyzing a business problem using one or more social sciences as a conceptual framework to address a marketing analytics situation. Design your own scientific method, using ideas you find most persuasive from Popper, Kuhn, Lakatos, and Feyerabend.

Meet your instructor

George Davidson

George Davidson, MBA

Market Research and Consumer Insights Specialist and Founder of The...

George Davidson has over twenty-five years of marketing experience working for the world’s biggest brands, including InterContinental Hotels Group, McDonald’s, and Netflix. He has also worked for food and hospitality brands like Costa Coffee, Greene King (Britain’s largest pub company), and McDonald...

Learn more about George

Career outlook

Data and the people that can make sense of it are strategic assets to any organization. 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.

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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