West Virginia University’s Reed College of Media offers two graduate programs that are great options for professional communicators who want to thrive in the dynamic marketing communications landscape: Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) and Data Marketing Communications (DMC). Both graduate degrees are first-of-their-kind programs where you can learn cutting-edge skills from leading experts at an R1-status institution.
But what if you’re a marketing communications professional who sees the value in obtaining an advanced understanding of both integrated marketing and data-driven marketing? Believe it or not, WVU has experienced several students who pursued the master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications, only to later enroll and complete the Data Marketing Communications master’s degree. We’re here to discuss several ways in which these two separate yet similar advanced marketing communications degrees complement each other.
What is Integrated Marketing Communications?
As a discipline, Integrated Marketing Communications is a strategic and promotional business function through which a targeted audience sense and experience consistent and persuasive brand messaging.
Marketing professionals often struggle to connect and unify their communications across channels, and with so many media formats available today, marketers cannot afford to execute multi-channel communications that are inconsistent. Integrated Marketing Communications seeks to remedy a disjointed approach to marketing by integrating all facets of marketing communications, from direct marketing to social media, from content strategy to advertising, and much more.
What is Data Marketing Communications?
The discipline of Data Marketing Communications (DMC) is often mistaken for the field of data science or statistics. But in fact, Data Marketing Communications is an emerging discipline that takes data and applies strategic analysis to provide marketing communications professionals with key insights to develop and improve marketing communications activities.
Further, 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.
How does the DMC degree complement the IMC degree?
Integrated Marketing Communications gives students the knowledge they need to integrate every aspect of marketing to create consistent, reinforced brand messaging to targeted audiences. On the other hand, Data Marketing Communications gives students the knowledge to take the data from these integrated marketing campaigns and use that data to increase productivity and ROI.
Let’s further explore three real ways that the Data Marketing Communications graduate degree complements what students are taught in the Integrated Marketing Communications master’s degree.
1. DMC complements IMC by teaching marketing professionals to segment their audiences further.
In today’s overcrowded and information-saturated market, marketing professionals face a very real challenge. Marketing communications professionals struggle to unify their marketing campaigns across channels and to maintain consistent messaging to a variety of segmented audiences. The IMC curriculum provides a solution to disjointed marketing campaigns by teaching students to unify all pieces of marketing communications in order to connect the consumer to the brand.
The DMC curriculum teaches marketing communications professionals to use the data that comes out of these integrated marketing campaigns to make data-driven determinations to further segment audiences and create more personalized messaging. Personalized messaging is a strategic way for an organization to achieve its goals by effectively targeting receptive clients despite existing in an overcrowded market.
One DMC course that focuses on segmentation and customization:
- DMC 662: Message Customization — This course offers an exploration of how data can allow marketing communicators to customize messages to target audiences as small as a single consumer. Students will examine how different messaging strategies impact different advertising and marketing goals and which data can have the greatest influence on potential messaging strategies.
2. By studying DMC, IMC professionals learn more about programmatic buying and automation technology.
While Integrated Marketing Communications teaches students the importance of creating unified marketing campaigns that contain consistent messaging that is aligned with brand goals, Data Marketing Communications introduces students to programmatic media buying and examines how the marriage of automation and data has reshaped the media industry.
Further, DMC sheds light on how technology can be used within integrated marketing campaigns to increase targeting accuracy and efficiency. These skills enable marketing communications professionals to understand the business of programmatic buying and how to predict the sources of investment and future organizational growth as a way of increasing ROI.
One DMC course that covers media buying and technology:
- DMC 672: Campaign Planning & Programmatic Media Buying — Introduces students to programmatic media buying and how the marriage of automation and data has reshaped the media industry. Students learn the different parties involved in programmatic buying and how the technology can be used within campaigns to increase targeting accuracy, efficiency, and scale.
3. DMC helps IMC professionals master the art of data visualization.
As an IMC student, you’ll learn to implement integrated marketing campaigns across a myriad of media formats. DMC takes these skills and teaches marketing communications professionals to communicate survey data and other metrics using data visualization.
Having the skills to demonstrate data findings to clients effectively is an incredibly valuable skill to master in the marketing communications field, one that an advanced marketing communications program like Data Marketing Communications focuses on specifically.
One DMC course that examines data visualization:
- DMC 663: Brand Data Collection and Visualization — Examines key issues in global branding and marketing by understanding the fundamentals in segmentation, positioning, and strategy. This course also addresses the importance of culture in consumer behavior and communication and discusses emerging issues in globalization.
WVU’s IMC and DMC graduate programs are designed with your success in mind.
Whether you’re a seasoned marketing professional with several years of agency work under your belt or whether you’re just starting out in your marketing career, the Integrated Marketing Communications and Data Marketing Communications graduate programs are designed to teach you the skills you need to get ahead of the competition and make yourself irreplaceable in the rapidly-evolving marketing field.
If you’re interested in accelerating your career in this high-powered field, we encourage you to contact us today.