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March 10, 2008

Analyze This: New Marketing Analytics Major Offered

Marketing analytics, the new marketing emphasis offered by the Department of Management and Marketing, focuses on the use of marketing databases and leading edge software to track and understand customer product preferences, launch new products quickly, and market products competitively. It is designed to meet the growing need for analytical decision-making in manufacturing, wholesaling, retailing, and integrated marketing communications. The new program will be launched fall 2008.

The need for marketing analytics, or category management as it is also known, has grown as the number of product variations or stock keeping units (SKUs) has increased.

Once a Coke was just a Coke. Walk down a grocery store aisle today, and you’ll find that the popular soft drink comes in many different flavors, package sizes, and calorie configurations. Each SKU is assigned a number and tracked by manufacturers and retailers to determine success in the marketplace.

“Depending on store size and format, a grocery store may carry 25,000 to 60,000 different SKUs”, according to Brian Audette, vice president of Independent Sales and Marketing for SUPERVALU. “Add to this mix the approximately 50,000 SKUs introduced by manufacturers each year and the fact that only 25 % of those products will still be around after three years,” he continued. “No wonder category managers are in demand.”

According to a January, 2006 article in Harvard Business Review, virtually all organizations identified as clear leaders in their field attributed much of their success to the masterful exploitation of data. Dr. Chuck Tomkovick agrees. “This kind of analysis is the next evolution of marketing. It’s value-added, technology-based marketing analysis…which will lead to more win-win scenarios for buyers and sellers.”

UW-Eau Claire will be one of the few universities around the country offering a program in marketing analytics. The new program was championed by UW-Eau Claire Marketing Advisory Council executives from Hormel Foods, Leinenkugel Brewing Company, Mason Companies, AC Nielsen Company, and SUPERVALU.

“The marketing analytics emphasis has been received with open arms by companies interested in our students,” said Dr. Joseph Bonner, assistant professor of marketing. Adding, “We’re all in this together—faculty, students, and companies.”

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