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Katie Fitzgerald at the Spears School of Business.

Stress and caffeine; welcome to Katie’s finals week

Friday, May 5, 2023

The semester is closing in on us and I am running purely on stress and caffeine, so I’ll share my final update on the marketing analytics class I have taken this semester. I am so grateful for the Honors College, the Spears School of Business, and professor Jerry Rackley for allowing me to take on this extension and dive deeper into a segment of my major that I had never before considered.

This project has challenged me to write creatively about a technical subject that I wasn’t previously familiar with, and it has shown me how interesting analytics and data can be. I’ve enjoyed learning the programs and translating complicated data sets into an informative presentation to assist with driving company sales. I have seen what a true difference leveraging data can make for company expansion.

Recently, we took an online course to learn how to manage large data sets using structured query language (SQL). These past few weeks, we have also been diving deeper into how to use data to measure brand sentiment and awareness, customer churn rates, market metrics and discussed the ethics surrounding data collection and privacy. This last lecture was particularly interesting because I had never considered how much personal data exists out there and how little control we have over it.

We willingly hand over personal information everyday including names, addresses, gender, age, race/ethnicity, education, income level and daily habits. Various internet technologies track and collect IP addresses, devices used, ads that we engage with, facial recognition, voice data, banking information and more. We talked about how on one hand data collection can improve products and services, personalize user experiences and forecast trends. However, if the data gets into the wrong hands or is used inappropriately the risks are high.

We discussed measures that could be taken to help protect this data. For instance, in the European Union, there is a General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that allows users to have full ownership of their personal data. It regulates what type of data that companies can and cannot collect and provides users with the right to be anonymous. In the U.S., however, there is currently no comprehensive, national data privacy regulation and we do not have direct ownership of our own data.

In my previous post, I detailed some examples of companies that are using data and analytics to improve customers’ experiences and better reach their target audience. While analytics is an extremely effective marketing tool, it’s important for marketers to be aware of how easily they can violate personal privacy through how they use data.

Thank you to everyone who has followed along with me through this class! I was apprehensive at the beginning, but it quickly turned into one of my favorite classes. I am excited to see how companies continue to explore data and analytics and to see the impacts as technology continues to advance.

Story By: Katie Fitzgerald |

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