As any parent knows, sending a child off to college is fraught with worry. Today parents are more likely to worry about a student's job prospects after graduation than whether the new college student will get along with roommates or do laundry.
One beacon of hope for new graduates is the email marketing industry. According to Forrester Research, the industry is expected to grow to $2 billion by the year 2014, the year the newest crop of college freshmen graduate.
I am an accountant and often wonder how I ended up launching an email service provider. I have an entrepreneurial streak, and could have opened my own CPA practice. Instead I am busy counseling companies about ways to make their email marketing more effective.
This got me thinking: What kind of undergraduate degree would produce a great email marketer? While a degree in marketing is a logical choice, I think there are other degrees that would lend themselves to the job. Some suggestions include:
Sociology. A grad with an undergraduate degree in sociology has studied what makes groups of people tick. Social researchers are familiar with research methods that fuse direct observation and statistical analysis, methods that marketers rely on for market research. Their knowledge would provide insights to better target messages to audiences.
Psychology. A psychologist has studied mental processes and behaviors, and will understand the role of perception, emotion and motivation of individuals. Grads will be familiar with using behavior observation, which would give email marketers a clearer vision about how messaging, design and frequency will motivate subscribers. They also can bring insight into what will entice a subscriber to forward emails and follow links.
Mathematics. Grads with an undergraduate degree in mathematics will be familiar with statistics and how to collect and interpret data, including surveys. They are also trained to look for patterns in data, which is essential to understand and improve email metrics.
Anthropology. An anthropologist studies humans and culture, including economics, politics, consumption, technology, symbols and language. An understanding of culture will help email marketers anticipate customer needs, and also provide unique insights about why one email may have been more effective than another. Journalism. Journalists are trained to investigate and report news, issues and events. By nature, journalist are curious. They are trained to pay attention to details and to ask the right questions. A journalist would provide well-thought-out content for email messages and the ability to see how these messages are perceived by various audiences.
Information technology. A grad who studied information technology understands how to design, test and support software. An information technologist deals in the world of data, an important component of email marketing programs. As email marketing becomes more data-driven, with segmentation, testing and metrics, this knowledge will be handy.
What's your background?