The Foundations of the MS Marketing Program: Consumer Psychology & Strategy

In marketing, the success of any organization hinges on its ability to understand and navigate the complex world of consumer behavior. Lindner College of Business at the University of Cincinnati offers an online Master of Science in Marketing program that allows you to design your own experience and equips you with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in the field of marketing. This article delves into the program’s distinctive features, focusing on Consumer Psychology & Strategy, one of the four key areas central to its curriculum.

Consumer Psychology & Strategy in Marketing

Consumer Psych is the bedrock of successful marketing strategy. Understanding what’s happening in the market (descriptive) and deciphering why it’s happening (diagnostic) is crucial for making informed decisions that drive results. Lindner College of Business’ Master of Science in Marketing online program at the University of Cincinnati places a strong emphasis on these facets of marketing to ensure that students are well-equipped to excel in the ever-evolving world of business. Industry topics covered in this program include:

Understanding Buyer Emotions and Values

One of the key aspects covered in the program is the understanding of buyer emotions and values. In today’s marketing landscape, consumers are not just making rational decisions based on features and benefits; emotions and values play a significant role. This program equips you with the tools to tap into these emotional connections and align your marketing strategies accordingly.

Buyer Decision-Making Processes

To be an effective marketer, you need to grasp the intricacies of buyer decision-making processes. The program provides you with insights into how consumers make choices, enabling you to influence these decisions through strategic marketing efforts.

Journey and Experience Models

Understanding the customer journey and optimizing the customer experience is essential for success in marketing. The program delves into various journey and experience models, helping you create seamless and engaging interactions with your target audience.

Archetypes and Personas

Building on the foundation of buyer understanding, the program explores archetypes and personas. These tools allow you to create marketing campaigns that resonate with specific customer segments, improving your targeting and conversion rates.

Brand Positioning and Messaging

Effective brand positioning and messaging are vital in a crowded marketplace. This program teaches you how to craft compelling brand messages and position your products or services in a way that stands out and appeals to your audience.

Outcome-Driven Innovation

Innovation is the lifeblood of marketing, and it goes hand in hand with strategy. Professor Drew Boyd, an expert in innovation and strategy, brings his invaluable insights to the program. You’ll learn how to drive innovation with clear objectives and measure outcomes to ensure success.

Inclusive and Intercultural Engagement

In today’s globalized world, marketers must be attuned to diverse cultures and inclusive practices. The program emphasizes the importance of inclusive and intercultural engagement to help you navigate international markets effectively.

Ethics in Marketing

Ethical considerations are paramount in marketing. The program instills a strong ethical foundation, ensuring that you approach marketing challenges with integrity and responsibility.

Cultivating Essential Consumer Psych & Strategy Skills

Embarking on the Strategy and Analysis focus of the Master of Science in Marketing program at the University of Cincinnati Online is a journey that hones a set of critical skills. These skills go beyond theoretical concepts, providing students with practical tools to navigate the dynamic world of marketing. Key skills cultivated in this focus include:


Ethnographic Research: Unveiling Cultural Nuances

Ethnographic Research is the art of immersing oneself in the cultural context. Students learn to decode the subtle nuances of consumer behavior, preferences, and trends by observing and engaging with diverse communities. This skill is foundational for understanding the cultural fabric that influences buying decisions.


Interviewing + Value-based Insights: Unearthing Perspectives

Mastering the art of interviewing is crucial in extracting value-based insights. Students develop skills in conducting meaningful interviews to understand not just what consumers do, but why they do it. This approach unravels deeper layers of consumer motivations and values, providing a rich foundation for strategic decision-making.


Experience and Journey Mapping: Navigating Consumer Touchpoints

Experience and Journey Mapping involves visualizing the consumer’s interactions with a brand. Students become adept at mapping the entire customer journey, identifying touchpoints, and understanding the emotional highs and lows. This skill is instrumental in crafting seamless and engaging customer experiences.

Innovation Tools + Techniques: Navigating the Cutting Edge

Innovation is the heartbeat of progress. Students acquire hands-on experience with cutting-edge innovation tools and techniques. From ideation to implementation, they learn to navigate the landscape of innovation, fostering a mindset that thrives on solving complex problems and staying ahead of industry trends.


Observational Research Techniques: Beyond Words and Numbers

Sometimes, what isn’t said or quantified holds immense value. Observational Research Techniques empower students to go beyond words and numbers, observing and interpreting non-verbal cues. This skill enhances their ability to uncover hidden insights that may be pivotal in shaping marketing strategies.

These skills form the toolkit that transforms students into strategic thinkers and analysts. The Strategy and Analysis focus at the University of Cincinnati Online ensures that graduates not only understand the ‘what’ but also the ‘why’ behind consumer behaviors, propelling them to become effective decision-makers in the ever-evolving field of marketing.

Meet the Experts

Dr. Noah Van Bergen

Dr. Noah Van Bergen is an Associate Professor of Marketing at the University of Cincinnati Lindner College of Business. He received his Ph.D. in Marketing from the University of Miami in 2017. His research interests lie in the area of consumer psychology, with a particular focus on how consumers make decisions and how they are influenced by marketing messages.

Dr. Van Bergen’s research has been published in top academic journals such as the Journal of Consumer Research, the Journal of Marketing Research, and the Journal of Retailing. He has also presented his work at numerous academic conferences, including the American Marketing Association Winter Educators’ Conference and the Society for Consumer Psychology Conference.

In addition to his research, Dr. Van Bergen is also a dedicated professor. He teaches a variety of courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels, including Consumer/Buyer Behavior, Marketing Research, and Marketing Strategy. He is known for his engaging teaching style and his ability to connect with students.

Dr. Van Bergen is a highly respected scholar and teacher. He is a recipient of the Lindner College of Business Outstanding Teaching Award and the University of Cincinnati Excellence in Teaching Award. He is also a member of the American Marketing Association and the Society for Consumer Psychology.

Dr. James Kellaris

Dr. James Kellaris is a world-renowned expert in the field of consumer psych. He holds the James S. Womack / Gemini Corporation Professorship at the University of Cincinnati Carl H. Lindner College of Business and is best known for his research and teaching on the impact of visual cues on consumer behavior.

Dr. Kellaris’ research focuses on various aspects of visual marketing, including:

  • The effectiveness of different types of signage
  • The impact of color, design, and layout on consumer behavior
  • The use of visual elements in marketing communications
  • The role of visual marketing in the digital age

His research has been published in top academic journals such as the Journal of Retailing, the Journal of Business Research, and the International Journal of Research in Marketing. He is also a frequent speaker at conferences and workshops on visual marketing and has consulted with a wide range of businesses on how to improve their visual marketing strategies.

Dr. Kellaris is a dedicated educator and teaches a variety of courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels, including Marketing Ethics, Buyer Behavior, and Retailing. He is known for his engaging teaching style and his passion for helping students understand the power of visual communication.

Course Spotlights

MKTG 7015: Buyer Behavior

Buyer Behavior is a graduate-level course explores the factors that influence consumer decision-making. Students will learn about consumer motivation, personality, perception, information processing, learning, memory, attitude formation, social influence, decision-making, consumer culture and identity, and marketing ethics. Dr. Noah Van Bergen teaches the course and uses lectures, class discussions, case studies, and guest speakers to engage students and help them learn the material. Students are assessed through class participation, case studies, exams, and a final project. The course is beneficial for graduate students who are interested in pursuing a career in marketing.

MKTG7028: Marketing Ethics

This course examines the ethical challenges faced by marketers. Students will learn about various ethical principles and frameworks, apply these principles to real-world situations, and analyze ethical issues in areas like consumer protection, advertising, pricing, product safety, and marketing to vulnerable populations. Dr. James Kellaris teaches the course and uses lectures, class discussions, case studies, guest speakers, and assignments to engage students. The course benefits graduate students who want to be ethical and responsible marketers and enhance their career prospects.

Career Opportunities

Upon completing the Master of Science in Marketing program and focusing on Consumer Psychology & Strategy, you’ll be well-prepared for a variety of exciting and lucrative career opportunities. Here are just a few of the roles that await you:


Market Research Analyst: Use your analytical skills to gather and interpret data, providing valuable insights to guide marketing decisions.

Design Research Operations: Investigate user needs and preferences to inform design decisions and improve products and services.

Consumer & Market Intelligence Associate: Collect and analyze market data to provide actionable intelligence for marketing teams.


User Experience Designer: Craft intuitive and user-friendly digital experiences that keep customers coming back.

Consumer Insights Consultant: Offer expert advice on consumer behavior and market trends to help companies make informed choices.


Consumer Insights Specialist: Dive deep into consumer data to uncover valuable insights and inform marketing strategies.


Experience Designer: Create memorable and engaging experiences for customers, driving brand loyalty and satisfaction.

Demand Generation Manager: Lead efforts to generate demand for products and services through strategic marketing campaigns.

Lindner College of Business’ Master of Science in Marketing online program at the University of Cincinnati, with its focus on Strategy and Analysis, equips you with the skills and knowledge you need to excel in these diverse and rewarding career paths. The program encompasses three other essential focuses: Planning and Design, Build & Execution, and Analytics. Each contributes to a comprehensive understanding of marketing, molding you into a strategic and versatile professional in the field.

UC Online’s program is flexible to fit into your life and there are opportunities for you to design your experience in the program in multiple way including by earning a Graduate Certificate in Digital Marketing alongside your master’s degree. You can specialize in this rapidly evolving field and open doors to even more exciting career opportunities. The program’s focus on industry-relevant skills and ethical considerations ensures that you’ll not only excel in your marketing career but also make a positive impact on the world.

If you’re ready to unlock your marketing potential, apply now for the Master of Science in Marketing program. It’s your first step towards a rewarding and fulfilling career in the world of marketing strategy and analysis.

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