Nichols Launches New Business Concentrations in Marketing Analytics, Digital and Social Media Marketing


DUDLEY, Mass.—Nichols College has launched for fall 2019 two new marketing concentrations, “digital and social media marketing”and “marketing analytics,” to meet the increasing demand for marketing professionals with these skills.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that employment of marketing managers, sales agents, and advertising and promotion managers is expected to grow about 10 percent through 2026. This is faster than the average for all occupations. In addition, the employment outlook for market research analysts is projected to grow by 23 percent, which is much higher than the average for all other occupations.

“The expanded demand is partially driven by the ability and need for even small businesses to develop and publish marketing materials via low-cost social media channels,” said Nichols College Professor and Academic Dean Mauri Pelto, Ph.D., vice president for academic affairs. “Nichols College marketing graduates have benefited from the expansion of specializations within the field, and their workplace experience has helped shape the new concentrations.”

With internet-based advertising and promotion being considered a strategically essential component for business, advertising managers who can navigate the digital world should have the best prospects. Likewise, the increase in the collection and analyses of “big data”—extremely large sets of information, such as social media comments or online product reviews—can provide insight on consumer behaviors and preferences. Businesses will need market research analysts to conduct analyses of this data.

Nichols College Associate Professor and Marketing Program Chair Len Harmon

Associate Professor and Marketing Program Chair Len Harmon led the design of the new concentrations. The consulting projects his students complete each semester for local businesses illustrate the need and demand for the marketing skill sets. Examples of projects include:

  • During spring 2018, Nichols students conducted competitive and market analysis and developed tactical marketing recommendations for SJC Custom Drums in Southbridge, Sturbridge Coffee Roasters of Southbridge and Dudley, and Alternatives for Health Herbal Apothecary in Sturbridge.
  • A family-owned organic farm in Connecticut requested Nichols students’ help with developing a marketing plan to ensure ongoing, year-round contact with its customers. The students helped the farm implement a social media campaign involving Snapchat filters to drive customers to its events; the project resulted in the farm engaging more corporate customers. The farm is in the process of hiring a Nichols student to support its marketing efforts.
  • Students are developing a marketing plan for Frisbie’s Dairy Barn in New Britain, Conn. Two graduating seniors will reopen and manage the store, and they’ve hired a Nichols hospitality management graduate to take it over at the end of this summer.
  • Other marketing plans are being developed by Nichols students for upscale dog grooming and boarding facility Paw Plaza of Sturbridge, and brew-your-own-beer facility in Natick, Kells Brewing Co.

Alumni, like Megan Fields ’17, praise the Nichols marketing program.

“The Nichols College marketing program shaped the direction of my career far more than I could have ever imagined,” said Fields, who is a strategic planner at Boston-based Plan-it Marketing Intelligence Inc. “Through the program, I was exposed to many incredible opportunities: meeting successful industry figures, learning from professors with extensive industry experience, and being introduced to my current position and employer.”

The new concentrations offer focused opportunities for students who have a specific passion for the front end of marketing, using digital and social media promotion to communicate with customers; or the back end, evaluating the data needed to make strategic decisions that lead to effective product development, pricing strategies, promotional campaigns, and distribution.

“They are complementary disciplines, and our marketing program now captures the full spectrum of marketing capabilities,” said Professor Harmon. “We’re closing the loop on the marketing process—from research and analysis, to planning, execution and evaluation of marketing campaigns.”

With the addition of these two strategically important concentrations, Nichols College now offers:

  • Marketing for students interested in marketing management, sales, marketing communications and product management;
  • Digital and Social Media Marketing for students interested in the specialized areas of internet-based promotion;
  • Marketing Analytics for students interested in gathering, evaluating and predicting patterns in customer behavior.

“I could not have been better prepared to enter the workforce and make my start in the industry without the valuable knowledge and support of the program and its faculty—professors Len Harmon, Megan Nocivelli, and Jean Beaupré,” Fields said.


Nichols has also introduced for fall 2019 a new bachelor’s degree in business administration concentration in corporate finance and investments. Students in this four-year program will gain a deep understanding of corporate finance, investments, and portfolio analysis skills throughout the curriculum. Courses in the program include investments and security analysis; portfolio analysis and management; international finance; and real estate and investments, among others. Using professional Bloomberg software, students have access to real-time market information to build, analyze, and manage investment portfolios. Bloomberg is a global information and technology company that delivers business and financial news, data, and powerful analytics; it has been a market leader since the 1980s.

Lorraine U. Martinelle is director of public relations and social media at Nichols College in Dudley, Mass. Send story ideas to


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