It should come as no surprise that the fields of psychology and marketing pair well together. In fact, the best marketing campaigns are rooted in behavioural science.
If you can understand why people do what they do, then you can predict their behaviour and this allows you to communicate better with them, anticipate their needs and design products that are going to provide value.
While you’d assume psychology features heavily in all marketing degrees, that’s not always the case: it’s often just touched upon. Deakin University’s Bachelor of Marketing (Psychology) is unique in offering students a full major in both marketing and psychology packaged within a single, three-year degree.
Why is psychology integral to marketing?
Dr Virginia Weber, course director for the Bachelor of Marketing (Psychology) in the Deakin Business School, says understanding psychology is fundamental for consumer-focused marketing careers. ‘Understanding who your target market is, what they're looking for, how to communicate to them, and how to reach them where they are, is actually quite fundamental to being successful in marketing,’ she says.
While there is a natural synthesis between marketing and psychology it’s something that is very seldom exploited directly. ‘In a typical marketing degree, with no psychology embedded, you will find psychology discussed in terms of segmenting and targeting – so just a basic understanding of how to classify consumers,’ Dr Weber says. ‘You will have a single class or unit on consumer behaviour, which actually specifically draws from the principles of psychology, to understand consumers and anticipate what they're going to do.’
In contrast, Deakin’s Bachelor of Marketing (Psychology) covers all principles of psychology – social psychology, cognitive psychology, personality psychology, and understanding consumers in a lot more depth than you would otherwise get in a typical marketing degree.
A degree that keeps your career opportunities open
This course typically appeals to people who are very interested in the psychology side but also interested in a more creative applied application of it.
‘Some students might think they want to go into psychology for counselling purposes, for instance, and then get partway through that degree and realise it’s not for them,’ Dr Weber says. ‘This course allows them to keep the marketing door open and have another application for their skills as well. We really focus on providing our students with as many opportunities for future advancement as possible with this degree.’
This was an aspect of the course that appealed to current student Yuki Maeda. ‘I was interested in both marketing and psychology,’ Maeda says. ‘Before I started this degree, I was studying a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in marketing but I realised that I really want to learn more about consumer behaviours.’
Yuki’s favourite thing about this course is that there are two pathways. ‘I can become a marketer but it's also possible to have a career as a psychologist,’ he says. ‘I’m not sure what my future pathway will be but I have the two pathways available.’
Garrett McNamara was initially studying psychology before transferring to the Bachelor of Marketing (Psychology). ‘I chose this course because it was exactly what I needed when I needed it,’ Garrett says. With an already flourishing marketing career specialising in boutique content creation, Garrett was looking for a way to combine two passions. ‘I love psychology and I am passionate about it but I had all these media and marketing opportunities coming up and my degree didn’t really match where I was working. This course also gives me qualifications in both areas, so one day if I want to revisit psychology, I’ll still have those qualifications to work in that field.’
Despite already achieving great success online with over 130,000 Instagram followers, Garrett understands the importance of meeting the consumer where they are. ‘You’ve got to understand who your audience is, how they think, how they feel and what inspires them to do or buy certain things,’ Garrett says. ‘And while I think it’s easy enough to be able to identify these characteristics, you’ve really got to understand the science behind behaviour and decision making, and that’s where psychology plays a very important role.’
Carving out a future-proof career in marketing
So what type of careers does the Bachelor of Marketing (Psychology) equip you for? With the field of marketing shifting rapidly due to marketing technology, social media and the quickly changing digital landscape, there are a number of roles on offer that didn't exist 10 years ago.
‘We're designing how to engage customers at every single touchpoint along their product experience or through the digital landscape,’ Dr Weber says. ‘And designing these touchpoints and how to engage consumers is very much something that psychology can help you with. These customer focused roles in customer journey, customer engagement, customer experience – that's one branch that can flow from this degree.’
Another branch is working with customer insights and analytics as a data translator or insight translator. ‘We provide some analytics units as part of this degree and the anticipation is that some graduates are going to end up in roles where they aren't necessarily doing the hands-on analysis themselves but have enough statistical understanding to take that data and translate it into unique and actionable insights,’ Dr Weber says.
Navigating an ever-evolving marketing landscape
Where marketing once involved a single channel of communication – with just advertising – we're now at the omni-channel perspective.
‘You're communicating to customers through your digital ads, emails, your in-person sales force and in the store retail environment,’ Dr Weber says. ‘There's multiple different channels for connecting with and engaging your customer. This degree should help navigate that incredibly complex landscape that we're seeing develop, because it gives you a 360-degree view of who the customer is and what they're looking for.’
Interested in learning more about the future of marketing? Learn more about the Bachelor of Marketing (Psychology).