Does Marketing Require Math? Cracking The Marketing Code

Does Marketing Require Math? Cracking The Marketing Code

Before I chose to major in marketing, the first question I asked was “does marketing require math?”.

That’s because I hated math so much that I was ready to drop that major choice. Seriously! 

It seemed like the more people I asked, the more confused I became. Some marketing majors told me that they suck at math and that they’re doing absolutely fine. Others were very clear about how important numbers were in what they do…

does marketing require math
Do you need math for marketing?

Now, I know that you’re waiting to hear me say “you don’t need math to do marketing”. Unfortunately, that’s not quite the answer…

Do You Need Math for Marketing?

Marketing is a field that requires creativity, but it also requires math. 

Professionals in this field must be able to analyze statistics and data to develop strategies tailored to their specific audience.

Marketing requires math in some areas. Google Analytics, for example, is a tool that measures digital marketing performance based on data and numbers.

As a matter of fact, in the era of digital marketing, the correlation between marketing and math-based sciences has become inevident. Let’s take big data for instance. A study in the University Brunei Darussalam named “Customer Relationship Management and Big Data Enabled: Personalization & Customization of Services” found that marketing ranks first in the field that is using big data with a percentage of 14.9%, followed by information technology, then research and development as you can see in the chart below. 

big data in marketing

Furthermore, marketers have to do reporting, which is based on math. The list includes statistics, geometry, finance, and even calculus. All three of these have practical applications: understanding the customer, delivering value, and measuring return on investment (ROI).

The need to use numbers extends to advertising as well, it actually starts before launching an ad: You have to determine your target audience, where they are, how old are they, and what's their gender, .... All of these answers will translate into numbers to make the process easier. And so will be the results:

  • Click through rate
  • number of impressions
  • site traffic
  • bounce rate
  • CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions)
  • CPC (cost per click)
  • CPA (cost per acquisition)

Even careers like content writing are now requiring math skills since you won't find a single company or client hiring a content writer without SEO skills, which include a good chunk of numbers and statistics, and A LOT of reporting and analysis.


What Kind of Math Does Marketing Require?

Marketing is understanding the customer and providing them with the products they need.

  • Statistics help marketers understand their target market. It also helps them understand how well their marketing campaign is doing.
  • Economics helps marketers understand the market for their product, which can be helpful when determining prices and production levels.
  • Market tracking helps us keep an eye on our brand loyalty and customer satisfaction
  • Modeling allows us to identify the best marketing communication channels to use to reach and market to the target market.

That’s why almost all marketing majors around the world take subjects like:

  • Calculus
  • general mathematics
  • College algebra
  • Probability and statistics

Before even specializing in marketing, BBA students -like myself, will have to take courses like finance, microeconomics, macroeconomics, and even accounting. 

However, the level of math you’re required to have isn’t as high as you may think. The core goal of taking all of the courses above is to equip you with one important skill: critical thinking.

Marketing is a psychological process as well as a mathematical one. Nowadays, being an analytical thinker is essential for marketing success.

Marketing Jobs That Require Math

Certain marketing professions require a lot of math. For example, marketing managers need to calculate the return on investment and marketing costs. They also need to understand statistics to measure success.

Marketing jobs that require math skills include:

  • Marketing Manager
  • Media Planner
  • Marketing Analyst
  • Market Research Analyst

Specific fields such as data science, analytics, strategy, and market research will have a lot more math than let's say creative or user experience roles.

The truth is... we use math daily. We need math for everything from determining how much content a site needs to optimizing an image for the appropriate size. 

What If I'm Terrible at Math but Want to Be a Marketer?

Glad you asked!

In all honesty, you don’t need to be an expert at Calculus to work in marketing. The only skills you need are critical thinking and creativity.

The ordinary marketer is not required to know a lot of math to be successful; to be able to brainstorm, analyze and resolve problems. 

Let’s have a look at this report from Google Analytics for example:

google analytics report

You don’t need much effort to understand that the website has had 16,000 users in the last 7 days, which is a 9.7% drop compared to the previous user count. 

You don’t need Einstein's level of mathematics to understand this comparison either:

google analytics comparaison report

What if you don't have a background in math AT ALL?

There are many ways for marketers without a background in math to learn the skills they need for their job. One of the most popular is online courses. There are also books and YouTube tutorials available to help you get started.

Mathematics can be fun and interesting. There are many ways for marketers to enjoy their math homework, so they shouldn't worry about it too much.

What I Wish I Knew Before Becoming a Marketer

Marketing is a field that requires math. But that doesn’t have to be bad news! 

I know you came here hoping to find the answer you've been convincing yourself with, and so was I when I used to ask your question. I wanted people to tell me that marketing has no math in it. I wanted to hear that answer so much that I would filter out answers saying "Yes". Then, when I started practicing this art and worked with companies, agencies, and clients, I realized the importance of numbers in the world of needs and wants. 

At first, I was shocked. 

  • How would I be able to prepare a report?! 
  • How am I going to analyze this SEO keyword plan?!
  • What are these metrics? KS, DA, PA, ....?
But the moment I realized this is not complicated, it became easier than that tedious macroeconomics homework I had to do! 

As we saw together, the math that you’ll need isn’t that extensive, and it’s not actually difficult.

I have a question for you: do you need math in your marketing job? Let me know in a comment.

Yasmine Jedidi

If I'm not writing, I'm drinking tea! Apart from being an introverted tea lover, I am also an SEO content writer✍️, a freelancer, and a BBA student. It is my humble intention to use this blog to share my knowledge and experience in the field of marketing and SEO. Ever since I started The Marketing Recipe, it has turned into my secret addiction. Without skipping a beat, I continually think of ways to enhance your knowledge and benefit you. Your feedback on our content is greatly appreciated, so don't be shy, drop a comment and I'll make sure to answer you.

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