Customer Analytics for Growth Using Machine Learning, AI, and Big Data

Program Overview

Artificial intelligence and machine learning could be rocket fuel for your business, adding tremendous value to the entire enterprise, but only if you know how to harness and leverage them. With AI and machine learning reshaping the business landscape for numerous industries, there is increasingly high demand to bring data to life, going beyond the raw numbers to link them to strategic business initiatives.

Customer Analytics for Growth Using Machine Learning, AI, and Big Data will sharpen your analytics mindset, enabling you to bridge any knowledge gap that may exist between your data science teams and the C-suite. Here you will learn how to convert model based recommendations into actionable insights and better managerial decisions.

Professor Raghuram Iyengar on Customer Analytics

Academic Director Raghuram Iyengar says Customer Analytics for Growth will help participants make sense of their customer data and strengthen their decision making.

Program Experience

Highlights and Key Outcomes

In Customer Analytics for Growth, you will:

  • Master how to frame managerial questions around big data and analytics
  • Select the right tools for predicting future customer behavior
  • Explore and understand the latest AI applications, including their pros and cons
  • Discover the companies that are using these new technologies most effectively
  • Gain insights into best practices for recruiting and managing data-science teams

Experience & Impact

Academic Director Raghuram Iyengar on the “3 Pillars of Analytics.”

Many companies are swimming in data, and they are spending millions to collect more. But even with new tools and algorithms to analyze and make predictions based on consumer data, it’s often still not being used effectively. Customer Analytics for Growth is for business leaders who want to cultivate an analytics-based mindset throughout their organization, and gain a deep understanding of emerging AI technologies that are rapidly changing businesses today.

In Customer Analytics for Growth, you will explore the upside — and the downside — of complex data models, and understand the importance of transparency in data collection and analysis.

The program examines customer analytics using three foundational pillars:

  • Descriptive Analytics examines the different types of customer data and how they can be visualized, ultimately helping you leverage your findings and strengthen your decision making.
  • Predictive Analytics explores the potential uses of the data once collected and interpreted. You’ll learn to utilize different modeling tools, such as regression analysis, be exposed to the latest machine learning algorithms, and estimate relationships among variables to predict future end-user behavior.
  • Prescriptive Analytics takes you through the final step: formulating concrete recommendations based on your data. These recommendations can be directed toward a variety of efforts, including pricing and social-platform outreach.

A distinctive highlight of Customer Analytics for Growth is engaging in discussions with expert practitioners from a range of industries who have experience with both business-to-consumer and business-to-business customer models. They will reveal their real-time challenges and best practices, sharing their experience with the three most common hurdles of analytics strategy — tools, talent, and metrics — discussing what tools to use when, how to build analytics teams, and what to track about your customers. Each session also includes a short, highly interactive case study that allows you to explore real-world applications.

Customer Analytics for Growth brings together a powerhouse team of Wharton faculty from operations, information, and decisions; legal studies and business ethics; marketing; and statistics. They guide you through the most current theories and best practices for designing and implementing a data-analysis strategy, while continuously linking the learning to your real-life challenges.

The exceptional multidisciplinary learning journey will also give you a front-row seat to the powerful research and thought leadership of Wharton Customer Analytics (WCA), the world’s preeminent academic research center focusing on the practice of data-driven business decision making. This offers an advantage you will not find anywhere else.

Academic Director Raghuram Iyengar on the live case study

Capstone Project: A Live Case Study

The Customer Analytics for Growth Capstone gives you the opportunity to apply what you've learned about how to make data-driven decisions to a real business challenge. Working in groups, you will leverage skills within your group to identify how to successfully use data to create cutting-edge, customer-focused marketing practices.

In these sessions, groups will use real-world data to apply customer analytics to marketing challenges, starting with data collection and data exploration, and continuing all the way to data-driven decisions. After completing your group project, you will be asked to reflect on how to identify scenarios from your own company or business, where there could be benefits from the innovative and effective data-driven practices learned during the week.

Session topics include:

  • The Future of Marketing Science: Big Data, New Data, Better Science
  • How AI and Machine Learning Are Changing Customer Analytics
  • How Blockchain Can Impact Customer Analytics
  • Data Science: A Team Sport (Building the Analytics Team)
  • Customer Value Analysis
  • Business Experiments
  • Predictive Analytics with Machine Learning
  • Pricing Analytics

Post-Program Webinar

Customer Analytics for Growth also includes a webinar conducted after the program ends to help participants integrate key learnings. Led by Professor Raghu Iyengar, the program’s academic director, this one-hour session allows participants to share the main achievements in implementing concepts and ideas from the course as well as the challenges participants faced implementing concepts. Bringing the cohort back together, this webinar reinforces the importance of peer support as well as faculty insights.

Who Should Attend

Senior-level managers in both B-to-C and B-to-B organizations who are responsible for influencing business decisions across marketing, finance, operations, and strategy will benefit from Customer Analytics for Growth. Specific job titles may include CMO, CTO, COO, CDO, and other digital officers. Additionally, executives who are responsible for interfacing with data science and the teams that collect data, those who are beginning to use available data to inform strategy and operating decisions, and those who are new to analytics will benefit from the program.

Participants are not required to have a strong math or technical background. Customer Analytics for Growth focuses on the managerial issues that intersect with analytics, including how best to convey insights from data to decision makers.

Industries that are currently exploiting business analytics include, but are not limited to, consumer packaged goods, financial services, health care/pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, media/communications technology, hardware/software technology, transportation, and logistics.

Group Enrollment

To further leverage the value and impact of this program, we encourage companies to send cross-functional teams of executives to Wharton. We offer group enrollment benefits to companies sending four or more participants.


What does customer analytics mean? What does customer analysis mean?

Customer analytics involves both understanding the customer journey and then recommending what firms should do based on those insights. There are three parts to customer analytics.

  • The first part is descriptive analytics — visualizing the customer journey using the data that a firm has.
  • The next part is predictive analytics — forecasting what customers will do in the future based on the marketing mix.
  • The last step is prescriptive analytics. This step offers actionable decisions that the firm can make based on understanding the customer journey.

Customer analysis can be broadly categorized under predictive analytics.

What is consumer behavior analysis?

Customer analytics typically involves a deep dive using data on transactions that a customer may have with a particular company. Consumer behavior analysis is a much broader term. For instance, one type of consumer behavioral analysis may focus on customer emotions before and after any purchase.

What are the stages a customer goes through when buying a product?

The typical framework for describing any purchase decision is the AIDA model – Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action. The stages a customer goes through when buying a product are very distinctive. The first one is when a customer becomes aware of your product – the awareness stage. This is where advertising can play a role. The next two steps involve consumer learning, wherein the consumer learns about the product and may form a positive disposition towards it. The final stage is making a decision about the purchase – after they’ve looked at all the different products, they decide to purchase one.

What are the factors that influence consumer behavior?

Managers have to consider many decisions that customers make in terms of whether or not to buy a product. There could, for example, be the social aspect – what are other people buying? Or it could be based on the marketing interventions that a firm carries out to make the customer aware of a product.

What are actionable insights? What is actionable intel?

One of the biggest things in customer analytics is understanding what decisions managers have to make — which is different from the results of a predictive analytics exercise. Any set of results becomes actionable — actionable analysis — when it has an impact on the decision a manager has to make. The phrase “actionable intel” is interchangeable with “actionable insights.”

What is insight in data analysis?

There are two big aspects that everyone thinks about in predictive or descriptive analytics. One is the actual analysis of the data itself, or data analysis. And the second is the more important step: how one can relate the results to actionable insights. Put differently, what can an individual do differently as a manager with the results? Thus, after analyzing the data, the critical step is generating insights and putting them into action.

What is descriptive data analysis?

Descriptive data analysis is one of the first steps in understanding the customer journey. It’s getting a sense of what the data is like and what it is telling you about customers. An example: one may perform a descriptive analysis of customer transactions in a firm’s database. This analysis might tell you what the most popular products are, which types of customers are buying them, and where they are buying them.

What are the outcomes of descriptive analytics?

Successful use of descriptive analytics starts with the decision. For example, if your decision involves targeting the most valuable customers, the descriptive analytics outcome should be in “describing” who your most valuable customers are, and the next step would be determining how to find them. In some sense, outcomes are not as important unless they relate to a business decision.

What is descriptive analytical method?

This is interchangeable with descriptive analytics — broadly speaking, the methods that would help you visualize data.

What is the difference between predictive and prescriptive analytics?

Predictive and prescriptive analytics are two major aspects of the analytics journey. Predictive analytics follows after descriptive analytics. After you have broadly understood what the customer data is suggesting, the next step is to try to forecast what customers will do in the future. This is the step where one builds a forecasting model. After completing the predictive analytics component, the next step — from the firm’s point of view — is what should they do? In other words, prescriptive analytics basically prescribes optimal actions that a firm should take once it understands what its customers will do in the future.

How is predictive analytics used in business?

Predictive analytics forms the core of what a business wants to do, which is to be able to forecast what customers are going to be doing in the future. Then the firm can start thinking about many issues, such as customer lifetime value and resource allocation. Thus, predictive analytics forms the backbone of making decisions that rely on understanding how a customer’s journey will proceed in the future and how the firm will be able to shape it, given its marketing resources.

What is the goal of prescriptive analytics?

The goal of prescriptive analytics, as the word implies, is basically to prescribe actions for firms. To give a concrete example, prescriptive analytics around pricing would include how much a product should be priced.

What are predictive modeling techniques?

Similar to prescriptive analytics, predictive modeling techniques are a framework that one can use in understanding what customers’ needs will be in the future. The workhorse for predictive modeling technique is a regression-based analysis, which quantifies historical data to make predictions for the future.

What is prescriptive modeling?

Prescriptive modeling is a method for ultimately prescribing optimal actions for firms.

What is the prescriptive approach?

The prescriptive approach is thinking carefully about how one can come up with an outcome that is a very clear action that a firm should take. So, for pricing it would be optimal price, and for advertising it would be optimal level of advertising. It’s any approach that helps firms understand what they should be doing for certain kinds of marketing decisions.

What is customer value analysis?

Customer value analysis is thinking carefully about the customer’s lifetime value, or a monetary value for the customer. Some questions of general interest are: How does one put a monetary value on the customer base and determine how much each customer is worth? Such valuation can, in turn, help firms understand who their most valuable customers are.

How do you increase customer value?

The answer to this depends on whether one can link different marketing actions to eventual lifetime value of customers. For a media company, it could be about trying to curate content to appeal to customers and make them more engaged with your company. For other companies, it will revolve around other kinds of marketing actions they engage in.


Raghura Iyengar

Raghuram Iyengar, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Academic Director

Miers-Busch, W’1885 Professor, Professor of Marketing; Faculty Director, Wharton Customer Analytics (WCA), The Wharton School

Research Interests: Pricing, social influence, social networks

Eric Bradlow

Eric Bradlow, PhDSee Faculty Bio

The K. P. Chao Professor; Professor of Marketing; Vice Dean, Analytics at Wharton; Chairperson, Wharton Marketing Department; Professor of Economics; Professor of Education; Professor of Statistics, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Marketing research methods, missing-data problems, psychometrics

Saikat Chaudhuri

Saikat Chaudhuri, DBASee Faculty Bio

Adjunct Associate Professor of Management; Executive Director, Mack Institute for Innovation Management, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Mergers and acquisitions, organizational adaptation, outsourcing, technological innovation

Peter Fader

Peter Fader, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Frances and Pei-Yuan Chia Professor; Professor of Marketing, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Lifetime value of the customer, sales forecasting for new products, behavioral data

Jagmohan Raju

Jagmohan Raju, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Joseph J. Aresty Professor; Executive Director, Wharton Co-Sponsorship of Indian School of Business; Professor of Marketing; Vice Dean, Wharton Executive Education

Research Interests: Competitive strategy, pricing, retailing

Lyle Ungar

Lyle Ungar, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Professor of Bioengineering, Professor of Computer and Information Science, the School of Engineering and Applied Science; Professor of Genomics and Computational Biology, Perelman School of Medicine; Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions, the Wharton School; Professor of Psychology, School of Arts and Sciences, the University of Pennsylvania

Research Interests: Statistical natural-language processing, deep learning, mining social media to better understand personality


Christine WilliamsDirector, Customer Analytics, Anthropologie

I am CBC’s strategy manager for Guatemala and Jamaica, and that basically involves three pillars: consumer pricing; customer pricing, including the trade terms we give our customers; and demand planning. We’re playing a quick game of catch-up with technology because we are based in Central America, and with Customer Analytics for Growth we recognized a great opportunity to see what they’re doing in the U.S. and around the world in advanced customer analytics.

I enjoyed the program very much. The high academic standards of the professors, guest speakers, and classmates really challenges you to a new way of thinking. It was very holistic in that it had a pricing module and an analytics module. I particularly liked the pricing module and also the speakers from Google and EA Sports. The program offered insights into what the future holds — such as blockchain management — as well as many quick wins, or low-hanging fruit, that we were able to apply to the business very fast. From the program, we discovered a new way to understand consumers better and to segment our customer base. We’re now directing our discounts more specifically to certain customers in a way that will add value to our business and not just give the same thing to everyone.

Moreover, when I returned from the course, I had exposure with my CEO, my executive president, the general director, and the VP of marketing to present my insights. It’s not easy to get time in their agenda, yet a 30-minute meeting turned into almost two hours because the discussion was so enriching. I think it also contributed to the next step in my career, my recent promotion from revenue management to strategy manager.

I would totally recommend the program. On a scale of 1 to 10, it’s a 10. I have a very strong interest in continuing my professional leadership development at Wharton.”

Alfredo CastanedaStrategy Manager, Central America Bottling Corporation, Guatemala

At Cubic, we have a philosophy of ‘winning the customer.’ As part of this philosophy, it’s important that we understand our customers and their needs, both today and in the future. We believe that one way we can achieve this level of customer commitment is through the use of customer analytics.

To help further develop my knowledge in analytics, I enrolled in Customer Analytics for Growth. The program is fantastic. I enjoyed every minute of it. I can’t speak highly enough of the team at Wharton; they have created a program that is well structured and relevant to any business.

During the five-day program, we worked through a wide range of analytics, including pricing analytics, customer value, and much more. I was worried I was going to spend days looking at mathematical formulas, but that wasn’t the case. The program offered great variety, and any time we did spend working through formulas was in groups and focused on understanding how our calculations related to real-life business challenges.

The guest speakers from a wide range of industries were insightful and informative. They shared with us their experiences of implementing customer analytics, answered our questions, and presented the positive results their businesses have seen.

The program has opened my eyes to new possibilities for analytics. Since returning from the program, I’ve presented two ideas to the leadership team at Cubic on how we can use customer analytics. The business has welcomed the ideas, and we’re now partnering with the Wharton Customer Analytics initiative on two projects.

I highly recommend Customer Analytics for Growth to anyone who wants to use data to create a stronger and healthier relationship with their customers.”

Zoe YatesDirector of International Marketing and Customer Analytics, Cubic Mission Solutions, United Kingdom

Customer Analytics for Growth was fantastic. It covered best practices for thinking about data, machine learning, and analytics. I'm not a marketer by background but I am quite data driven, and the course was very helpful in providing an understanding of how the role of analytics is changing in decision making. It also explored how managers should be shaping their organizations to use these techniques.

The course was not overly technical so it should not deter anyone who is uncomfortable with quant. The number of industry-based guest lecturers was very helpful in providing a real-world view of the challenges.

I think that every business is becoming a data-driven business and becoming data-centric these days. And a huge part of what we're doing at my company is to think about — as a technology company — what data do we need to be able to improve the customer experience, and to maximize our ability to wrap all of our services around the customer? So the course was really useful.”

Stephen WongChief Strategy Officer,

I do independent consulting and I’m currently working with an international communications and marketing agency. I decided to enroll in the Customer Analytics for Growth program because I have worked for 14 years in the consulting industry and wanted to better understand what my clients wanted and needed.

The Wharton program helped me integrate most of my past work experience into one coherent set of skills and gave me a foundation to expand my capabilities. My appreciation for what customers might be looking for has been shifted quite a bit, and I really gained great insights into what it means to work with customers.

One major insight that I got from Customer Analytics for Growth was that even though human beings can be infinitely complex, their behavioral patterns are actually not that complex when it comes down to the moment of deciding whether to buy something or not. There are a lot of great tools that can help you understand customers’ underlying propensities and past behaviors.

Another takeaway was that because there’s so much freedom and reach in what you can do in the online digital space, ethics matter. It’s important not just for people in my role but for users, site operators, and ad agencies. I also gained a better understanding of the larger customer analytics community — marketers, consumers, corporate managers, scientists, and developers — and the part each one plays in this field.

The faculty was excellent and the program was well designed. I felt that they delivered the program at their best. I also had a great time getting to know the other participants during the classes and at lunch and dinner. We ended up building a collective view, a coherent understanding, of a given subject. That kind of thing never happens in a regular work environment, so I really liked that aspect of being in the program. I strongly recommend the course. I would give it a 10 on a scale of 10.

As a Wharton alum taking this class, I almost forgot what it would be like to be back at Wharton. It was a reminder of the quality and style of the faculty, and I realized I missed that environment very much: an environment where you get to access the intellect and rigor of those researchers. I also enjoyed being around the staff members and of course the students who come to take the courses.

So it was great to be surrounded by the kind of place where you can appreciate what academia has achieved over many years, where you can access resources to really understand what’s happening around you, in your own way and on your own terms. I really want that kind of message to be sent out there: for people to understand what it’s like to be back in school once in a while.”

Takashi YoshizakiFounder, Takashi Yoshizaki Consulting, New York City

Everything that was covered in Wharton’s Customer Analytics for Growth program — from understanding baseline decisions about data to different types of analytics — is relevant for my company. When I came back and presented some of what we learned, my boss said the program already paid for itself several times over.

I’ve been through many training programs, but this program was by far the best. The interactions with the professors, all of whom I got to know, and the rest of the class made for a lot of opportunities to learn more, make connections, and network. My company will be sending more people next year."

Crystal Bray, PhDSr. Data Scientist and Head of Advanced Analytics, Tailored Brands

Wharton really goes in depth, not only in the theory but also in tools and strategy. It’s the right combination of the theoretical and the tactical, and you start implementing what you are learning in real time.

Many times programs like this take you from A to H. You learn some of what you need but not everything. Customer Analytics for Growth goes from A to Z. The professors are fantastic and cover every aspect of the subject. There is no other way to learn this much about customer analytics without going back to school."

Kati StratosDirector, Analytics, Comcast

When you go to a program 3,700 miles away, you must be very sure that it’s going to be a great program in a great business school, and you go with many questions in your mind. Some of my questions were broad, including why we need to change from a product-centric model to a customer-centric one, and why customer lifetime value is a key if you want to be successful in your business. I also came to the program wanting to know more about specific metrics topics such as regression and deviation.

Customer Analytics for Growth answered all of my questions, and the program has been key for my future in this new world. It was worth every one of the 3,700 miles of travel to study at a great business school with the best teachers and highly engaged classmates."

Salvador Muñoz PatiñoSales Manager for Spain — Portugal, Teradata Iberia

Everyone reads about Netflix and Amazon doing amazing analytics and making great strides. But they’ve been doing it for a long time with big budgets. Now after attending Customer Analytics for Growth, I am confident that as a small company there are things we can do to nudge up to them if we are focused. We don’t have to replicate what they’re doing. By creating our own analytics strategy we can address our challenges and save hundreds of thousands of dollars because of what we are learning. My company is already looking at our offerings and pricing in a new way, and starting to make changes.

You can’t get the level of learning and instruction anywhere else. The professors take complex concepts and make you comfortable with them. You leave ready to start using what you learned."

Steve GebhartChief Technology Officer, Western Veterinary Conference

Date, Location, & Fees

October 28 – November 1, 2019Philadelphia, PA$10,950

March 2 – 6, 2020Philadelphia, PA$11,280

Download the program schedule, including session details.

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