EECS 395, 495: Requirements Gathering and Decision-Support Tool Development in the Online Marketing Space

Quarter Offered

Spring : 6-9 Tu ; Hammond/Copulsky


Students need to have taken at least one of EECS-337, EECS338, EECS-348, or EECS-344. Special attention will be given to those who have also taken EECS-330.


This is a project-based course given in conjunction with Medill’s Integrated Marketing Communications program. Work in the class will be done in cross-functional teams of students in CS paired with IMC students. The teams will explore needs of workers in the online marketing space and the current state of technologies aimed at addressing those needs. The goal will be to create a taxonomy of needs/goals that can be used to organize the various technologies and then craft a system that provides intelligent access to them based on user requirements.

The goal of the class will be to prototype a set of tools in this space that can scope across a variety of marketing scenarios and, potentially, become the basis for decision-support tools in areas that are “solution heavy.”  The focus is the development of an intent driven model of interrogation of a system that identifies user needs and applies them to the search for systems with functionality that satisfies them.

The initial work will include both examination of tools used by marketers and the exploration of the space of needs of actual markers themselves. The former will involve the use and understanding of the technologies in use today while the latter will include discussions with senior marketing executives.

  • What do marketers need? 
  • What do vendors offer?
  • How do we consistently gather needs/requirements from marketers?
  • How do we consistently describe capabilities across vendors? 
  • How do we fit requirements to capabilities?
  • How do we rank different solutions?

The answers to these questions will be used to build out taxonomy of need/solution sets that will then be used to construct a set of tools in this space. The goal of the quarter is the development of a set of prototypes for decision support in this space that can be used by IMC students and partners. The secondary goal is the development of a model of a process by which these sorts of decision support tools can be used in other domains (Business Intelligence, Visualization Tools, Cognitive Computing Solutions, etc.).

CS limit is initially set at 15 CS students but this may change.  Class will be held on Tuesday nights from 6 - 9 in the Garage.

INSTRUCTORS: Prof. Kristian Hammond & Jonathan Copulsky

REQUIRED BOOKS: Hacking Marketing: Agile Practices to Make Marketing Smarter, Faster and More Innovative, by Scott Brinker (Wiley, 2016, ISBN-13: 978-1119183174). More information about the book at