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Digital Marketing, Day One

Hello!

My name is Elizabeth Yanak, I’m a senior here at Western (Graduating this Spring! Finally!), and I’m taking Digital Marketing this quarter not just because it seemed like the right time to hop on the Twitter bandwagon – but also because I would love to pursue a potential career within the digital marketing or research field. Business and marketing are about being innovative and creative, and the digital marketing world really embodies that. I would like to think I can be innovative and creative too, or at least I am every once and awhile (maybe not so much with the whole Twitter thing).

There’s a lot of things I hope to learn in this class, including:

  • Software! Software! And more software!
  • Hone my data analytical skills and understand better what it all means
  • CODING! Please! I want to teach myself but I’m intimidated, to say the least.

Now for Part II! Homework!

In regards to the Schlee and Harich article about marketing employment and skills, I agree (for the most part). I think I have been very fortunate with many of the professors I’ve had at my time at Western, and the classes I have taken and am choosing to take – many of them have emphasized the importance of software and technical skills in our digital age, not just conceptual knowledge. I’m lucky enough to be able to list SPSS, Access, Excel, and (soon enough) Google Analytics and the like on my resume, but many other students can’t. If you take a look at the research findings listed in Table 2 on page 345 of the article, 58% of entry-level positions (what we’ll most likely be going into post-graduation) require MS Office skills. And almost 42% require database analysis software knowledge! Big data is growing exponentially and many of us don’t even know what to do with it. We have been taught the majority of the meta-skills listed in Table 3 by the time graduation rolls around, but much of them have been only taught conceptually or in one class, not across all learning curriculums within the business school. We’ve certainly talked about much of the technical skills listed like CRM and SEO (think MIS 320), but have spent little to no time actually learning them hands-on. Which is pretty unfortunate, right?

The Digital Marketing Talent article emphasized the “talent gap” seen by many marketing companies regarding their employees, and also furthered my opinion that we could be learning a lot more in school. BUT, like the authors mentioned, we definitely as students have the ability to capitalize on these gaps. And surprise! What are we lacking? Analytical and mobile skills (aka the two huge parts of modern marketing, as discussed below). I personally try to take the time to teach myself these skills (like with softwares) to the best of my ability, but it’s not easy. As stated in this Forbes Article, “job seekers – be they recent graduates or more experienced workers – need to step in and take skill development and education into their own hands”, and employers need to do their part too – by providing fast-paced training programs that help workers hone skills necessary to thrive in today’s media-based market. Schools should also focus more on training students for the “real world”, but as stated in the Schlee and Harich article, it is almost impossible for them to keep up with how quickly the market is changing.

The Interactive Marketing Professionals article re-iterated a lot of what we students learned in Marketing 381 – the digital age and society’s dependency on various technologies and media platforms has greatly improved businesses’ ability to market to their target markets in a more customized, individual way. As stated within the article, this is truly the “age of the customer” (and businesses who recognize this have benefitted greatly from it); social media and mobile marketing, both of which will have increased drastically since 2011, allow any business to interact and track their customers’ needs more effectively. Both definitely have their downsides, like pay-per-click limitations on sites such as Twitter and Facebook, but the amount of feedback and knowledge created is tremendous! And think of the apps! So many of us use apps (or just our phones) to shop nowadays. According to ComScore,”App usage represents the majority (52%) of digital engagement, but each consumer’s usage is concentrated on just a few apps”. And mobile traffic for any retail site is huge as well: “Mobile devices are dominating in visitation to the retail category, with mobile-only visitors representing more than a third of monthly visitors to the top online retailers” (also ComScore).

So what does this all mean? I think we students need to look beyond the classroom for experience and knowledge, and teach ourselves many of the qualities necessary to thrive in a digital market. We know what skills are being asked of us, now it is our responsibility to step up and learn them. Hopefully this class will come in handy for that!

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