What to “know” to actually “do” digital marketing

I’m Kate, and you might know me from 381 and me picking your brain for my psychology research assignment. Beyond my obvious enjoyment of lengthy, life-consuming research papers (because obviously if you’re a psych major, you better love writing), I enjoy spending time with my pets, reading, fashion blogging, music and playing video games.I don’t get out much, but when I do, you’ll probably find me at some local coffee shop or at the boutique where I work (which is called Sojourn by the way, in case you ever want to stop by and get something for your wife so that I can get some commission!).

I’m beyond excited for this class, especially after taking 381 with you and seriously thinking about a career in market research. I hear amazing things about this course, like how it’s a must take if you’re even thinking about market research and if you want to get your Google Analytics certification. I’m really excited you’ve added certifications to the class, as those are probably what I’m most excited for (you can’t really beat having a class that helps you obtain certifications that increase your chances of getting hired, right?) but I’m also looking forward to when we discuss content marketing and social media strategy. I currently work with social media platforms to engage with our customers through my boutique, so this is especially relevant for me. Looking through the overview makes it hard to choose though,  because I’m pretty much excited for everything…except maybe coding. -.-

content-is-king

While reading through the article by Schlee and Harich I felt a connection with what the authors were saying; I have always been worried about how well my education will segue into my career and how I’ll stack up next to my competition. So when I read the sited information on how many college graduates had a job by the time they graduated (only 19.7%?! Shoot me now) I felt a rather large urge to be sick. How can I differentiate myself and be the most prepared I possibly can in a market becoming increasingly over-saturated? Schlee and Harich had three research questions that they attempted to answer through their study. It was assumed that technical skills were more appealing in entry-level candidates versus conceptual knowledge for upper-level candidates, however, results indicated otherwise. It seems that, contrary to what most people think, conceptual knowledge AND technical skills are required for both entry-level and upper-level positions. This is good to know, as I felt some assurance in the fact that so much of the conceptual knowledge I’m learning about will not be going to waste.

But am I learning enough technical skills to be prepared for my career? According to this, I’m not. While relying on marketing knowledge in an entry-level position is more important than previously thought, skills are still the most prevalent. And we’re probably not learning half of all of the skills we need, or as in depth as we need to learn them. Sure, I know what SharePoint is and could give you a definition listed with characteristics, but the only reason I know my way around this platform is because I worked with one through a company I interned with. And while marketing majors at Western are required to take core courses in MIS and basic computer science, it is not nearly enough to establish a lasting relationship with the material. It’s making me wonder if we focus too much on conceptual knowledge and not enough on skills, especially because I can’t help but feel like knowledge will be picked up in the workplace while skills are needed as more of a base to start at. Then again, the ability to understand concepts is extremely important and many things such as developing a marketing plan are taught to us in school and not necessarily in the workplace. So where’s the balance? It seems like concepts outweigh skills right now, and perhaps by eliminating certain classes we can make room for additional ones focused on technical concepts such as SQL, SharePoint and Internet marketing (as suggested in the research paper). But if there isn’t a class for it, I have no problem teaching it to myself like many people do. What I appreciated most about this article is that it brought to my attention what I need to focus on post-graduation; I need to start developing my technical skills because according to this there are things I NEED to know that I’m not necessarily learning!

Sidenote: The information on what was most important to each of the five demographic areas included was really interesting. Because I’m interested in market research, it was good to know that I won’t have to tailor that to any specific region (because differences were not stat sig in their findings) but also important to realize that things like developing marketing plans, internet marketing and public relations DID have stat sig differences according to each region. Therefore, if I’m looking for jobs concerning some of these areas, it will be good to know which places put more of an emphasis on it than others.

My first impression of the Interactive Marketing Forecast report was excitement in the opportunity to jump on something that will be experiencing a lot of growth. I especially liked the “customer obsession” heading; what better way to describe our attachment/intense relationship with our inanimate phones? With ad spending growing at what looks like an average of 3-4% every year and ad effectiveness of interactive marketing tactics (social media, email, SEO, etc.) beating out effectiveness from traditional marketing tactics (television, magazines, radio, etc.), I’m even more convinced of the growth possibilities. I can definitely relate to the decreasing levels of face time with traditional advertising methods, as I find myself barely watching tv anymore or listening to the radio when instead I can use different services that integrate my smartphone, tablet or computer. And while search engines will still dominate, I 100% see how budgets will be added for nontraditional search engines like Facebook; I myself use Facebook this way quite frequently and can see how that and sites like YouTube and Twitter would create a challenge and opportunity for a search modes to expand.

As I mentioned before, our relationships with our phones and tablets is intense and obsessive. Which means it doesn’t surprise me that mobile marketing overtook social and email marketing; obviously the item that functions as a second hand will be the most relevant to our lives and therefore the best marketing medium. It’s pretty rad that brands are starting to develop “user centric mobile ads with immersive content experiences”, as stated by VanBoskirk. Not to mention how much I and the other 47% of tablet owners use our iPads and iPhones for online shopping; when something is a click away through our second hand why wouldn’t we use that? It’s clear that mobile commerce won’t be slowing down anytime soon.

And yet, through it all, we all still use email to pull everything together. Because I’m interested in fashion, this is clear to me everyday; blogs, brands, and websites I’m subscribed too constantly send out emails with new content, products, sweepstakes, newsletter sign ups, and more. Coupled with the fact that email marketers are now customizing their customer relationships and email campaigns based on analytics, targeted receivers will feel even more of a connection with the message the brand is delivering.

What I found the most interesting was at the end of the article in the discussion about what everything means. The death of the daily deal is discussed, which makes me sad because I love my daily Groupon kick, if not to buy than just to see the fun and sometimes ridiculous product deals (that honestly aren’t really deal at all…). Although I completely get why marketers would want to keep consumers intentional instead of conditioning them to make all impulse decisions, because then they’ll make the conscious decision to buy their product and potentially become a lifer. Which makes me excited for the increase in targeted ads, because unlike some people who find it incredibly creepy, I think it’s awesome that things like biometrics on my mobile phone will make it possible for advertisers to increase ad sales through better targeted advertisements. If I have to look at ads on all of the free apps I have, I’d much rather be looking at ads that I actually might care about!

Last but not least, we will dive into the state of digital marketing. Immediately I was intrigued by the information about entitlement among new hires. That resonates strongly with me, especially fresh off of an inspiring lecture given by professor Ann Stone partly about our generations sense of entitlement. It doesn’t surprise me at all that findings indicate 70% of new hires expect to be advanced or placed hiring than their education or experience level. It’s important for us to realized that it’s not what we can do for ourselves but what we can do for others; in this case, what we can do for the company we work for, our bosses or our fellow employees. Our generation wants the money and the esteem but without the work, and I can see how that would be a huge road block in finding young talent without a bad attitude. With findings also indicating a need for more on-demand digital marketing classes for employees, perhaps an application of this with the ability for young talent to take part in these classes to allow them to not only better do their job but to also gain more knowledge faster (to assuage their thirst for corporate domination) would be a perfect program to initiate.

Building on our generation and the acquisition of young talent, it also seems that there is a gap between what employers actually want versus what talents the potential employees actually possess in the realm of digital marketing. It seems that specialists are becoming more important (versus people with a lot of general knowledge) such as with analytics or content marketing, with brands being most in need of social media marketers, content marketers and marketers in web analytics. So obviously, what we learn in this class will be of great use to us later on if we plan on getting jobs in the areas that are going to be hiring (which is awesome, because we could all be becoming lawyers or something and going into a market that is completely saturated). However, when it comes to measuring talent and developing it, there doesn’t seem to be a good consistent way of doing this. This makes it hard for people to prove themselves, when they don’t know exactly what they’re supposed to be doing to prove they have what is needed. I come across this all the time when looking at ways to promote my fashion blogging. While this is a totally creative format and therefore doesn’t have a rule book to follow, it’s a similar idea; how do I prove that I know what I’m talking about more than the 1000’s of other bloggers out there? And why do some of them have so many followers when they’re clearly just bullshitting everything they say? I feel like with industries that incorporate more creativity (i.e. marketing) it’s harder to set a standard for measuring skills and competencies unless looking at things in a technical manner. So I don’t feel as if there is much that can be done to standardize this process… although I may feel completely differently when I actually finish the digital marketing class and know what I’m talking about.

References:

Article 1 

Article 2

Article 3 

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