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Getting Digi’ With It

A photo by Galymzhan Abdugalimov. unsplash.com/photos/ICW6QYOcdlg

Hi! My name is Brianna Baker and like many of the students taking digital marketing this quarter I am beginning my senior year at Western, woohoo! I grew up in Puyallup, WA and lived there for the first 20 years of my life until I made the decision to transfer to WWU and move to Bellingham last fall. I started my college career at a community college in Steilacoom, earned an Associates in Business, and will soon be finishing my bachelor’s degree this spring.

I currently work at RE/MAX Whatcom County, Inc. where I do all of the marketing and office management for a real estate broker, which leads me into why I am taking this class.

In my day-to-day job I am constantly researching and testing out new ways to promote a small business. I maintain multiple social media sites, marketing campaigns and am in the process of redesigning the business’s website. I am excited to take this class because not only will it help me come up with new ideas and strategies for my current job, but it is exactly what I want to do for a career when I graduate college.

Since I dream of becoming a search engine marketer, SEO, content development & analytics are the concepts that I want to learn this quarter. Actually, I want to learn a little bit about every aspect of digital marketing, but as of right now those three topics are what I am interested in and extremely curious about.

As world continues to change and new technologies are invented, the marketing industry evolves to keep up. As marketing student, I am excited to be going into a field that is constantly expanding and developing new strategies to market products and services, but I can’t help but wonder if I will graduate with enough skills and knowledge to succeed in a field that experience change so rapidly.

For our first assignment we were required to read three articles centered around the digital marketing industry. Here is a quick breakdown of those articles:

Article 1:  Knowledge and Skill Requirements for Marketing Jobs in the 21st Century

This article discussed the skills that employers in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City and Seattle require when hiring for marketing positions. The research showed that many of the employers were trying to find candidates that could develop marketing plans, manage marketing functions, understand consumer behavior and maintain internet marketing.

One thing that stood out to me in this article was that the author mentioned that many marketing programs do not require students to take classes that focus on management information systems (MIS) or computer science, which teach skills that are fundamental to internet marketing and customer relationship management (CRM). This is disappointing especially when the study shows that 63% of job postings in Seattle want candidates with knowledge of internet marketing, and 23% of job posting in Seattle want candidates with an understanding of CRM. Not to mention that learning computer science and MIS could also come in handy when learning Microsoft office, databases and statistical software.

As a marketing student, I want to be able to trust that my program is setting me up to succeed in the future of the industry and not requiring me to take classes that are outdated. We can clearly see from this research that as technology advances the marketing industry is evolving to become more tech-oriented, hence the boom in spending on digital marketing, which I will talk more about in the breakdown of article 2.

With the industry evolving so quickly it is crucial that students are being taught skills and conceptual knowledge that employers are expecting graduates to have when they apply for entry level or even 2-4-year work experience positions.

Article 2: Digital Marketing Forecast, 2014 to 2019 

history_evolution_digital_marketing_64How many times have you been in the middle of exploring your favorite website when an ad pops up interrupting your article, shopping experience or newsfeed? This probably happens to me a 100 times a day (yes, I spend that much time online). Now think back to when the internet was fairly new, can you remember being interrupted while you were online? This is because spending on digital marketing has increased significantly over the past decade and businesses have formed a stronger online presence. Since the average consumer can access the internet from almost any device, online consumers spend 52% of their media hours on digital channels. In 2009, firms allocated 12% of their marketing budget to internet marketing and by 2014 they had doubled their spending to 24%.

After reading about how much spending on digital marketing has changed since 2009 and how much it is predicted to increase by 2019, I was curious about when the concept of advertising online began. I found this interesting article called The History & Evolution of Digital Marketing by Avantika Monnappa states the term digital marketing was first used 1990’s when the Web 1.0 platform was developed, users could search for information but they had no way to share it online. Then in 1998, Google was invented and other search engines like Yahoo followed. Soon after the introduction of search platforms, social media websites started to popup and so did new opportunities for businesses and marketers (refer to the infographic below for the complete history).

Digital marketing has come a long way since it first became a concept in 1990 and it is amazing to see how it has evolved alongside technological advancements. Even though over the years the industry has seen the steepest growth in social media, many marketers are steering away from static social media ads offered through Facebook, Twitter, etc., but why? Do you consciously notice every ad that you come across on Facebook? Do you even pay attention to them? Marketers have come to realize that e-newsletters are becoming a more critical part of the marketing strategy. People are more likely to respond to an email that is personalized based on their habits, attitudes and the context in which the email is opened. Companies are spending more and more money on strategy and analytics for email marketing.

Article 3: Digital Skills

I chose to study marketing because I love how it is an industry that requires both a creative and analytical side. As it gets closer to graduation, I think more and more about what it takes to be a digital marketer. This article along with an article that I found from marketingcareeredu.org, I was able to gain more insight on what employers are going to be expecting from me after graduation. So what skills do you have to possess to be a great marketer? According to the authors Dr. Dave Chaffey and Robert Jones, you should have an understanding of these seven core skills,

  • Integrated planning
  • Content marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Paid search
  • Social media marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Multi-channel analytics

and you should be able to use those skills to implement, test and apply them to new marketing strategies. In a world where almost every student has experience with social media and online advertising (even if it is just posting a craigslist ad), how hard is it for companies to recruit for these skills? 70% of recruiters say that it is difficult to recruit for digital skills, with strategy and planning being the hardest skill to identify. So what can us students do to showcase the skills that we’ve worked our entire college careers to acquire? Well Erica Swallow, author of 10 Tips for Aspiring Digital Marketers has some ideas. Her suggestions include getting hands-on experience, knowing the language, creating your own online presence (make sure it work appropriate), learning everything but choosing a specific focus, attending industry conventions, meetings and conferences and keeping update-to-date with the latest and greatest trends.

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All in all, as a future digital marketer I am excited to enter this ever evolving industry. As digital marketing becomes more critical to a business’s marketing strategy and spending continues to increase, I can’t wait to see what innovations and technological advancements are introduced to the industry.

Supplemental Articles: 

History & Evolution of Digital Marketing

Search Engine Marketing Specialist

Digital Marketers Job Tips

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