Tuesday 1/6

OK, here we go, first ever blog post…

Hello! My name is Jeff Thompson, I am a student at Western Washington University pursuing a degree in marketing, this is my third year (and third major) at Western and if everything goes as planned, I will be graduating this spring. I was born and raised here in Washington and spent the entirety of my pre-college life living on Camano Island, a small community about an hour south of Bellingham.

Some of my hobbies include playing video games, working on my car and spending time with my English Springer Spaniel, Aero. I would love a career in the marketing field after college but at the same time would not mind dipping my toes into another area of the business world.

I enrolled in digital marketing because I believe the content offered by this course to be one the biggest and most important factors of the modern marketing environment. The push towards an all-digital world is unavoidable and I believe you either have to get with it, or get left behind. Ideally for this course I would like to learn how to optimize the online presence of a business/product and how to properly market that business/product. I feel that a company’s  online presence is one of the key determinants of it’s success.

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

This report was a good read and shed a little light onto something i’ve suspected since the beginning of my college career; that schools should spend a little less time on the framework of the marketing process and more time developing skills that will actually be used in the field. Software advancements happen so quickly these days that it can be difficult to become proficient in the emerging programs while at the same time gaining experience with older, more widely used software.

At most colleges, there aren’t many management information system courses included with the marketing curriculum. Take WWU for example, the marketing concentration includes two MIS classes, but if you are like me and gave accounting a shot before marketing, then you may substitute an accounting class for the higher level MIS class. In all honesty, I didn’t really like this approach from a learning standpoint as the accounting class you can substitute (acct321) involved virtually no MIS content. In fact the biggest project in the class, that makes up most of your grade, is doing the jobs of three different accountants BY HAND, ON PAPER! Show me a company that still does that. Overall what I take from this article, is that companies today require experience and knowledge of marketing software and processes that universities are not providing in their curriculum.

    Forrester Interactive Marketing Forecast 2011 to 2016

One thing that is unavoidable, is the transition of making nearly everything in our daily lives interactive, digital or laden with technology. While some people (including myself) might see this as the beginning of the end of social interaction altogether, perhaps those who stand to benefit the most from this all-digital world are marketers. As more everyday devices become internet connected, and the adoption of these smart devices becomes more widespread, marketers will be able to reach a greater number of potential customers. As these new customers get exposed to ads, marketers will also be able to more easily measure the effect that their advertisements had on the customer, as STIHL marketing manager David Schwartz said “you can measure anything through digital.”

Older marketing techniques can be difficult to measure how effective they were, but in the digital world, nearly everything is logged, from what you click on to other sites you have been to. Someday we could even see eye movement tracked by the camera in your smart device, being logged and tracked for marketing purposes. It’s kind of scary but it is the way things are headed.

    State of Digital Marketing Talent

This report is closely related to Knowledge and Skill Requirements for Marketing Jobs in the 21st Century in that it addresses the fact that employers have a gap between what they are looking for in terms of skills, and the skills of applicants or members of their marketing team. While some companies will prefer to hire marketers with a more generalized set of marketing skills as they have done so in the past, there is a greater push emerging for specialists trained in specific areas of the marketing world such as analytics. This just makes sense to me, you can’t train everybody to be an all-encompassing marketer that can do everything perfectly. Different type of people take to different type of things, someone could show a strong knack for marketing software without ever really understanding the core framework. It’s just the way we are, everyone is wired differently.

This report also relates to the issue of a lack of software courses in the marketing curriculum, as I believe what most schools attempt to do is to make each student as applicable to the major as possible. Which is great in theory but tends not to work as well as hoped, students get lost in all the information. I would suggest that schools start creating more specific marketing degrees, ones that churn out specialists who excel at that discipline, or perhaps bundle marketing with a minor such as marketing analytics or quantitative analysis.