Digital Marketing with Hannah

Hello surfers of the web

Get to know me:

I am currently a senior at Western Washington University studying business with a focus in marketing. Born in 93′ I strongly identify with my cohorts and when I am not working or studying I enjoy making art, reading, cooking and spending time in the outdoors.  I spent the last four months studying in Madrid, Spain and have officially caught the travel bug.  Originally from Vancouver, Washington and have been living in downtown Bellingham for the past three years.  All four years at WWU I have worked in the Office of Admissions as a campus tour guide for Western.  As a representative of WWU, I am often the first and only contact prospective students have with the University and I enjoy connecting with diverse groups of people.  In addition to working on campus have also been working at Garys’ Mens and Women’s Wear in downtown Bellingham for the past 2 years.  This job allows me to express myself through fashion and help to inspire others all while learning the ins-and-outs of running a small business.

Why Digital Marketing?

The fortunate thing about the year I was born is that I have seen the social and technical world change into what it is today.  Technology’s impact on business is a topic that has become increasingly interesting to me.  In the summer of 2014, I proposed and collaborated on the design of a new website for Garys’ (garysbellingham.com).   This was a prime opportunity for me to employ my skills in web development and project management.  Before the project began, I saw that Garys’ was lacking a platform that connected all of the media outreach they were already using (email, Facebook and Instagram) and that was a problem I was able to fix for them, with digital marketing.

What about Digital Marketing?

I am particularly interested in the ability digital marketing has to integrate connections between business and consumer.  It is important to me to gain the ability to speak with all functional areas of a business from R&D, to finance departments.  Without knowledge of current technologies and methods of employing them in a business setting, you miss the opportunity to make a good campaign, great.  Post graduation, I aspire to receive my masters in Integrated Marketing Communications and because of this I am especially interested in tools that can be used to do just that.

Article Discussion 

As I approach my final quarters here at Western (two to be exact) I find myself reflecting back on my past 3 years and answering the question: “Hannah, now what are you going to do after you graduate?” often.  This dreaded question gets brought up time and time again and without fail at any family gathering.  Before I can really pin point what it is I would like to do, it has been important for me to look at the current job market and try and figure out what it is that I can bring to the table.  Within the changing job market, skills required of graduates, especially technical ones are improving exponentially.  Differences among level of position seem to always be implied, but never explicitly stated.

One thing that I found very interesting about the article Knowledge and Skill Requirements for Marketing Jobs in the 21st Century by Schlee and Harich was not only the obvious ability to apply this article to my current situation, but also the specific analysis done.  I found parallels between my experience of WWU and the transitions through the work force.  In the beginning we start off broad, reaching to several different areas, including some that potentially (and in many students eyes) have “nothing to do with” what we are truly interested in.  The business school starts us off with economic courses, business law, management, finance and a whole host of other subjects.  I would often hear my peers talking about how these courses had little relevance to their functional area or say “this is just another hoop I have to jump though”.  Admittedly, I found their words to be similar to my own feelings, but as I move forward I am finding just the opposite.  Without the knowledge gained from those areas “we aren’t interested in” we would have no way of developing the complex thoughts we are now beginning to be capable of.  Although I dreaded making balance sheets back in sophomore year, I know the importance of budgeting in the business world.  This is exactly what it is like when you move into the “real world”.  In the beginning you gain technical skills and work at the bottom so that when you are at the top, you are able to communicate with others.  Turns out, you might actually be using those technical and meta skills all along.  The article claims that while you move up the corporate ladder, a broader understanding becomes more important than the specifics, but until you get there stay hungry for all the knowledge you can get.

Talent and knowledge are both products of continued education both in and out of the classroom.  The article State of Digital Marketing Talent outlines the need for individuals with experience and skills that set them apart.  With the market being flooded with graduates who are deemed “entitled” that turn out to be less qualified than their shinny resume suggests, it is becoming harder for employers to filter the good from the bad.  A lot of skill comes from job experience, but with the increasing demands and lack of jobs, a lot of new-grads are feeling the pressure build.  Without a job, there is no way to gain experience and without experience, there is no way to gain a job.  You often hear people present this catch 22.  I think the issue lies in the ability for some educators to capture the attention of their students or the failure of students to see the importance of what they are learning.  Or possibly a missed opportunity to train or learn new skills all together, like the article suggests.  One thing is clear, technology is gaining pace and failure to keep up could be detrimental to your career.

Once you enter the workforce, you are expected to work extremely hard and employ all those useful new techniques you’ve just learned.  Consumers now require more attention and relationship management than ever and Forester Interactive Marketing Forecast for 2011-2016 mentioned quite a few.  Essentially teams are getting larger and more diverse.  Again this has me reminiscing on all the group projects I have done in the past and how sometimes they works with minimal bumps and other times the group couldn’t seem to agree on a single thing.  With emerging media teams will be comprised of individuals from all functional areas and it is the job of marketing teams to assure that the business’ vision is not only integrated, but also interactive.  We will quickly need to become even more customer obsessed, taking CRM to the next level.  Another interactive implication is one that effects small businesses.  In order to be competitive businesses of every size need to focus on “getting found” with fewer people paying attention to newspaper adds and looking to the internet for information, it is vital to incorporate SEO in every business model.

People are not only searching on the web, but also many different devices.  The article by VanBoskirk mentions rich media gaining popularity and I am curious to see how this is pans out with individuals using mobile devices as well as tablets and desktops.  There must be a focus on media expansion, but also media expansion that looks just as clean on several platforms and devices.  This is no trivial task.  As discussed in Framework for Designing for Multiple Devices by Sachendra Yadav, the context of using these devices is something to be considered.  Answering the questions when and where, are imperative for a positive user experience and digital marketing can be employed to remedy just that.  As a potential method of creating a better customer relationship, technology can be easily customized with the proper programs in place to do so.

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