We’re so proud to announce the winner of our 2016-2017 ‘New Media Scholarship,’ Olivia Shappell of Carnegie Mellon University. Here’s her essay, ‘Marketing & Media Turned Upside Down.’
Marketing and Media Turned Upside Down
Marketing and media have been turned upside down, and the complexities of strong marketing campaigns have entered a new era. According to eMarketer, digital advertising dollars will surpass TV dollars in 2017, for the first time. This was unthinkable just a few years ago, but now is the reality for marketers. The days of just buying TV commercials and seeing what happens, is becoming a thing of the past. Today, the focus is on consumer engagement. Specifically, digital, targeted engagement with the ability to reach the same number of people as television. What this means for marketers is the need to adapt to the new reality of marketing. How do they quantify the impact of digital marketing beyond how many people click to go to a website, time spent on a website and how many pages are being viewed. Is a Facebook “Like” the same as an Instagram “Like”? Do these “Likes” translate into sales, a higher favorability rating or even greater awareness for a product? Today, marketers need a much deeper understanding of the digital marketplace and how a brand fits within this new ecosystem.
Focus on Multiple Key Concepts
I believe marketers will need to focus on multiple key concepts to be successful and these same concepts should be taught in college. They’re not necessarily new areas of learning just an evolution from historical marketing principles. Placement of advertising is still important. Considering where buyers are and how to put a product in front of them at the right time is paramount. Historically, a marketer would utilize TV, print, radio, and in-store tactics to drive sales. Now, they can go with a much more targeted campaign to leverage the digital ecosystem. Today’s marketers must learn about search engine optimization , search engine marketing, native placements, organic traffic to their site, and what key digital metrics are correlated with sales growth. Marketers need to learn about social media and its value to a brand. They need to be educated about social listening and where to introduce their brand within the social dialogue of their consumers. This is a delicate skill to master, because consumers are getting smarter. They can “sniff-out” an advertiser trying to inject their brand into the conversation and that creates a negative image for the brand. Marketers must decide whether to use experts or those who have a large social following among their target consumers and provide them the tools and resources to engage the right consumer. A marketer needs to select an agency that understands the social dialogue and develop the right strategies to be successful. Part of the new education should include evaluation of an agency, and how they can drive results. This is not typically part of a college’s marketing curriculum, but should be.
The Interaction of Different Media
One important concept that needs to be taught is the interaction between all of these different media and how it impacts the marketer’s brand. A school’s curriculum should not only educate marketers on the different tools to reach and engage consumers, but about the marketing mix that can maximize the goals of a brand or product. Teaching beyond the traditional models of TV first and embracing the digital channel and its complimentary reach to TV, can lead to a strong campaign that will influence consumer’s decisions.
Also critical to the education of the future marketer is the role of mobile marketing. Almost everyone has a cell phone and it’s with them all the time. Mobile marketing should be one of the key pillars of this new education. Marketers must learn to adapt their campaigns to this medium. Ads render differently on a mobile phone so their campaigns need to be mobile optimized which means they’ll need to create assets specifically for mobile phones. They will need to understand how consumers use their phones based on their brand and marketplace. Should they even consider place-based marketing since they know the consumers location? If so, what offers or incentives should be utilized to motivate a consumer to take action?
Marketers need to learn about the research used to measure the success of their campaigns. Too often this understanding is left to their research teams and typically not understood by the marketers. Within the new curriculum there should be a focus on the most appropriate research based on the key performance metrics for their brands. The marketer does not have to do a deep dive into the methodology behind the research. However, they need to know what is truly driving the success or challenges of their campaign especially knowing they’ll need to present results to their management. In this new digital world, this education of marketers is critical because certain digital properties like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram may be great for awareness but a poor tool to drive brand conversion. A publisher like Yahoo or CNN may have scale that rivals TV and even an opportunity to create customized content that drives brand engagement well beyond TV which the marketer can develop for a fraction of a TV commercial.
The Future of Marketing & The Future Curricula of Marketing Programs
Most importantly, when designing the future curriculum for today’s marketing majors, a one semester internship with a digital publisher should be mandatory. There’s no better way to learn about the digital ecosystem then working at one of these organizations. Drexel University utilizes internships across its majors and it has been a valuable resource to students. An internship provides value to both the publisher and student because of the hands-on experience. Companies can identify candidates that can impact their business and students will truly learn digital marketing from the inside.
The bottom line for marketers within the new consumer ecosystem is to understand how each of these channels work together to achieve their objectives. By developing a new curriculum focused on learning the benefits and limitations of each channel, how to effectively measure each one and understand its role in the tactical success of the campaign and participating in an internship at a digital company, we can prepare marketers for the realities of the digital world.