Editor’s Note. The JM Internet Group proudly sponsors a student scholarship and essay contest each year. The purpose is to encourage business and marketing-oriented students to focus on the “New Media,” namely SEO (Search Engine Optimization), SMM (Social Media Marketing), and PPC (Pay-per-click advertising. This year’s winner is Rachel Jacobson who is now attending Drexel University. Here is her winning essay:
New Media Scholarship Essay
by Rachel Jacobson – August, 2017
Whenever I browse the internet and look at my social media account, I’m reminded about how times have changed for marketing. Long gone are the times where the only adverts would be in the pages of a magazine or sealed behind an envelope. Instead, they return in the form of emails, pop-ups, and video interruptions, but consumers are far less willing to deal with them than before. All Internet browsers have a pre-installed pop-up blocker. Email providers often block spam. Advertisements in the margins of pages are often blocked by a dedicated ad-blocker, and sometimes not even the guilt-tripping of the website can get me to turn the plugin off.
What could be the reason behind this shift in consumer behavior? It could be that adverts and pop-ups are one of many ways computers get infected with viruses, even if the windows and links are not clicked on. It could also be that they feel entitled to an environment with fewer distractions now that they have more control over their digital world compared to magazines and newspapers. Whatever the case is, it is reasonable to conclude that the traditional views of marketing have been affected by the digital age via a large consumer backlash against intrusive advertising.
This pushback against traditional marketing on such a large scale is unprecedented. Before the Internet and social media, the same tactics of paper and post advertising and polling could be used decade after decade, only changing targets every couple years to account for demographics. With such a shift, it also affects how marketing is taught in universities and colleges. How should they adapt to the changing attitudes of consumers towards advertisements and polls on the Internet?
I believe that the best way to teach marketing in the current industry is to focus on flexibility and adaptability. Technology changes fast, therefore marketing has to keep up the pace. Marketing students need to learn general skills that are helpful everywhere, not just specialize in skills that will only be helpful for a couple years. In addition, more focus needs to be given on teaching alternative methods of digital advertising that are less intrusive and better suited to grabbing the attention of people subtly and generating interest, not annoyance.
Overall, just as the marketing industry is calling for a wider range of skills in the digital age, schools need to teach students to have the expectation of learning new things and constantly expanding their skillset. New technologies should be embraced, and a refusal to adapt will lead to the downfall of marketers. Although some existing marketing techniques such as print and billboard advertising will still exist and be effective where they are, digital marketing needs to be more engaging and find a way to ingrain itself into social consciousness. Adaptation within the marketing industry is the way of the future, and it should be taught accordingly.