I was asked to do a presentation to Hull University Students this week on Digital Marketing. After mulling over how I should approach the lecture, I have to admit I was a little bit nervous about talking to a group of young adults about one aspect of Digital Marketing….social media, which I was sure they would know more about that I do.
It occurred to me that whilst they might know more about social media tools than I do but did they really understand how it might be applied in the work place and in particular for smaller businesses.
I did wonder if businesses will recruit graduates and expect them to be social media experts because they use the tools a lot in their personal life. Using Facebook/ twitter/ snap chat to communicate with friends and find out information, is a lot different to coming up with Digital Marketing Strategies and generating sales and growth for companies.
Hull University Business School had a real awareness of this concern which is why they invite guest lecturers to come and talk about their real experiences of marketing for a variety of organisations. It is often a criticism leveled at Universities that they teach theory but graduates are not prepared for the world of work. This was certainly the case when I left university….many moons ago!
By doing a case study on the digital marketing I have used in marketing a medium sized family business I hoped to demonstrate to the students how the tools they are familiar with (Google, Social Media, Video, Email) could be used to market a business and a brand. I talked about the challenges we face (constant change, budgets, resource); the things that have not worked so well for us and the remarkable (and unexpected) success we have had. These successes inlccuded increasing sales of used cars by 46% following a PPC campaign; increasing our reach on social media by 1200%; and the great feedback we have had from customers on our videos.
I also wanted to show that marketeers can not rely on just one medium to bring in the sales and that digital tools can be used for different things. We have not generated any sales through Facebook, for example, yet but our audience and engagement with customers and potential customers has increased.
Finally I wanted to show students that marketeers are never done! Marketing and in particular Digital Marketing is constantly changing and you can feel like you are always behind the curve. The key is to be open to new things, keep an eye on trends and be prepared to keep learning. In a way you never leave university, your degree is just another step in the journey to becoming a marketer, that is something they do not tell you in a text book.