Digital Marketing

Size matters: Big Data

Significant data (big data) can be derived through customer analytics, giving organizations insight on their audience’s online traffic and behaviors. This information allows digital marketers to optimize their tactics and personalize their users’ experiences.

Marketers’ main goal is personalization – being able to provide customers products and offers that represent their needs. Forrester’s white paper Use Customer Analytics To Get Personal (for Customer Intelligence Professionals) lists the analytical techniques used in personalization and popular applications of web personalization:



Benefits to using customer personalization

  • Customers are acknowledged and served appropriately (through knowledge of past interactions)
  • The ability to offer relevant content and offers to enhance customers’ experiences and promote customer loyalty
  • Increased customer retention, and new customer acquisition
  • Increased returns from growing customer base

The New York Times article, How Companies Learn Your Secrets, is a story about how through the use of analytics, marketers discovered that “new parents are a retailer’s holy grail.” It is hard to change a person’s brand loyalties and buying habits, but new parents are overwhelmed and preferences can be easily swayed.

The article explains how “timing is everything. Because birth records are usually public, the moment a couple have a new baby, they are almost instantaneously barraged with offers and incentives and advertisements from all sorts of companies.” One of Target’s statisticians was able to predict when women were pregnant based off of their purchases. This was an advantage for Target because they could personalize offers towards women during their pregnancy, beating their competitions’ offers they were to receive after the birth of their child.

The Wall Street Jounral’s article, On Orbitz, Mac Users Steered to Pricier Hotels, is another example of a company turning information into insight. Orbitz, an online travel agency found that “people who use Apple Inc.’s Mac computers spend as much as 30% more a night on hotels.” Orbitz started personalizing offers towards Mac users, who would be shown “different, and sometimes costlier, travel options than Windows visitors.”

Even Obama’s 2012 campaign used big data, to come up with the probability of swaying votes one way or another. With this information they were able to personalize the campaign and capitalize on their digital marketing. Read more about it in Time’s article, Inside the Secret WOrld of the Data Crunchers Who Helped Obama Win and the Wall Street Journal’s article Crovitz: Obama’s ‘Big Data’ Victory.

i-use-big- data

SQL: Learn to Communicate with Databases

What is SQL? SQL, (sequel) or Structured Query Language according to Vault Analytics, “is the de facto standard coding language that is used to communicate with databases.” Or it can be thought of as another important coding language to know in the marketing industry. SQL communicates directly with databases, and through codes it can extract specific information. Running SQL queries are an easier, faster way to manage and filter through data than Excel.

How does SQL work? The article, Learn SQL The Hard Wayexplains how SQL understands the fields of tables, and can find data based on the contents of the fields. All SQL operations are based off of four general table commands:

  1. Create – inserting data into tables
  2. Read – query data in a table
  3. Update – change data in a table
  4. Delete – remove data from a table

Benefits of knowing how to leverage SQL:

  • Differentiate yourself when applying to jobs
  • Need to understand to execute projects
  • Speeds up process of finding information
  • Can better analyzing information and identify relationships within data
  • Fix your own problems with websites
  • Can create and execute your own marketing campaigns
  • Can communicate better with developers, designers and analysts

SQL 300

Living in a digital age, marketing now has large role online. And as a marketing student, learning technical skills that are applicable to the marketing field are important for me to know. Moz’s article Every Marketer Should be Technicalexpands on the importance of having technical skills. Moz suggests the following are important technical skills to know:

  • Databases & SQL
  • Web Technology
  • Web Development
  • Web Design & UX
  • Copywriting
  • Analytics
  • Forecasting/Statistics
  • Excel
  • Technical SEO
  • Content Platforms
  • Email Technology
  • E-Commerce Technology


AB Testing

“Why is Digital Marketing so fantastic? Because everything is trackable and since everything is trackable, everything is also testable. Basically, you never have an excuse to have a crappy landing page, or email campaign or banner ad because of A/B testing.”

– Mark Staton

So what is A/B Testing? According to Optimizely A/B Testing: is a simple way to test changes to your page against the current design and determine which ones produce positive results. It is a method to validate that any new design or change to an element on your webpage is improving your conversion rate before you make that change to your site code.” To perform an A/B test, Smashing Magazine’s Ultimate Guide To A/B Testing explains it as” [having] two versions of an element (A and B) and a metric that defines success. To determine which version is better, you subject both versions to experimentation simultaneously. In the end, you measure which version was more successful and select that version for real-world use.” The overall main point of AB testing is to gain insight with the goal of increasing conversion


The A/B Testing Process:

  • Decide your goal – what are you testing?
  • Select a tool for the job – you can set up A/B tests in two ways
    • Replace the element to be tested before the page loads
    • Redirect to another page
  • Set a conversion goal – using code (e.g. javascript) you can program what characterizes a successful test for a visitor, and track the success rates, like reaching a “Thank you” page after making a purchase.

Do’s and Don’s of A/B Testing


  • Make sure that you understand how long you should run your tests – If you end a test prematurely, your test will have been a waste of time and will have potentially lost very insightful and valuable information.
  • Be consistent on which visitors see what. Preventing bundlers (showing a user a different price or different promotional offer) can be done with your tool – using a mechanism or algorithm that keeps track of which visitors have been exposed to which variations.
  • Keep A/B test treatments consistent throughout your whole webpage. If testing the color of a sign-up button, make sure the color is changed not just on your landing page, but across all your pages.
  • Frequently perform A/B tests. The more tests you perform, the better your website will be!
  • Treatment Rampup: instead of splitting up your testing 50/50 between your users, gradually implement your treatment on your test market (e.g. 99.9%/0.1% to 99.5%/.05% to 97.5%/2.5% etc.) This avoids introducing potentially bad problems to a larger audience. 


  • Always test your variation and control at the same time – there can be extraneous factors that happen one week that don’t happen the next, which can affect results.
  • Don’t jump to conclusions – “Statistical confidence” tests determine the significance of test results, telling you if they are important or not.
  • Don’t take regular visitors off guard – test new visitors to avoid confusing your returning visitors.
  • Don’t let emotions overrule test results – sometimes the results aren’t what was expected, but remember that you are testing for improved conversion rates not aesthetics.

So why use A/B testing? A/B testing considers affects on traffic. It shows what works best with your customers with quantifiable data. This allows you to optimize and personalize your website, making it about your customers, making you more likely to succeed.


Code Academy: an easy FREE way to learn coding!

Coding: a tool that amplifies intellectual abilities – “the ultimate mental amplifier,” as put by David Evans in his Introduction to Computing textbookThroughout the ages, humans and animals have created tools in order for to help their physical abilities to become faster, stronger and better.

As said in the text, “tools that amplify intellectual abilities are much rarer… Only humans have developed tools to substantially amplify our intellectual abilities and it is those advances that have enabled humans to dominate the planet.” The two examples that were given were language, and writing. Language allowed humans to communicate thoughts, and use their minds more effectively. Writing created documentation, allowing people to share thoughts through time and over distances.

Then there was technology. Computing mechanizes “any intellectual activity we can imagine…” and “pervades nearly all human endeavors.” Which is why coding is so important!


Coding is a very useful and differentiating skill to have. A non-profit Coalition for Queens recently started a program called Access Code. A training program that teaches the Queens community how to code iOS applications. “Six months after the first Access Code class of 21 students completed the 18 week course, the 15 graduates who accepted job offers have seen their income rise from under $15,000 to an average of $72,190; the other six students are either still in college or have chosen to launch their own startups.” That is a tremendous income increase, just having the basic knowledge of coding. 

And guess what? Learning to code, isn’t hard. You can learn it yourself! Code Academyis a a website that has numerous coding tutorials, all for FREE! You can learn to code different languages such as Javascript, HTML/CSS, PHP, Python, Ruby, and API.

I made an account, and spend two hours on the site. In my two hour trial, I was able to get through multiple tutorials, and over 50 exercises! (I have had some previous experience with coding, having taken a couple of computer science classes) I really enjoyed these tutorials, they were very easy to use and follow along with. They are all hands on do it yourself tutorials, that provide extra help if you need it. Here are a few screen shots of some of the tutorials I completed, and what they look like!

Screen shot 2014-04-28 at 9.15.49 AM

Screen shot 2014-04-28 at 11.11.02 AM

In summary, coding is important and a excellent skill to know in the digital marketing realm. And if you don’t know how to do it, go make an account on Code Academy!


Paid, Owned, Earned and Shared Media

It is known that consumers nowadays are more aware of being targets for advertisements, and often ignore them. Although they are still popular, marketers have been finding ways around direct advertisements. Using inbound marketing, content marketing and social media marketing, businesses are able to engage customers with different methods that are less invasive, more interactive and still get their message across, and achieve the ultimate goal of building an audience. When people think of traditional media promotion, most people think of paid, owned and earned media. Well what are they exactly? Here is a table from Sean Corcoron explaining the different types of ‘traditional’ media: Screen shot 2014-04-23 at 12.01.29 AM

Owned media is the channel that has the most control, is versatile and allows for high customization. Paid media is paying a third party to reach their previously accumulated audience. Its primary goal is awareness, bringing traffic to your media. It is beneficial because it is immediate, and the message is controlled and reaches the market. Earned Media: allows communication between you and your customers, which not only builds relationships, but also provides feedback. It builds trust, and is free advertising. The negative is that it can get out of control, and doesn’t have a concept of scale.

The primary differences between the three are the content control, and how you’re getting your audience. Today, marketers do not think knowing the difference between the three will be as beneficial to the development of your digital strategies. Instead, according to an article by Steve Kerho, some believe that digital content development and management should be considered through the terms paid and shared media.

Shared Media: media that is shared between the marketer and the consumer, ultimately taking away the divide between earned and owned media. This brings up the idea of user-generated content (UGC) and how consumer should be able to contribute to the content that is created on different channels. Customers want to have a voice in media channels, and want to be able to contribute. A good example is Starbucks’ “My Starbucks” page on their website. My Starbucks is a platform for customers to submit their feedback and ideas for new products, services, and offerings. This allows customer engagement and interaction between the company and the consumers. Consumers now have higher expectations about how they should be able to interact with brands.

Paid media is ‘touchy’ form of marketing, because many look down upon the use of “cookies.” Cookies, are not the kind you eat, but according to Mark Staton, “pieces of code that track your online behavior.” This makes paid media a controversial form of marketing because some think it is invading people’s privacy. An article by Ad Age goes into detail how the European Union started regulating cookie usage, and explains how your every move online can be tracked. For example, Amazon uses cookies to track your past purchases and to recommend new products, Netflix uses cookies to recommend you new movies, and without cookies this wouldn’t be possible. Google would give you search results in wrong cities!

cookies patrick star

Now what happens if cookies become regulated everywhere? Ad Age‘s answer is through native advertising. Native advertising is advertising content that doesn’t look like advertising. This is beneficial for businesses because “users are more likely to respond positively to marketing tactics that don’t look like advertising – but instead take the form of the rest of the content on the website or platform.” This marketing tactic is engaging, builds an audience, and people aren’t necessarily aware they’re looking at an ad.

hide and seek cats

The down side of native advertising is that it is very time consuming to create rich content, and it takes time for it to produce results. Although sometimes difficult to produce engaging content, a good example of well executed native advertising is Buzzfeed. Buzzfeed has rich and captivating content, along with advertisements that most users are unaware of. In the following screenshot of a Buzzfeed page, you can see the article about PlayStation, and then the ad for Sony Entertainment circled, and also makes multiple appearances along the right side of the page:


It’s apparent that marketing has taken a digital turn. People see over 3,000 advertisements daily whether they are aware of it or not, and the Internet only increases this number. Social media has sponsored posts all over the pages, friends are frequently sharing content on various social networks.

No one loves Google more than Google: Google+ the New Network

Google Plus, you might have heard about it, but like many people still might know what it actually is… Well what is it? Google Plus is a social media platform that extends past the social network itself, also connecting all of Google’s properties. You no longer need an invite to join, but you’re probably thinking that it’s just another social network. You’re already on Facebook and Twitter, so why would you need to have yet another social media account?


According to Social Media Today, Google Plus is “arguable the most important social network for businesses and marketers and should be integral to content-focused SEO strategy.” Google Plus is important for businesses because it can increase their online presence. In an article on Forbes, Linda Sherman, a consultant and former CEO of ClubMed Japan made this statement about Google Plus, “people who are ignoring it are falling behindGoogle Plus can give you access to influencers who might not notice you elsewhere…There is a nice spirit of camaraderie that people seldom feel with well-established platforms.” You might not be on Google Plus, but your customers still are. 

“No one loves Google more than Google.” Having a Google Plus account can help you be searched on Google. It can build your audience, help you make connections and increase your ranking.

Reasons to be on Google Plus:

  • Integrated Content – Google+ makes it easy to share content across all of Googles platforms (Gmail, Maps, Chrome, Google Play and YouTube)
  • +1 button – If Google Plus was Facebook, the ‘+1’ button would be the same as the ‘like’ button. This is good for SEO rankings for a business. The more +1’s a page has, the more popular the page is and the higher the page ranks
  • Google Circles – This feature allows users to categorize who they are following and their followers, which makes it easier to target messages to corresponding or relevant audiences. Circle examples are “Friends,” “Family,” “Work,” and “Local Businesses.” Extended circles allows friends of friends to see your shared content; again, extending your visibility and reach.
  • Google Authorship – Google Authorship links your Google Plus profile to the content you create. The more you share the more visibility you get, resulting with a better ranking.
  • Hangouts – are essentially group chats through text or video, allowing communication with a maximum of 10 people at once. A Hangout on Air is a broadcasted hangout that can be seen during or after the hangout. This is beneficial for promotions through email and Youtube.
  • Communities – are chat forums on specific topics, products or services that are created by brands or individuals to converse and share information. Communities are good for relationship management, getting leads, building authority, creating brand awareness, and getting customer feedback.
  • Events – Google Plus events are similar to Facebook events, easy to share and create, but they are more interactive. Users on other Google properties can easily transfer events to calendars and emails on Gmail and Google Calendar.
  • Business Pages and Places – these help Google find your page and share your information such as, store hours, location, phone number, also providing a Google map. These are important features of Google Plus because “97% of consumers search for local businesses online.”
  • Insights – are statistics for your page traffic. For example, number of views and in what area, number of interactions, and what activity worked. This is really important for businesses because it gives them feedback on their content, which allows them to alter future content to help them build authority and their audience.


Social Media Today offers some tips to optimize your Google+ usage:

  • Be Visual – post engaging content, adding pictures and videos
  • Start a Community – can promote users to promote knowledge, and share interests and your brand, as well as get customer feedback
  • Set up Google Authorship – is a very important rank signal, and can increase rank in organic search
  • Share content from a range of sources – posting and sharing adjacent content, other or related content  that your customers would look at, builds your authority
  • Make the most of your profile – be sure to include all your business information (including your other social media networks) on your About page on your profile and use intriguing images to captivate users attention.
  • Improve the images you post – images are a good attention getters, and Google Plus offers image editing options

It is important for businesses to have an established online presence in today’s technologically integrated society. Being on as many social media platforms you can, and posting valuable and engaging content increases your visibility. Google Plus is an important growing social network to have a presence on in order to build relationships, your authority and your brand. If you don’t have an account now, you need to make one!


Second is the first loser – increase your rank using SEO!

The Seattle Sounders player, Zach Scott once told me “you miss every shot you don’t take.” To be successful in the digital age, organizations need to have an online presence; or in other words be searchable. Most Internet traffic occurs through search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. But, if unable to be found by search engines, businesses are missing the opportunities that these search engines provide.

According to Moz’s Beginners Guide to SEO, “search engines’ primary responsibility is to serve relevant results to their users,” by having 2 main functions:

  1. Crawling and Building Index – Automated robots (spiders) search the web for documents, pages, files, news, videos and media through the use of links, and store them in hard drives in order for them to be recalled when searched
  2. Providing Answers – Using algorithms, search engines provide answers to user queries (the words/phrases entered into a search) usually through a list of relevant pages, which are ranked by perceived usefulness.

Popularity matters. Search engines’ results are based on the importance of a page, which is interpreted by its popularity. The more popular a page is, the more valuable its information is. Most Internet users know that the top results are usually the best results.


So why is this important?

  • Search is the primary method of navigation for most Internet users
  • Search provides opportunities for organizations
  • To have empathy for your audience (know what they want and appeal to them)
  • Ranking of search results determines credibility
  • Top ranked searches get the most visibility and traffic

desperate google search

“Second is the first loser,” another quote told to me by professional soccer player Zach Scott. The top three search results get the most traffic. How do we become the top search results? Search engine optimization (SEO). What is SEO? Moz, (formerly known as SEOmoz) defines it as:

  • Search Engine Optimization: “improving and promoting a website in order to increase the number of visitors the site receives from search engines”

If you read my last post, “They want you, to want them – Inbound Marketing” you might have caught on that SEO and inbound marketing go hand in hand. Using search engine optimization increases a sites’ ability to be found, or searched, increasing its overall rank. Inbound marketing is attracting potential customers to your page through engaging content. A site can be searched, but not have good content, or a site can have good content, but not be found. They are peanut butter and jelly!

By adding keywords, or simply restructuring a website can make all the difference in showing up in a search. Keywords are essential and the most important for search. When search engines spiders crawl, they organize their findings based on keywords. For example, to find this awesome cat .gif, I searched “cute cat gifs” (originally looking for something cute, but this was way cooler) and the first link that resulted (believe it or not) was!


Keywords are the “money makers” in search marketing, being able to produce high returns. Though keywords, one can learn about buying behaviors and motivations, which is important to compete in the market. This is also the basis of inbound marketing, getting the customer to find the company. Having an optimal page, with keywords, enables and facilitates users to find websites they potentially didn’t even know existed. (One should have only assumed a web page solely dedicated to cat gifs existed) Here are some keyword tips:

Where to put keywords:

  • Tag in title at least once
  • Prominently near the top of the page
  • 2-3 times in the body of the page
  • URL
  • Alt code of an image
  • Meta description of a tag

Important reminders when using keywords:

  • Relevant to content
  • Specificity = less competition
  • Attract the right audience

When using keywords, keep in mind the 3 main types of search queries. This will help understanding customers problems and help to provide them with answers:

  1. Transactional Queries (Do): making a purchase
  2. Informational Queries (Know): seeking information
  3. Navigation Queries (Go): seeking an online destination

Keywords gone wrong! Jonathan Strickland does a good job explaining black hat SEO techniques in his article “How Search Engine Optimization works,” which are something one should not participate in!

Black Hat SEO techniques:

  • Keyword stuffing: “altering search results by over using keywords on a page.” This can consist of inserting words that are not relevant to a pages’ content.(although this may sound like a good idea, it can hurt  your ranking, or attract the wrong people)
  • Invisible keywords (cloaking): inserting words that aren’t visible to web users, usually because the color of the text matches the background. But since spiders decipher content through HTML, they detect text even if people can’t see it.


SEO companies track and analyze data in order to continually improve SEO strategies. Keeping track of rankings, referrals, links and keyword searches is how SEO is successful. Moz recommends the following metrics to track:

  1. Search engine share of referring visits
  2. Visits referred by specific search engines
  3. Visits referred by specific search engine teams and phrases
  4. Conversion rate by search query term/phrase
  5. Number of pages receiving at least one visit from search engines

Inbound marketing wouldn’t be possible without search engine marketing. SEO increases the chances for customers to find businesses. Increasing presence and accessibility on the Internet is a good thing. Although you may have implemented these strategies to your page, increasing rank takes time.

dwight clark seo


They want you, to want them – Inbound Marketing

Lets face it, marketing has changed. Everyday people see thousands of advertisements whether they are aware of it or not. Marketers are no longer focused on finding you. They want you to want them, they want you to need them, and they want you to find them. The intrusive traditional ways such as cold calling, print advertisements and trade shows, also known as outbound marketing are being replaced. Instead, marketers have made a transition towards inbound marketing, getting you to come to them.

According to Marketo, “at its core, inbound marketing is about creating interesting, informative, and even entertaining content and optimizing and distributing it across online channels so it can be found by – and hopefully engage – prospective buyers.”

honey boo boo content-marketing-meme

How does inbound marketing work? Hubspot, a leading developer of inbound marketing tools, describes inbound marketing with four marketing actions:

  1. Attract – You need to attract the “ideal customer.” Getting the right traffic is important because your whole business is based around these customers. Important tools:  blogging, social media, keywords, and webpage optimization
  2. Convert – This is where you turn your site visitors into potential leads. Obtaining contact information is crucial, so you need to offer them something of value, such as ebooks, whitepapers or tip sheets. Important tools: calls-to-action, landing pages, forms and contacts
  3. Close – Turn leads into customers. Giving each lead a personalized experience in their lifecycle stage is important. Keep track of which efforts brought the best leads. Important tools: lead scoring, email, marketing automation, closed-loop reporting
  4. Delight – It is important to maintain a relationship with customers even after they make a purchase. To do this you need to provide context – or engaging content to give them the inbound experience. Important tools: smart calls to action, social media, email and marketing automation

hubspot inbound marketing actions

The last step of the four marketing actions is delight. Dharmesh Shah, the chief technology officer and co-founder of Hubspot stated in the “2013 Inbound Keynote,” that the most important goal is customer “delightion.” Strive to give an exceptional buying experience so the customer is more than delighted. This is bigger than customer lifetime value (CLV) because not only does it result with customer loyalty, but it turns the customer into an advocate. Shah stated “the most valuable customers are not those who buy the most, your most valuable customers are those who sell the most.” Customer advocates tell their friends, who tell their friends = free advertisement.

inbound marketing vs outbound marketing

So what are some of the benefits of inbound marketing?

  • Interactive communication
  • Non-intrusive way of getting customers to come to you, therefore making your target market is more easily reached
  • Provided value, entertaining and educating (potential) customers
  • Content can be shared via blogs, third party sites and social media
  • Cost effective (no costs for print or TV ads, internet is viral)
  • Easy to track return on investment (ROI)
  • No blocking techniques (do not call list, spam filters)

Touching back on Hubspot’s “2013 Inbound Keynote,” they introduced three new inbound marketing products.

  1. the Social Inbox
  2. the Content Optimization System
  3. Signals

The Social Inbox

Browsing Twitter feeds for particular subjects is like searching for a needle in a haystack. But with the Social Inbox, Brian Halligan, CEO and co-founder of Hubspot says it’s “all needles, no hay.” The Social Inbox is a new way to personally organize content on social media such as Twitter. Not only does it allow you to filter through specific topics, but it also allows you to differentiate the users who are doing the talking.

How does it do this? Well first, you create a social media stream. You start a new stream, which is designed around three three simple questions

  1. Who do you want to listen to? e.g. leads, customers
  2. What do you want to listen for? e.g. keywords Hubstop & inbound marketing
  3. How do you want to be notified? e.g. email vs. app

This is beneficial because it let’s you get to know the customer on another level, allowing you to give them the best inbound experience possible.  Regular websites, and social media can’t tell the difference in their visitors or the devices they are using to access them.

The Content Optimization System (COS)

This may sound familiar, but what you’re probably thinking is CMS (content management system). These are different! A typical CMS system in Halligan’s words “turns your brochure into a website or online presence.” In this case, when a visitor visits the page, they get experience A. When a lead visits the page, the get experience A. And when a customer visits the page, they get experience A. It provides the same experience to everyone.

The content optimization system on the other hand, tailors content to specific people. The goal is to give people the best experience possible by understanding their relationship and the device they are using. COS allows companies to provide custom home pages for visitors, leads and customers, and personalize it by adding different tags such as their name and company. This gives visitors experience A, leads with experience B, and customers with experience C. This adds to the inbound experience, and benefits your company.


Signals in a new innovative technology that works inside of other applications. It gives you real-time notifications, providing better communication with leads and customers. It is similar to the Facebook messaging feature where you can see if the recipient has read the message or not, combined with the subscribe feature of being notified when someone posts a new status.

With Signals, you can “watch” new leads on platforms such as their LinkedIn. You will be notified if any changes are made to their page, and if you send them a message, you can see if they have read it, or have clicked on any links. Sales people struggle with following-up with customers and potential clients. With Signals, there is no mistake of forgetting to follow-up and no need to spam, it makes communication more efficient and effective.

These products were very interesting to learn about, because they are very interactive, and almost invasive. The word invasive might be too strong of a word, but the amount of information that can be yielded off of Internet tracking is unbelievable. I thought the tools were very innovative, and spins off of existing technology used throughout social media (in some aspects), but it will be interesting to see how crucial they become for businesses.

To reiterate, inbound marketing “helps potential customers find your company – often before they are even looking to make a purchase – and then turns that early awareness into brand preference and, ultimately, into leads and revenue.” (Marketo)

cat high five gif

If you didn’t post it, it didn’t happen… #DigiMark2pt3 #FirstPost

MARI SETIJONO — born and raised in the greater Seattle area, I am grateful to call the Pacific Northwest my home. Currently a senior at Western Washington University, I am working on obtaining my Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a focus in marketing and a minor in communication. Can I stay in college forever? Just kidding, get me out of here… (just not back to my parents’ house)

This quarter I am enrolled in Digital Marketing, with Mark Staton, PhD. I am stoked to be taking this class; I have heard nothing but great things about it! Last year I had Staton as a professor for Principles of Marketing and he undoubtably was one of my favorite professors, which is also the primary reason why I wanted to take this class. His teaching style really appealed to my learning style, and with his use of case studies and examples he made everything applicable to “real life.”

In today’s and age, media is immensely integrated into our lives. To the point where “six out of every seven people in the world have Internet access,” according to Google’s Squared Online’s 2013 infographics on social media engagement. How dependent people, myself included, are on the Internet is almost frightening. “If you didn’t post it, it didn’t happen.” Hashtag, hashtag hashtag. People’s lives are exploited on the internet. Stalking people on the internet through social media is a daily occurring, nonchalant thing. What did you do for spring break? Oh wait, why did I ask? I already saw it all online.

facebook stalking gif
There are massive amounts of information that can be derived from Internet usage, and through analysis of web searches, key words, transactions, etcetera,  companies can learn or predict almost anything. For example, Target predicting pregnancies. Kind of creepy, huh? But brilliant! Which is also what makes this so interesting!

Because of this, I am really looking forward to learning more about digital marketing. More specifically, obtaining the technical skills, becoming Google Analytics Certified. This is also exciting because it was heavily talked about in Principles of Marketing.

With this rate of data analysis, look at what ordering pizza has the potential to be like!

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

Through the analyzation of five different metropolitan areas, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Seattle, this article differentiates skill and knowledge requirements for entry-, lower-, middle-, and upper-level marketing jobs. This deemed to be a very insightful article, because I and I’m sure many of my fellow classmates are nearing graduation.

An overall summary of the research findings were that advanced technical skills were a high requirement for all levels of jobs. It was interesting to learn that many of the skills necessary were not in the “marketing curriculum.” This also made me grateful for Western’s marketing program because I have learned about the importance of search engine optimization, pay-per-click and analytics — and am really hoping to expand that knowledge through this class. Marketing is not just advertisements, there is a lot more behind it. Where does market research come from? Analyzing data and behaviors.

This brings me back to the Target article. Through the use of analytics, they can predict consumers’ buying behaviors, and also analyze the company’s behaviors as well. With such information, marketers can distinguish purchase patterns and consumer’s purchase processes in order to predict future needs. It was very interesting to read that during pregnancy is the perfect time to try sway consumers out of their habits. You can learn almost anything about people through the analyzation of information. Having a technical skill set can really distinguish one in the job market.

Article: Forrester Interactive Marketing Forecast 2011 to 2016

Interactive marketing such as, social media, mobile and email marketing, online video, SEO (search engine optimization), and PPC (pay-per-click) are becoming the major player in advertising in comparison to traditional marketing tactics through mediums such as, television, direct mail, magazines, radio, newspapers and telemarketing. The article states that in 2016, it is predicted that $77 billion dollars will be spend on interactive marketing in the United States, which leads to be 35% of all advertisement spending.

This further shows how integrated different forms of media are in our lives. Referencing back to Squared Online’s infographics, an average of 5.2 hours are spend on social media globally. I’m also in a Communication Media Studies class, and we had an ice breaker to get to know the rest of class, by asking each other about our media involvement. Not a single person in the classroom grew up without a TV, and not one person didn’t have any social media platform. The majority of the class consumed more than three hours of social media per day.

I really enjoyed the statistics this article provided. It was dense with information, but the numbers and graphs really put the importance of interactive marketing into perspective. The importance of interactive marketing for a business is crucial. Companies need to have an online presence.

It is interesting to think how much goes into a good website, or good ads. When using Google, people generally don’t think about how the top search results get there, but most web-surfers would agree that the top results are always the cream of the crop. And then you learn that it was all on purpose, it was planned. It is a strategy. Either someone paid for the the ranking, or added some special words into their website for it to show up more. It’s almost as if it’s a crazy mind game. (Marketing is so cool)

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Article: State of Digital Marketing Talent

The gist of this article under my interpretation was basically “You are what you eat.” The  marketing industry is what it is made up of. Listed I have summarized the seven main findings of digital marketing talent discussed through this article in my own words:

1. There’s a digital marketing talent gap – Employee’s do not live up to employer’s expectations in all skill areas.

2. Employees are lacking necessary skills – Technical skills are important skills to have in the Marketing field. More specifically, knowledge of analytics, mobile marketing, and  marketing automation are needed.

3. It’s about who you know – With a large talent gap, it is deemed a hard task to differentiate between employee candidates. References will get you jobs.

4. Inadequate employee training leads to miss opportunities – Without established programs, organizations investments through their employees don’t result with substantial returns or benefits.

5. Inconsistency throughout an organization hinders the business as a whole – Because there are no industry-wide standards, businesses need to be clear and consistent through their expectations and requirements for employees, and their assessment criteria on these expectation and requirements. There needs to be a mutual understanding on clear and concise goals.

6. Have a good attitude – You get what you earn. Not everything is handed to you, and if you work hard, and are open minded it will eventually (hopefully) pay off.

7. Digital education programs need to be implemented for marketing students – the talent gap needs to bridged. What is taught in school should be applicable to real life.

After reading this article, I was sure happy I am enrolled in Western’s Marketing program! College is increasingly getting more expensive, with the goal of obtaining knowledge and skills that will (or at least should) help me in life. The main point of this article was that there is inadequate talent. Whether it be graduate students who didn’t learn the skills, or the organization isn’t teaching the skills,  there are skills lacking.

To tie all three articles together, digital marketing is the new “thing.” And more importantly the technical skills that contribute to digital marketing are crucial for the industry.

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