At the beginning of every semester, I ask my students the same first questions: “Why are they there (in the class) and what is the main objective?” The answer is always the same. In short: To get a job. What I mean by this is to prepare them to get a job in digital marketing and know what to do once they sit there on their first day in the job. I do this because I believe young people have an advantage over folks my age. To quote Don Tapscott (author of wikinomics), they were born digital. Unlike older generations, most young people already know the tools, for example, on how to create a blog or a twitter account. Those that don’t, will most likely pick it up in one class. Digital is like using a pencil for young people. They just need a real understanding of marketing to bring these digital skills and tools together.
Apart from the actual tools – what students learn in the class is how to match up these tools with marketing problems. When should they use search marketing? What are a marketer’s other options? How best to spend the marketing budget? Should they do some online advertising? If so, what type of result can you expect? When should companies not blog? I like to use practical examples, often ones I am directly involved in from my own work.
For example last week we talked about email marketing. The students are bright. They won’t find it to difficult to actually create, send and measure the results of an email campaign. But they need to understand about building trust as a brand and knowing how often to email or when not to email. They need to know that emails must only be sent to people that ask for them and want them. That is the tough part later when they have their digital marketing jobs. Holding on to the principles and discipline so you build trust.
Paul Dervan holds a Bachelor in Business from Trinity College Dublin and an MBA from the Smurfit School at University College Dublin. He has worked in the Digital Marketing field for several years and is currently O2 Ireland’s Brand and Marketing Manager. Once a week, he teaches the ‘Internet-Based Marketing’ course (MKT 250) for Champlain College Dublin. Paul publishes his marketing blog on the side too; www.pauldervan.com