Digital Marketing Degree at UofM Dearborn

I am currently enrolled as a student at the University of Michigan Dearborn College of Business. My majors are Digital Marketing and Information Technology Management. I think the weight of this duel degree will carry a special edge upon entering the business world. UofM Dearborn was one of the very first schools to offer this specialized degree in Digital Marketing. It is important to understand how this degree is different than a normal Marketing degree and the ramifications it will have for the business world.

Why is this degree so important? The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the market research analysts and marketing specialists increase in number is at 32% expectancy during 2012-2022, surpassing the national average of merely 11% for other professions. This is clear evidence that not only will jobs in this field be available, but businesses will be actively seeking out candidates to fill these positions. Commonly, a business faces a dilemma when looking to hire digital marketers. They must either hire a person skilled in regular marketing that must be trained extensively or they must hire in a seasoned digital marketing veteran that requires a much higher salary. Businesses instead will now be looking to fill this void with students that have this pertinent degree.

More and more businesses are moving their marketing campaigns to focus heavily on their online platforms. The perks of marketing this way are more extensive than merely reaching a wider audience than other marketing means. Online marketing allows for real time analytics to be transferred back to the people running the campaign. This allows the business to alter and change their campaign as they see fit. Also, in this day and age information is king. Digital marketing allows for companies to collect their own information and data free of charge.

Here at the University of Michigan Dearborn, we have classes that focus mainly on digital marketing and are supplemented with traditional marketing courses. These classes range from learning how to rank a webpage on the first page of Google to processing and transposing data analytics in a meaningful way. The core classes required for the digital marketing major are as follows:

  • Digital Consumer Search and Marketing
  • Communications Strategy and New Media
  • Digital Analytics and Content
  • Marketing and Research
  • E-tailing and Retailing

From here a student must also choose two of the following classes:

  • Managing Electronic Commerce Systems
  • Understanding Consumers
  • Marketing Management
  • Global Marketing and Consumer Culture
  • Database Systems 1
  • Advanced Computer Applications

All of these requirements are in addition to the normal classes needed for a Bachelor’s in Business Administration.

The uses of this degree are endless. A person with this degree is equipped to handle social media pages, website management, content management, digital analytics, etc. With everything going digital these days, it only make sense that marketing will continue down this path too.

The 10 Most ANNOYING Marketing Buzzwords

Calling all marketers! Get ready to disrupt (yup, that’s one of them) your digestive tract with marketing clichés that will make you puke. These marketing buzz terms are polluting creative minds everywhere – and there might even be scientific evidence linking these cringe-worthy catchphrases to Millennials’ intense feelings of “I don’t want a desk job”. It’s certainly possible. However, for everyone else, can we make a pact?

As fellow marketers and creative professionals, let’s kindly retire (or extinguish) these irritating phrases so we can all evolve past this “noise” cluttering our industry. Are you with me?!

1. Disruption

First, let’s be clear. “Disruption” is really more of a business term. It describes a market condition that takes place when an existing market collapses and a new one emerges. It’s actually very similar to “Disruptive Innovation” which happens when a new market comes to fruition entirely. Uber might be a great example of both – depending on how you look at it.

However, when this “Wall Street” phrase ended up leaking all over Madison Avenue, “disruption” and “disruptive” became overly used, watered down terms that essentially started to mean nothing.

Certainly “Creative Disruption”, might have a place, as it refers to exposing business model flaws and promoting big changes in consumer behaviour (in the creative sense). However, I can’t help but wonder whether some Agency Account Director just throws out “disruptive” terms just to win some big account. I mean, come on. Disrupt what? Isn’t it our job as marketers to change consumer habits and get noticed?

2. Growth hacking

Okay, I realize that “hacking” is supposed to mean “coding” in this sense (not cutting down), but this phrase sure does sound like an oxymoron to me!

Popularized by Sean Ellis and other techies in the early 2000s, the term was meant to describe non-traditional ways to achieve growth through experimental marketing strategies and emerging technologies. READ: this is also a glorified way of describing underpaid “bootstrappers” (oh, but with equity of course!) trying to unlock the key to “crowd culture” (yawn).

Perhaps growth-hacking was a relevant, meaningful term 15 years ago, but not today. Most marketers are expected to (magically) achieve growth with technological brilliance and creativity because it’s our job. Sound like a lot of pressure? Well, welcome to marketing.

3. SoLoMo

Oh no-no. If your ears have not been scarred yet by this irritating term (in what seems like “slow-mo”), it means “Social-Local-Mobile” as if this is some genius concept or secret to being relevant. So, please, don’t use this catch-phrase. Ever.

4. Actionable Insights

Actionable? As opposed to “Well, we learned something today, and we’re not going to do anything about it”.

I mean, am I missing something? Where does one look for “actionable insights”? Is this something people need in addition to regular insights? For example, if I’m comparing landing page performance in The Marketing Manager, and I see one campaign outperforming the other, I think I know what action to take. Do you?

5. Seamless Integration

If you work in the tech sector, I bet you are emphatically nodding your head “yes”. This godawful term is about as common and meaningless as your vendor saying “we have an API” when asked “does your product do (xyz)?”.

In fact, let’s just throw in some puzzle pieces to truly visually convey (because we’re idiots) that our software seamlessly integrates (puke) with boredom and clichés. After all, we need to “scream” that each piece of our ho-hum app actually functions when interfacing with some other random technology.

And while this style of tech marketing seems awfully common (more like ubiquitous), to me, it feels rather ironic. After all, I’m pretty sure that puzzle pieces have jagged, noticeable edges. Don’t they?

Besides, there is no such thing as “seamless” integration. It takes work and maintenance for two tools to “talk” to one another – and you (the consumer) get to pay for it. There you have it.

6. Turn-key (and everything “key” in general)

Let’s face it. If someone offers you a “turn-key”, “off the shelf” solution, does it make you open your wallet? Personally, it makes me turn into a glazed-over zombie. Why? Because even if something is difficult, a brand will either never admit it or up-sell you the “turn-key” solution (rigor mortis setting in).

Now of course, I understand that this term was once synonymous with “effortless”. Nevertheless, it has since evolved into a useless adjective that lazy marketers use to describe some blah-blah-blah with blah-blah-blah. That being said, I propose we lock up this useless adjective (pun intended).

In fact, as long as we are stuck on cliché doorway analogies, can we please also stop saying [anything]gate to describe a conspiracy theory? Maybe I’m being unreasonable, but I would love it if people could coin something new. After all, the key (cringe) to creative marketing is to explain concepts meaningfully. That’s why “turn-key” is no longer descriptive; tell me WHY something is so effortless – in an engaging, concise way. Does this sound difficult? Well it is. That’s why creative people have jobs.

7. Content Is King

Yawn. “Content is king” and “(whatever) is queen” sounds like a big, gay party – but everyone’s really bored with it.

It’s no mystery. Live sports and fan favorites like “The Walking Dead” keep Cable television in business. After all, those Cable bills are expensive! Perhaps that’s why this cringe-worthy, irritating phrase simply won’t die; decision-makers in the media universe are ignoring the fact that modern consumers are stingy with their time. How else can we explain this endless sea of boring content?

Maybe I’m wrong, but here is my understanding of modern consumers (who all have built-in A.D.D)

AWESOME content = I will only tolerate ads if they cannot be blocked. And if I really hate ads, I will PAY to have them blocked – so please stop forcing these painful pre-rolls and what feels like 10-minute commercial blocks on me.

BORING content = I hate you for wasting my time – also known as “get out of my in-box” syndrome while emphatically clicking “spam”.

Assuming that the media gods disagree with me, I believe this painful phrase will continue to exist.

8. Advertainment

Speaking of “content is crap”, marketers make up stupid terms like “advertainment” to seem like they’re solving some really big cultural problem – but they’re not.

“Advertainment” is essentially just an annoying way to explain “branded content”, product placement or flat-up fantastic marketing in disguise. I understand the concept, but here’s the problem: if you call your own work “advertainment”, you sound like a pompous fop.

Don’t get me wrong – some marketers have managed to make advertising very entertaining, including Red Bull with their adrenaline junkie videos, and AMC with their Walking Dead and Mad Men apps (also known as “gamification” – which theoretically could make this list).

Nevertheless, does “advertainment” really solve a problem? I guess so, but can we please not call it that?

In all seriousness though, if you are a marketer that somehow figured out how to move product without annoying people, congrats. This is an achievement. I’m serious.

9. Ecosystem (to describe everything)

Are we a bunch of ants stuck in a science class diorama demonstrating seamless integration (see term #5 above)? Silicon Valley seems to think so.

We hear this word a lot, especially when some “thought leader” (yawn, could also make this list) is ill-prepared to answer a tough question in a meeting.

“Well you see [insert CEO name here], our next step towards changing consumer behavior patterns is to move the social conversation to the Internet-of-Things ecosystem,” said the slightly hungover marketing executive recovering from last night’s vendor bender.

Look. We’ve all been there, but the use of the word “ecosystem” is starting to feel out of control. Somehow, everything can arguably be an ecosystem, including that Chia Pet they sell in Walmart. Do you see what I mean? Germination. Photosynthesis. Whatever. And it all brings me back to where I started: my seventh-grade science class.

10. Snackable Content

Doesn’t this phrase make you want to vomit? Personally, I find it nauseating, but here’s some “food-for-thought”: the term “content consumption” is actually the mothership concept that spawned this ugly-duckling buzz term. All it means is that time-starved consumers prefer concise headlines, bullet points, easy-to-read lists (unlike mine), and pretty much the opposite of heavy, homogenous-looking text. Makes sense.

Nonetheless, isn’t it amazing how unappetizing this trite phrase sounds? I actually almost puked (in a good way) when Grant Higginson of Welby Consulting tweeted it to us during our “Tweet the most annoying marketing buzzword to win a drone” contest. Needless to say, he won.

When You Should Change Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Digital Marketing is continually evolving and this may seem unsettling at times. Strategies that were working in past, might not be effective in the present. Do you know why many businesses fail to get ahead of their competitors? It’s simply because they are not willing to adapt to the ever-changing world of digital media. But, the great thing about a digital marketing strategy is that you can change them on the fly in response to real-time results and analytics data. While this may seem tricky as if you change things too quickly, you may not be able to find if your strategy worked for long-term. But if you wait for a long time, you are likely to waste your two valuable resources: time and money.

With that said, how do you know when its the right time to change your Digital Marketing strategy? To help you keep up with the fast-paced industry, I’ve created this post to help you know when to change your digital marketing strategy.

Below are the 5 signs to help you decide when to quit your existing strategy.

1. Focusing on low-value metrics

If you’re concentrating on low-value metrics like impressions and clicks, you may be missing out because impressions and clicks only let you know about your marketing visibility. And not the real accuracy of your strategies.

2. Only focusing on your brand not on audience needs

Every marketer wants to spread their brand name but you should not overdo by pasting your brand name all over everything. In fact, make your content educational that focus on your audience problems and needs. This would really help you in targeting buyers in initial stages of the buyer’s journey.

3. Over usage of keywords

Although, it’s required to place keywords in your content, Google’s priority always lies in providing reach user experience and relevancy of content. Google has nothing to do with how many times your site shows the keyword like “Digital Marketing Strategy.”

4. Don’t rely on your instinct

Your prior experience is certainly precious. But your decision-making process should not be only based on what worked in the past. It’s a really bad idea as what worked tomorrow may be completely irrelevant today. Therefore guiding your marketing strategy through objective data will only get you better results.

5. Not integrated

Whether it’s about veteran digital marketer, sitting in IT or a start-up company, it’s too common for digital marketing strategies to be finished in silos. It is an easier way but of course, it’s not effective. It’s true that digital approach works best when it’s integrated with traditional channels.

Now you know that if you need to change your digital marketing strategy or not, here is a complete guide to help you build a new, powerful marketing strategy to achieve your online goals.

What are the essential steps for creating an effective digital marketing strategy?

When creating a marketing strategy for your business, always keep your audience first. Set goals, plan your strategy, implement it, and finally measure your success.

  • Research on your target market and competitors
  • Know your audience because if you don’t them, how can you help them
  • Integrate different marketing strategies and use only the correct tools
  • If you don’t have the required skills set, don’t hesitate to purchase special services
  • Identify your online value proposition and apply it across all digital marketing channels
  • Last but definitely not the least, prepare yourself

But before you do something ask yourself few questions. Asking yourself right questions and having their answers in place will certainly help you make the right decisions. I’ve given some Q’s & A’s below to help you out.

Which digital channels are most effective for you and why?

With so many digital channels around, it gets difficult to choose the best one. So you can identify it with these simple basics:

  • Identify the channel where most of your potential customers like to hang out
  • Analyze your target audience behavior
  • Build awareness with Twitter
  • Attend industry events and conferences
  • Social media and newsletters to reach out to your potential customers
  • SEO or combination of SEO and PPC to help you attract more visitors

How to evaluate your digital marketing activities?

Unfortunately, some companies don’t know how to answer this question correctly. If you’re also one of them, don’t feel embarrassed! Just hop on and find out how can you determine the right metrics and evaluate your current digital marketing activities.

  • Identify your target KPI (Key Performance Indicator) to help you understand what’s working
  • Monitor your website traffic and sales to know the necessary statistics about your customers
  • Track and measure your metrics through Google Analytics
  • Survey your site visitors to find if they’re satisfied with your solutions
  • Track ROI, conversions, market share, and sales

How to make your business stand out from the crowd?

In today’s competitive digital market it’s really difficult to make your business stand out from your competitors. But an effective strategy can help you stay ahead of them. Let’s see how.

  • Effectively communicate and educate your customers
  • Stay honest and transparent to build customer’s loyalty
  • Talk less, listen more
  • Be authoritative and helpful in what you do
  • Know your competitors and learn from them
  • Be creative, open-minded, and try new technologies
  • Speak in your audience language
  • Use proof points and testimonials to show you’re the best

Final Thoughts

As the world of online landscape changes, so should your digital marketing strategy. So it’s essential to stay aware of the changing market and the new advancements in technology to help you grow furthermore.