Digital Marketing/ Digital Marketing Strategies is a valuable class for everyone. Those interested in business, marketing, social media, those who just need to catch up on how this fast paced world works and where it is heading, and many more can benefit from this course. The main ideas and takeaways from the course that everyone should know include: how marketing/business has changed with technology, where we are heading, and how to promote yourself. Professor Perry Drake does an excellent job of keeping up on trends and information about technology and social media, as well as passing that information on to his students.
Main Takeaway 1: How marketing and business have changed with technology
Of course, this is the main topic of the course. The world is changing fast, and so is business. whether or not you are a current student, want to back to school, business major, or non business major, we all need to know about this change. Professor Drake does an excellent job of explaining this to students, because even young students who have social media accounts, and use mobile technology daily usually do not fully understand how it all works, and how it impacts businesses and individuals. Businesses today typically cannot survive without adapting to technology change. As consumers change and accept new technology, businesses must do the same to be able to reach their markets. Understanding how businesses use communication platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email, Google, and more is useful information for anyone to have, and that is what taking Digital strategies at the University of Missouri St. Louis allows students to do.
Not only does Professor Drake teach his students information on digital, but they also learn from one another. Another aspect of the digital strategies class is the fact that each student gives presentations in class regarding trends, changes, new products, new companies, etc. in and around the social/digital space. This opportunity allows individual students to do research, read articles, become experts on a certain subject, and teach that subject to their classmates. On the other hand, the students listening to the presentations, get to learn additional information not taught directly from the professor in a different format.
Another way students can learn as they go is by the fact that digital strategies is a hybrid class. This means that the class meets in person once a week, and has the other days of the week to work the class modules. The modules are a good way of learning outside of the traditional method. These are opportunities for students to go more hands on with technology and do projects, listen to presentations, watch videos, and take in a lot of information from different sources which allows for students to vary the way they learn and gives a more complete and well rounded education. Beyond taking in all of this information, we also put this information into use. Professor Drake’s students have bi-weekly homework and quizzes. Also, a few hands on projects (SEO, Google Analytics, and Online Branding), and of course discussion boards. Discussion boards are a great way to interact with other students outside of class. It is a platform for students to give and receive the opinions of others respectfully, and a good way to get students really thinking about problems, issues, and questions facing our society relating to technology and digital marketing.
Professor Perry Drake at UMSL also practices what he preaches. he uses technology on a regular basis to communicate with students. He uses the Bonfyre application as a communication tool for his courses. Bonfyre is an app designed to allow large groups of people chat and have private group conversations. Discovering and using this app was one of my favorite parts of the class. It was very convenient for us students to be able to post a question about the homework, the final, the schedule, etc. and have it be seen by everyone in the group immediately. I would recommend more courses use this app whether they are business related or not because this is an excellent tool for students to have at their disposal.
Main Takeaway 2: where the world is going.
Another aspect of this course and something all digital strategies students should have taken away is looking into the future of digital, social, Google, and so on. Much of this information came in the form of student presentations and guest speakers for the course. Many of the articles that were presented by students in class covered the future in terms of new products, new companies, or how companies will be changing to stay relevant or reach more of their target markets.
For example, my presentation for the course was over a new product from Snapchat, the Snapchat Spectacles. When this article was presented, the product had not yet been released. They are basically (relatively) inexpensive sunglasses that have cameras in the top corners. They allow the user to take first person point of view videos hands free and upload them to their Snapchat account. This product has since been put on the market in a limited manner. It was cool to be able to talk about a future product and now be able to see that the product is real and available to purchase. Presentations like this and more are what students who take digital strategies at UMSL can experience.
Also, students will learn the future of companies and industries from professionals in the field in the form of guest speakers. We had two guest speakers throughout our semester, and both were very interesting and knowledgeable. Personally, my favorite was TJ from AT&T who spoke on the future of television. It is a good learning experience to listen to a professional from inside the industry speak on future trends. The discussion was essentially about how television was heading towards a lot more streaming technology and services, and it will have much more targeted ads in the future.
Main Takeaway 3: Branding yourself
Finally, teaching students of all ages about self branding was another one of professor Drake’s main goals for the course. Particularly focusing on using Linkedin effectively and its importance in finding jobs and getting your name out there. Linkedin is essentially an online resume and a way for professionals to interact, network, and find employees. In Digital strategies class, there were many discussions on Linkedin and its proper usage. To ensure that everyone takes their linkedin profile seriously and sets it up correctly, it was actually included as part of the mid term grade for the course. Many of the students like myself had a Linkedin account but it was not done correctly, or it was not used or updated for a long time. This is another reason I am glad I took this class. Now I have a new and updated picture, job history, skills, and summary for my Linkedin profile and I feel much more confident in my ability to brand myself.
I feel that the skills and knowledge I acquired in taking digital strategies with Perry Drake at UMSL are well worth the time and money to take the course. This is a course designed for business students, but I do not nee it as a course only for business students. Anyone is able to benefit in learning how the world has changed, where it is going, how to brand yourself, and more!