Tag Archives: marketing
It took me six years, 22 weeks and two days to finish my PhD! Southern New Hampshire University recently posted an article on my journey as well as my thoughts on our new Digital Marketing concentration. I am very excited our students will be benefiting from HubSpot’s Educational Partner Program in courses that are not only user-friendly, but also aligned what employers want , and include industry certification prep.
Read the article here: Spotlight on SNHU Marketing Faculty Lead Dr. J | SNHU
5 Attributes of Thought Leaders
Have you ever asked yourself, what makes someone an entrepreneur of ideas, a so-called thought leader? The ability to invent and spread the word about newfangled concepts? A master of the TED Talk? A magnetic Steve Jobs-like personality?
The Marketing Insider Group defines a ‘thought leader’ as someone who “tap[s] into the talent, experience, and passion inside your business, or from your community, to consistently answer the biggest questions on the minds of your target audience, on a particular topic.” Thought leaders are innovators and forest-for-the trees types, not borrowers, technicians or, as Friedrich Hayek (1899-1992) called intellectuals, “professional secondhand dealers in ideas.”
With tongue in cheek, New York Times columnist David Brooks describes the thought leader:
“The Thought Leader is sort of a highflying, good-doing yacht-to-yacht concept peddler. Each year, he gets to speak at the Clinton Global Initiative, where successful people gather to express compassion for those not invited. Month after month, he gets to be a discussion facilitator at think tank dinners where guests talk about what it’s like to live in poverty while the wait staff glides through the room thinking bitter thoughts.
He doesn’t have students, but he does have clients. He doesn’t have dark nights of the soul, but his eyes blaze at the echo of the words ‘breakout session.’”
Besides being lampooned, the notion of thought leadership has also been widely criticized. University of Reading Management professor Kevin Money and research fellow Nuno Da Camara call thought leadership “meaningless management speak.” Harvard Business Review writer Dorie Clark comments that “it is very icky when people call themselves thought leaders because that sounds a little bit egomaniacal.” According to Tufts University professor Daniel Drezner, we need fewer thought leaders and more public intellectuals. Perhaps, for these academics, thought leadership is a matter of sour grapes, something they cannot achieve, so they roundly reject it.
Whatever the case, thought leaders are highly sought after by business firms and government agencies. High-performing organizations want these people as their executives, consultants and managers, and they are usually compensated handsomely. Why? Because they possess some or all of the following unique attributes:
- Ambition: They want to achieve the most they can with their novel ideas, both for themselves and the organizations they work for.
- Image conscious: Marketing their ideas and producing the perfect presentation matters, since image impacts how others perceive their brand.
- Big thinking: They care more about the macro-level, the larger picture, and less about the small details or technicalities, which others can always work out later.
- Expertise: They are authorities in the areas of inquiry where they generate the most innovative ideas.
- Ability to see aspects others don’t or cannot see: They detect subtle patterns and larger trends where thought followers fail to.
This last attribute—often called ‘aspect-seeing’—is the most important. To illustrate, look at the Duck-Rabbit image, invented by the Gestalt psychologists and employed by the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) in his ground-breaking work Philosophical Investigations:
Most people either perceive an image of a duck or an image of a rabbit. The thought leader immediately detects the patterns for both and possibly more. He is adept at seeing aspects of a puzzle or a problem that others cannot.
Is thought leadership something you aspire to? Or is the notion meaningless, icky and/or trendy?
Since 2009 I have been fortunate enough to encounter thousands of undergraduate and graduate business students at two different universities during those years. Whether it be the sophomore or junior taking their first Marketing course, or the graduate student pursuing a masters in marketing with an undergraduate degree in another discipline – I always come across at least one student per term that is fearful and nervous about the course because they have “no experience in marketing“. Typically, this same student refers to simply advertising and commercials in our first class discussions. Not knowing, that those are only but two elements of a discipline that transcends …..
Everyone is a Marketer
A key idea I like to present to my students in the beginning of the term is for them to not think of themselves as marketing novices. I ask them to look at themselves, as consumers. I ask them to consider why they made purchases, why they chose one brand over another, how they prioritized purchases etc. Then, I ask them to take those details and consider ways marketing may have played a roll. This often opens many eyes. Then, I will also ask student to think of themselves as a product, and ask them ways that they could address the 4 P’s (or 7 P’s). Students begin to think from a different perspective. I tell my students, ” YOU are the most important product you will ever market. Brand it accordingly“. Often this self reflection makes many elements of marketing more applicable…..Because everyone is a marketer.
Students know more about Marketing than they realize, they simply need a tour guide to provide the narrative. In this age of push and pull marketing, consumers are marketed to in a variety of ways throughout each day. Marketing is everywhere, even if it is a bit incognito. As part of this narrative, instructors like myself seek textbooks and resources to not only support our lectures and teachings, but to also help show application and relevance. As part of this quest for useful learning resources has evolved, so has the output from publishers. I was lucky enough to review Hunt and Mello’s Marketing some time ago when the 1st edition was being developed. The undergraduate level book presented a novel approach of “everyone is a marketer” that grabbed my attention. Now, the anticipated second edition will be hitting the shelves.
Social Media Marketing
A majority of the courses that I have taught since 2009 are Social Media Marketing courses, my doctoral research centers around Social Media Marketing. So, when I see college level text books devoting one chapter to social, I cringe. I would prefer to supplement the resources with proven business books on the facets of social. However, for an undergrad Marketing course, that is not feasible. Students need a book that not only covers the basic principles of marketing, but also includes the elements of social media marketing into the mix. Just as social media should not operate in a silo in business, it should not be thought of as a stand alone topic – it should be interwoven throughout an introductory marketing book.
So, naturally I was intrigued by Shane Hunt, John Mello, and George Deitz’s approach to Marketing. As I further reviewed the content, I was delighted with the approach they took for the text. The second edition now includes chapters on retailing, personal selling, and digital/social media; while still doing a great job helping students apply marketing to their own career and career search. For example there is a Personal Marketing Plan section woven through the text, where students have the opportunity to really reflect on themselves, their career, and aspirations as the focus of a Marketing Plan. Through a variety of methods, the authors help make the content relevant whatever student career paths may be:
1. Executive Perspective
I really like the ‘Executive Perspective’ added to each chapter. This section features successful professionals who did not major in Marketing, yet use the principles of marketing every day. This addition helps bring concepts and topics to life by showing them in action, in a business environment, by someone in the field.
2. Today’s Professional Perspective
Another great addition to the content is a section (much like the above) in each chapter that highlights a recent graduate addressing the various areas of marketing that a student may find employment in. Again providing students with information that is relevant and timely.
The text includes an interactive feature called Connect. Assignments help students understand and apply concepts covered in the chapters. For example, you can assign textbook readings with SmartBook, and for each chapter there are auto-graded analytics exercises. Not to mention, students have access to the eBook and study tools geared toward their own personal knowledge gaps (based on their interactions with the adaptive learning of SmartBook). This is a great display of content meshed well with technology.
4. Ethical and Global Elements
As opposed to devoting one chapter to Ethics and Globalization, they are woven through the text as a section in each chapter. Students are presented with cases that relate to the chapter topics. which helps give them a more robust view of marketing.
5. Social Media Application
Again, this was a key feature of the text for me. While they offer a chapter on Digital/ Social Media Marketing, there is also the opportunity for student to explore application within a Social Media Application section in each chapter as it relates to specific chapter topics. This is a great way to relate basic principles of marketing to social media as a tool for marketers.
The Chapter Challenge
How does your undergrad text measure up? You can take The Chapter Challenge here. Why am I suggesting you do this?.. Well, for every Challenge completed, McGraw-Hill will make a donation to the American Marketing Association’s Diversity Leadership and Social Impact scholarships. The Chapter Challenge takes about half an hour to complete and invites you to compare Shane Hunt, John Mello, and George Deitz’s Marketing, 2nd edition with your current Marketing Principles course materials.
Take the Challenge and feel free to comment below!
Please see part one of this post here. Then, resume part 2!
The Relationship Between Theory and Research
Science occurs in the context of discovery and/or testing (Strong, 1991). Ellis and Levy (2008) suggest a well-defined research problem is an essential starting point for effective research. A well articulated research problem will impact everything from the formulation of hypotheses, methodology, the literature review, and the conclusions. This research problem should integrate both concepts and theoretical perspectives of the existing literature (Ellis & Levy, 2008). Theory driven research allows for the researcher to gather interrelated concepts that will guide research, determining what things to measure, and what statistical relationships to look for. As we construct theory, we rely on research but we also use our own experiences (Gelso, 2006). Theoretical frameworks are important in that researcher must make an implicit framework more explicit in order to not undertake research with preconceived notions impacting processes, results, or even interpretations of findings.
Theory does play a pivotal role in research. Generally speaking, research contributes to theory in several ways: (a) creation of theory (b) validation of theory; (c) to refute a theory. Wacker (1999) believes there are two general objectives of research, theory building, and fact finding. The purpose of the research will dictate the research process and thus identify the undertaking as fact building or theory building. Fact finding research aims to gather facts obtained via precise and specific conditions, where as theory building research develops though an exiting body of knowledge. Fact finding research makes use of evidence to assess if a relationship exists. Theory building research uses the existing literature to define concepts, identify a domain, explain relationships, and then make predictions (Wacker, 1999).
- Fact finding research plays an important role as it provides facts and empirical evidence that can later be integrated into theory. Additionally, fact-finding research allows for the investigation of new relationships as it is not limited by existing theory based relationships (Wacker, 1999). New theory development is made possible through fact finding research because this type of research discovers differences in data and explains that data. Theory building research, on the other hand, integrates similarities between studies.
- Harlow (2009) suggests developing a theory involves some form of testing that theory, therefore theory development and testing are intertwined. Theories help researchers generate additional ideas and further scientific exploration and help to integrate constructs into a cohesive view that might otherwise bee seen as incongruent (Gelso, 2006). Harlow (2009) describes a circular process a researcher follows as theoretical ideas are tested against data, ideas are framed, and retests follow until conclusions can be considered trustworthy. The sciences would be a series of untested ideas and biased perspectives without any controlled empirical research (Gelso, 2006). Interestingly, Stam (2007) suggests that the frequent and methodical use of tests of statistical inference has actually impeded advances in (psychological) theory.
- Gelso (2006) maintains theory and research go hand in hand and work in a symbiotic way. This cycle is on going, theories are being modified based on research, other theories emerge, new theories then guide additional research and are tested, and the cycle repeats (Gelso, 2006). However, not all researchers believe there is a link between research and theory. Gelso (2006) suggests there are some (within the field of psychotherapy research) who maintain that hypothesis-testing research has hindered discovery. However, Gelso (2006) points out theories help generate hypotheses to be tested. Thus, discovery oriented research uncovers relationships that in turn help form theory that can then be further investigated via testing. In fact, researchers use theories throughout the research process. For example, when coming up with ideas, generating hypotheses, and even interpreting the results a researcher uses theory as well as theoretical constructs. In the case of a failed hypotheses, this would prompt a researcher to revise a theory or mini-theory and thus alter hypotheses for further investigation. According to Popper (1957), a legitimate empirical test is designed to disprove theory.
- Theory-building is paramount as it ensures a framework for analysis, assists in the development of the discipline, and is necessary in order to apply findings to real world problems (Wacker, 1999). Theory building research also helps find recurring themes across related fields thus increasing the theory’s importance and abstract level (Wacker, 1999). Theory building is very dependent on a comprehensive literature review within the research process. This process gives way to accepted definitions, domains of applicability, previously identified relationships, empirical test, and predictions. The literature search ensures all theory-building conditions are filled. Theory building involves defining variables for uniqueness, limiting the domain for generalizability, logically building relationships for internal consistency and abstractness, and giving specific predictions with empirical support for refutability (Wacker, 1999).
It should be noted that both qualitative and quantitative research contribute to theory. Corely and Gioia (2011) suggest that both types of research contribute to theory in terms of originality and utility. Quantitative research tends to offer more generalizability and greater predictability due to hypothesis testing. However, qualitative research is just as important to theory when trying to understand complex social situations (Gay & Weaver, 2011).
The Future for Digital and Social Media Marketing Research and Theory
Currently there are several social media platforms, and each application has its own characteristics that influence behavior. Smith, Fischer, and Yongjian (2012) undertook research surrounding Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube via content analysis. Interestingly, sentiment varied across social media sites suggesting each social media site fosters its own different characteristics. With social media evolving, there will likely be mini theories that are only applicable to certain settings and certain situations (McFarland & Ployhart, 2015).
It is clear that both theory and research are instrumental to the marketing discipline. Researchers must move beyond applying existing theories to the field of social media marketing. Consideration must be made to reflect on the uniqueness of social media as a communication channel. These distinct features should be used to help theory evolve in the context of social media marketing. The cycle of theory and research ensures the body of knowledge advances through testing, and discovery. With the relatively new field of social media marketing, addition empirical research is essential to establishing applicable theory, and building upon existing theory.
Stay tuned as we next explore the relationship between Theory vs Practice…
This is the continuation of a reflection piece. Catch up by reading the beginning here.
As we discussed, globalization and technological advances have enabled consumers to find the information they desire and share this information regardless of geographic location (Jai Beom, Yoori, & Ryun, 2009). The Internet has made foreign businesses more local, and has given the small local shops the chance to be more global. With this technology, businesses are also able to target markets outside their geographic locations and engage with them for better knowledge of the audience. With the understanding of a particular target market, a brand can select the appropriate tool(s) in which to reach and engage with them.
The Internet has changed the way brands build and maintain their image, improved methods of addressing customer service issues, has created opportunities to brand themselves through celebrities, has created the notion of personal brands, and has revolutionized integrated marketing communications. Review Part 1 here. Globalization and technological advances have enabled consumers to find the information they desire and share this information regardless of geographic location (Jai Beom, Yoori, & Ryun, 2009). The Internet has made foreign businesses more local, and has given the small local shops the chance to be more global. With this technology, businesses are also able to target markets outside their geographic locations and engage with them for better knowledge of the audience. With the understanding of a particular target market, a brand can select the appropriate tool(s) in which to reach and engage with them. The Internet has changed the way brands build and maintain their image, improved methods of addressing customer service issues, has created opportunities to brand themselves through celebrities, has created the notion of personal brands, and has revolutionized integrated marketing communications. Let’s continue with our exploration……..
A few years ago, singer Rhianna was described as being too sexy for the Nivea brand as a spokesperson. The campaign was halted by Nivea, who felt the singers dress, behavior, and relationships did not fit the image of the brand. Many brands are choosing to use celebrities as branding tools by having the celebrity appear in a commercial or even starting their own product line. Halonen-Knight and Hurmerinta (2010) believe celebrity endorsement to be one of the most popular forms of marketing, and should be utilized as a brand alliance. A brand alliance suggests value for both the brand and the celebrities’ personal brand. The identification of the right celebrity for the right product is an essential decision for a brand, and engaging in product endorsements is an essential decision for a celebrity (Halonen-Knight & Hurmerinta, 2010). Both the brand and the celebrity must also take into consideration the potential positive and negative effects endorsements could have on their brand image and brand equity.
Twitter & Instagram- Currently, celebrities Tweeting about certain products or services are being compensated for those tweets, known as sponsored tweets. A celebrity may have millions of loyal followers; for a brand to be mentioned on Twitter by a celebrity it could mean a large percentage of those followers saw the tweet. However, the life of a tweet is very short and may not have the power a long-term endorsement such as a print ad has. Instagram has also let consumers delve into the ives of celebrities. But how much of what we see is real?
Transparency- Brands and the celebrity should address transparency concerns before utilizing sponsored tweets. The more transparent the brand and the celebrity brand are on Twitter, the deeper the connection they will have with their audience. Issues with celebrities have made consumers skeptical about the brands and the celebrities paid to endorse them. Today’s market is impacted by technology and the speed by which news and information travels. Consider Tiger Wood’s situation with his wife and how quickly it appeared in the news and subsequently destroyed his brand. Today’s consumers have smart phones and Internet; therefore, celebrities are in the spot light more than ever. Brands must understand they cannot control the Internet. Using a celebrity for branding purposes requires the brand to be prepared to take on loss of control and individual risks.
Traditionally branding referred to only corporate and individual product branding. Both types of branding aim to create name, icon, and emotional connections. In today’s society, more and more individuals are exploring personal branding brought made possible in part by social media. The individual brand must be positioned within the marketplace and must be continually reinvented. Differentiation among other individuals is essential in personal branding just as it is in product or service branding. By identifying what differentiates a personal brand, an individual can communicate that to the right audience with the right medium.
Digital Footprints– Blogs, micro blog, websites, and other social media platforms are now being used to illustrate competence and a love of the persons industry. Simply having a resume is somewhat dated in today’s workplace. Individuals are building their personal brands with blogs that they write on their own time for the love of what they do and to share with others. These individuals are also gathering followers who value the content they provide via blogs or micro blogs such as Twitter. These folks are building their networks via LinkedIn.com and branding themselves as professionals in their prospective industries.
Self Reflection– Personal branding encourages the individual to look inwardly to who they are and what they stand for to arrive at an authentic personal brand. The authentic personal branding is based on individual identity, vision, mission, values, self-knowledge, positive attributes, and self-management, rather than presenting an image or brand that you wish others to perceive.
Influence- In order to remain competitive, those building a personal brand must explore LinkedIn as a replacement for the traditional resume. More employees, employers, and recruiters are utilizing LinkedIn and the connections within to link positions with the right candidates. A users profile offers viewers more information about the individual that a resume can. Most profiles include job history, connections, skills, as well as hyperlinks to other sources of information and possible samples of work. With the emergence of personal branding, many employers value this online influence. Such influence, or clout, demonstrates soft skills such as writing, leadership, and organization. Individuals who have large and influential networks (via Twitter, blogs, and LinkedIn for example) have the potential to bring something of value to an organization: an audience and potential consumers.
Personal branding will continue to become more important as it separates the good from the great. It will uncover those who work simply for a paycheck and those who work because they have a passion for what they do, are thought leaders, and are influencers in their field. If nothing else, it allows the individual to take charge of their career and seek out connections and share relevant information rather than leave it to chance.
Technology has made a significant impact on integrated marketing communication (IMC). With the volume of messages presented to consumer sin the form of email, television, Internet ads, social media, and print, brands must ensure the relevancy of their messages. Additionally, brands must address budget issues and allocate the right amount of resources to the right communication to generate a significant return on investment.
Jai Beom, Yoori, and Ryun (2009) suggest the integration of online and offline has led to an increase in the number of touch points for customers both current and potential. Figure 3 illustrates how the core identity of a brand can influence consumers through the five senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. Jai Beom, Yoori, and Ryun (2009) found that each touch point should appeal to each of the senses. Effective use of the various touch points is one way a brand can build a competitive advantage over the competition. With IMC, the brand can coordinate the touch points, the mediums, and the message to create a campaign that caters to all the senses, contributes to the building of a relationship, and ultimately translates into an increase in market share.
Social- Social media as part of an IMC is essential in today’s business environment. A brands target audience is divided among Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. A brand does not have to utilize every social touch point, but should research which tool would increase interaction with consumers. For example, crafts and home decorating audiences are often found on Pinterest, so a brand with similar targets would benefit from sharing their own images of products, services, or designs on the platform. Social media is a great medium to build brand awareness, solicit feedback, and engage with consumers.
Digital- A combination of on and offline tools such as social, brand website (SEO), print, television, and personal selling can make for a very effective IMC program. However, the target audience and budget play a key role in what strategy should be employed. Integrating these tools is a challenge, but necessary to ensure the right brand image is being perceived. All of the tools should send the same message about the brand to the same target audience. An interesting IMC program is the Nike PhotoiD campaign. It allowed users to design shoes based on color photographs taken by cell phone. Customers would contact Nike via text message and PhotoiD would analyze the photo, matching colors in the shots to the NikeiD palette. Then Nikeid would apply colors to a selected design. Consumers could then do a variety of things such as save the image, use it as computer desktop wallpaper, share it via social media, or purchase the shoe. This is also a great example of personalization, yet another trend in branding that has been made possible through technology.
Consumers now have a wealth of information about brands and their competition, making them a powerful force. Customers have so many more choices than ever before. This gives them the power to demand more from businesses. This same new technology that is enabling the consumer, is also giving businesses the capability of initiating multi-channel strategies for communicating with customers. These emerging, real-time platforms such as the Internet, Apps, and other social media channels place new strains on a network’s existing infrastructure. However, they also generate large amounts of data that contain valuable insight into customer behavior and preferences. Specifically, the use of mobile devices and social media is gathering enormous amounts of personal data that can be a real asset to businesses. Unfortunately, there are businesses not making the most of the data available and there are others not even utilizing the platforms to access this data (Rogers, 2012).
Brands must develop an infrastructure that allows for the sharing of information and effective communication. With the use of a variety of social media platforms (such as blogs, FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube etc.) brands have a direct line to the end consumer for communicating about their products or services. Consumers are online talking about the brands, and the brands need to listen. If businesses can identify unmet expectations and where the strongest expectations exist, they will be more likely to realize an increase in market share and profitability. In order to do this, they must know more about their customers. Brands must talk, listen, and interact with customers more often and with more relevancy in new and innovative ways. The use of social media platforms is one way to drive engagement and participation to create and nurture relationships with customers and potential customers. This is an exciting time for marketers with the technology available to manage customer information, data, trends, and relationships as well as the new social environment that creates a one-on-one marketing opportunity.
If you have enjoyed this 2 part series, I urge you to explore my past articles. While they are more informal, I think you will find value in the content as the posts speak to the themes within this 2 part series.
I usually share a list of movies with my undergrads to get them pumped up about Marketing and to see how it infiltrates our everyday lives. Hopefully those of you who are students past and present, undergrad and graduate will enjoy these hand picked Marketing flicks! Those who are not students, but Marketing geeks like me: enjoy! I must warn you that may get a little resistance from non-marketing family members if you tell them these are Marketing related (as I did with my husband). But, I assure you they will enjoy them!
For trailers of the movies visit My TAMU page on my blog here.
2014 Jon Favreau, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson
A chef who loses his restaurant job starts up a food truck in an effort to reclaim his creative promise, while piecing back together his estranged family. Great for those who love Social Media Marketing.
2013 Amber Heard and Shiloh Fernandez (Note this is Rated R)
A slacker hatches a million-dollar idea. But, in order to see it through, he has to learn to trust his attractive corporate counterpart. This covers branding, image, and perception.
2012 Barbra Streisand, Seth Rogen, Julene Renee
As inventor Andy Brewster is about to embark on the road trip of a lifetime, a quick stop at his mom’s house turns into an unexpected cross-country voyage with her along for the ride. Fantastic movie on getting your product to market, and funny!
The Greatest Movie Ever Sold
2011 Morgan Spurlock
Very informational, funny, and gives great insight into branding. My favorite!
2009 Demi Moore and David Duchovny
Great example of how we influence each other and how marketers can and do manipulate consumer behavior.
2006 Luke Wilson, Maya Rudolph and Dax Shepard
Not a movie that requires your undivided attention, but I enjoy seeing brand sponsorships for everything and placed everywhere!
2002 Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell and Samantha Morton
I enjoyed seeing a glimpse into the future in this movie. Keep in mind this was 10 years ago. Pay attention to the personalized marketing messages on billboards.
2000 Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel, Ben Affleck and Nia Long
Token FBI/ethics/fraud movie.
The Husdsucker Proxy
1994 Tim Robbins, Paul Newman and Jennifer Jason Leigh
A rather comical look (a Coen brothers movie) at running a manufacturing plant. Free on Amazon Prime.
Glengarry Glen Ross
1992 Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon and Alec Baldwin
A movie about desperate real estate agents. Free on Amazon Prime. Available on Netflix streaming.
Tucker: A Man and his Dream
1988 Jeff Bridges, Joan Allen, Martin Landau and Christian Slater
Great movie on a man, his product, and going to market. Free on Amazon Prime.
What other movies should be added to this list!? I am always looking for more movies to watch and share with students related to all facets of Marketing (and business)… Please share!
When talking to undergraduate students or even those in the workforce considering going back to school for their Master’s, I am always asked, “How is it different?” It is very different, and in a good way.
I waited close to three years between my bachelor’s and master’s. I chose to graduate with a double major in Business Administration and Marketing, continue working full time and make a dent in my student loans. When I was ready to start the process of applying to graduate school, I found out my employer would not pay for courses in “Marketing” because I was working in a technical department within the telecom industry (with the hopes of a marketing department transfer). Instead of getting a Masters in IT or being deterred, I went ahead and switched jobs and made my preparations for grad school. Looking back, this was a great thing. Not only did I get my Master’s, I avoided massive layoffs, seeing my employer investigated by the SEC and the collapse of one of the largest telecom companies in the United States. Gotta love the ‘90s!
The biggest concern I had about graduate school was the GMAT. I felt I never tested well. Once the test was taken, the results printed, I was on my way to two years of fun. Truly, I loved every minute of it. And here is why:
Level of Maturity
I was 25 and mature enough. By 25, you usually have your personality developed, aspirations in mind, goals set out and a picture for the future — what better time to devote about two years to bettering yourself? I had some professional experience under my belt, which would prove to be useful in my course work, and had a clear idea of what I wanted from my graduate program.
Career in Progress
I was not as concerned about hurrying and finishing my degree so I could get a “better job,” as I was during my undergrad years. I worked part time my freshman and sophomore years, and full time during my junior and senior years. I was so determined to graduate and get a better-paying job that I overloaded each term by taking 21 to 24 semester hours. This time around, I was making better money and was able to pay for each class as I took it. Not to mention, while in school, I could defer my previous student loans.
Probably the main reason I loved my Master’s program so much was that each course was directly related to my area of interest: Marketing. What’s not to love about Consumer Behavior, Global Marketing, Marketing Managements and Promotions? Graduate courses are focused on topics you may have experience with or will have experience with as you develop your desired career. These courses also make readings, case studies and projects more relevant and applicable. In contrast, my undergraduate courses varied and typically were dealt with subjects I had little interest in until I reached my junior and senior years.
In my graduate career, I had some great instructors who took an active interest in me. The classes were smaller, and we were able to get to know one another better. Many of these instructors kept in touch after graduation, and ultimately it was one of my grad-school instructors (turned Department Head) who hired me for my first adjunct teaching assignment. These instructors see what you are capable of doing and can be a great source of information and guidance — they can also write killer letters of reference! Similarly, I was able to create friendships with my peers that transcended into valuable professional contacts. Now with social media, it is even easier to stay connected to instructors and peers, and explore networking beyond graduation.
Have you ever felt out of place with friends? Most of my friends had very little interest in business in the depth I did. Most had careers in different sectors or were married with children. In grad school, I was surrounded by like-minded folks who shared my respect for education, valued hard work and had the potential to be thought leaders in my field.
I am not saying obtaining a Master’s or an MBA is a piece of cake and one big social party. It is hard work, but when the end result is one you desire and the topic of study is one you love, it really can be enjoyable. And don’t forget: There are plenty of organizations that value an MBA.
Don’t let fear of the unknown stop you from pursuing something so awesome! If someone you know if ‘thinking’ about a Masters/MBA, be sure to share this post with them.
This month, my Social Media MBA students are working on a project that involves a website, blog, and multiple peripheral social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. The objective of this project is to give them a virtual sandbox of sorts to put into action what they have learned in my previous two social media courses. The project involves creating a social media strategy from the ground up. Quite a challenge with the limited amount of time in a semester. However, they are moving right along and will pass the torch so to speak when their course ends.
The first hurdle we faced this term was setting goals and objectives that accurately addressed our vision and mission. This is often the case for many businesses. Initial goals and objectives are either too broad, not specific enough, or not measurable. Once we clearly defined our business objectives, the social strategy fell into place.
Regardless of the type of new business venture, organizations should evaluate their business objectives, strategies, and tactics beforehand. The world of social media is no different. Each organization is unique, and their approaches to social media strategy will vary according to set business objectives.
Before undertaking any type of social media initiative, an organization must begin with identifying objectives and then coordinating social media activities that address those objectives specifically. Most readers would choose to utilize social media to ‘increase sales’ armed only with an arsenal of tactics such as start a contest on Facebook, develop a blog with postings weekly; set up related Twitter feed. These actions in and of themselves are fine and could very well increase sales. However, what about the long term?
A viable social media strategy should start with these basic questions:
* Who? Who is your target audience, where are they online, how can you reach them?
* What? What are your primary objectives? These could be building brand awareness, building online credibility, providing education about your brand; increase sales. Again, these tie back in to the overall organizational objectives.
* When? When will you evaluate the social strategy, and how will you evaluate it? Often organizations have no real set time-frame in which to assess objectives to ascertain if they are on target or if plans need to be re-evaluated or possibly revamped.
* Where? Where does the social strategy fit into the overall business? When utilizing such tools as Twitter and Facebook, brands are realizing that social media sites can provide support for not only the marketing and sales departments, but can also assist with educational endeavors, public relations, and even customer care. A social strategy often spans over different departments and objectives should be formulated accordingly.
* Which? Which employees/departments will oversee social media, be responsible for posting, and reporting?
* How? How will you differentiate yourself from the competition? Identify your competitors strengths and weaknesses as well as your own, this will help in planning your social strategy.
A key concept for business to understand is that a large portion of Internet traffic still comes from searches, and mobile use for these searches will soon exceed those done via personal computer! Read the entire article on Maximize Social Business.
As I write this blog post, I am wrapping up another term of teaching Social Media MBA courses. I am reminded why I love teaching social media while viewing students final papers, wiki projects, and blog projects. These students have passion, they enjoy learning about these effective new ‘tools’ we have for the marketing industry, and they cannot wait to start the next social media course! This first course of three (Social Media Marketing), is a real eye-opener for some who know little or nothing about social media and what it has done, and can do, for marketers. Others know quite a bit about the various platforms but have not yet worked hands on with the tools with marketing and/or personal branding in mind. This first course always yields rave reviews at the end of the term, citing how it is helping the student personally and professionally. These are the emails every instructor loves to read!
Examining the Social Media landscape and its application to the Marketing industry (within the context of this course) reveals it can help drive efficiencies while also presenting various opportunities to engage with consumers. Consider how many times a day you actually use some form of social media? I guarantee you use more than you think. Social media is not confined to Facebook and Twitter. Social media applies to technical help boards, review sites, online support groups, personal and corporate blogs, Apps — basically anywhere communication becomes interactive can be considered a form of social media. Perhaps you check your Facebook in the morning to catch up with friends and notice your neighbor has sent you a message that she wants to start jogging in the morning with you. You then decide to purchase new running shoes on Amazon.com for your morning runs. You browse the reviews on Amazon to help solidify your decision to purchase. Then you “like” the running shoe brand on Facebook to see if they have any promotions or fitness information for you. You immediately get a response from the brand with a coupon for a running App for your iPhone. Social media has made communication direct and in real time. This is HUGE! Organizations have the opportunity to learn first hand about their customers and build relationships through relevant communication..
Read the entire article at WindMillNetworking.
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