I just returned from a digital media marketing conference at the University of Missouri, St. Louis, where I had the distinct pleasure of sitting on panel with a group of distinguished digital marketing leaders from across the country. In the audience were professors and other instructors from colleges and universities throughout the midwest. The topic: How to keep marketing curricula relevant in the digital age. When I studied marketing many years ago, we learned about the Four P’s- Product, Price, Place (distribution) and Promotion. There was a heavy emphasis on brand advertising (in those days even direct response was in its infancy). But as we know, digital technology has represented a sea change in how brands now go to market, and just when you think you have a handle on it here comes another game changer. Technology that was trendy yesterday may not be in vogue today. It’s difficult enough to stay on top of these changes if you’re a professional marketer, let alone if you’re in the world of academia. The Wall Street Journal recently published a couple of articles about these issues being faced by business schools across the nation. Among those mentioned most: Digital marketing communication skills.
We shared our ideas about some of the gaps we’re seeing in recent graduates when it comes to digital marketing communication skills, and many on the panel agreed that students often lack the ability to effectively communicate in the modern business environment, particularly those with more technical and quantitative degrees. Many companies today are still looking at data the same way they were 10 years ago, and as a result, analysts can find themselves facing skeptical audiences when it comes to presenting findings to senior management. The best in this field are more than just data geeks: They can present scenarios, backed by data and interpretation, that make the case for less investment, more investment, a change in strategy, etc., and they do it in a way that math-a-phones understand. No one expects someone fresh out of school to be an expert presenter, but the importance of ecommerce and digital marketing communication skills, written as well as oral, cannot be overstated.
I look for excellent digital marketing communication skills in all of my candidates.