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DCE Magazine

An Immersive Digital Marketing Education

Spring 2018

Digital marketing budgets have helped fuel growth and innovation in consumer electronics for the last 15 years…

and Forrester predicts that the digital marketing and advertising technology industry will be worth $120 billion by 2021. The massive online ecosystem of content platforms, social networks, and devices thrive on user engagement and paid advertising. This system has spawned an infrastructure of tools and resources like Google Analytics, Hootsuite, and Marketo that marketers use to optimize campaigns and convert leads into sales.

So much of our day is augmented by the relationship we share with the devices in our pockets, on our walls, or even in our appliances. Smart home systems can help us manage our utilities and even order groceries when we run out. This connectivity and technological engagement provides creative marketers with a unique opportunity to reach their target audience at times, in places, and in ways never imaginable through traditional channels. The targeting, transparency, and scalability of digital marketing tactics make incorporating them into a business plan crucial for any brand aspiring to influence decision-making.

Technical Skills for a Marketing Career

“Fortune 500 companies must incorporate a digital strategy to connect with a younger audience,” said Eric Sigmar, a graduate of the UCI Division of Continuing Education's Global Accelerated Digital Marketing certificate program. “That includes optimizing their websites and content to be platform specific. If relevant for their product or service, they might also build an app to establish an even more direct path of engagement with the customer.” An organization's marketing team will be responsible for leveraging business opportunities birthed from Ambient Computing and the Internet of Things (IoT), both of which will require experimentation and innovative thinking. Digital campaigns also produce pages of user behavior data and it's important for managers to derive actionable insights from this information to plan future campaigns.

Sigmar is an alumnus of UC Berkeley with a degree in Conservation and Resource Studies. “My focus was on climate science, and I supplemented that with getting a minor in applied mathematics. Recently I've found that marketing and communication skills are valuable in any field. In writing about climate science, for example, it's essential to convey impact in a relatable way. Everyone needs to know how to market their ideas, no matter the subject.”

Eric is making a career transition into Marketing Account Management and the UCI program has provided an education and network that will make him successful. “I was trying to get into a New York based marketing agency earlier this year and although I had the soft skills they were looking for, I didn't quite match their expectations for digital marketing experience. The certificate at UCI was an intensive 3 months but made me more qualified for the type of role I'm looking for.”

International Business Perspective

Successful brands tailor messaging to align with their audience's demographic make-up and communication style. Then, effective marketers use the personalization and rich targeting data available on digital platforms to ensure their content is geographically and culturally relevant to those it reaches. This cultural-awareness is difficult to learn unless you can immerse with people from outside of your community. In the Global Accelerated Digital Marketing certificate program, Eric studied alongside professionals and graduate level students from over 10 different countries. “I didn't expect to see such a high level of marketing knowledge among my peers and was really impressed by how they incorporated their international business experience into our coursework.”

Not only did Eric earn a unique perspective of digital marketing through practitioners from other countries, he also made lifelong friendships and connections with the students in his class. “I've added all my instructors and peers on LinkedIn. It was great to meet people from all over the world because if I end up working for an international company or if I want to work abroad I can ask them to be a reference and for advice if I'm ever visiting one of their countries.”

Comprehensive Strategy

To take full advantage of digital marketing channels, professionals must educate themselves on the basics of Search Engine Marketing, Display Advertising, Email, and Social Media; all of which are part of the UCI curriculum. Demand for these skills is extremely high and according to a report by Burning Glass Technologies, four in ten marketing job openings now call for digital marketing skills. The number of job postings with these requirements has nearly doubled in the last five years and roles requiring digital marketing skills carry nearly a $7,000 salary premium over other marketing roles. By knowing these practices, marketers like Eric will be able to prove and communicate their value to an organization. He noted, “I needed to specialize more because while I am very passionate about my undergraduate major, it was somewhat nebulous, and doesn't translate directly to a skillset.” Eric also plans to use his refreshed academic record to help with graduate school applications. “I do want to attend grad school eventually, and I know this will be a great addition to my resume, as well as my personal and professional network.”

The program will help anyone who is dedicated to bringing their communication and marketing skills up to speed with today's environment. Instructors review real world case studies and students demonstrate their knowledge by designing their own marketing plans and collaborating on group based business projects.

The Global Accelerated Digital Marketing certificate is one of the few accelerated marketing programs in the country and provides participants the unique opportunity to connect with international students. An optional internship tied to the program helps students gain valuable work experience by pairing them with a local business. The next cohort is planned for Spring Quarter and an application can be found online at ce.uci.edu/gdm.

Eric finally remarked that, “this education provides me a unique value proposition to find an exciting job in this field. You're learning about marketing, and the first part of establishing your career is marketing yourself.”

Learn more at ce.uci.edu/gdm