By Steven Krolak
(NEW ALBANY, Ind.)—“Digital marketing isn’t the future, it’s the present,” said Nicholas Moore, a senior from Jeffersonville, Ind. majoring in business and member of the IU Southeast Marketing Club.
To help fellow students navigate that fast-changing terrain, the Marketing Club is hosting the second annual Digital Marketing Conference on Wed., March 1 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Hoosier Room.
The conference features experts from local marketing, advertising and public relations businesses within the Louisville metro area. According to conference Co-Director Moore, the event is an opportunity for students to learn the latest trends from inside this fast-moving industry, and to network with professionals in the field.
Speakers include Nancy Jo Trafton, director of marketing and communications at IU Southeast; Amber Windell, director of marketing at Blackstone Media; Erik Snyder, associate director of digital strategy at Scoppecchio; and Adam Maksl, assistant professor of journalism at IU Southeast.
“Marketing today is so different than marketing in the past,” Trafton said. “Long gone are the days when prospective customers migrated to mass media for advertising messages—today’s savvy marketer goes to where the customer lives, works and plays, and reaches them one-on-one in a way that will elicit a response.”
While the explosion of digital technology has opened up new avenues for firms to market their products and services more strategically and hence more cost-effectively, it has also fundamentally changed the persona and role of the marketer.
“Marketers are analysts as well as strategists, testing different messaging and vehicles while being nimble enough to pivot to what is working best,” Trafton said. “Digital marketing allows for more customization of message to segmented target audiences, in order to increase the return on investment, or R.O.I.”
Trafton will speak on data mining and marketing strategy, examining how to use data to determine one’s audience and help tell one’s story.
Data is the life’s blood of the digital world, pulsing constantly from consumer searches, clicks and purchases. Being able to read that data and identify trends and opportunities have become necessary skills—and maybe more than that.
“If you don’t have a working knowledge of Google Analytics, you have no business being a marketer,” said Snyder of Scoppecchio, a Louisville, Ky.-based advertising firm that counts Yum! Brands, Louisville International Airport and Thornton’s among its many clients.
Snyder’s presentation will focus on using digital marketing to reach seniors.
“I like seeing how we can use a vast array of online channels to influence consumer behavior,” Snyder said.
Looking into the future, Snyder foresees a decline in tactics based on the written word.
“Any technology shift that will help people express their ideas more directly will thrive. So expect fewer blogs and PDFs, and more video, virtual reality and more ways for advertisers to seamlessly integrate into those experiences.”
Windell of Blackstone Media, reiterates the role of metrics in her presentation on ways that digital marketers can better measure and analyze the effectiveness of their efforts.
Windell leads strategy and campaign execution for a variety of clients including Brown-Forman and Mercer.
The road to this position began at IU Southeast, where Windell majored in advertising. While still a senior, she interned at Blackstone, and her drive helped her turn that experience into a solid role in the company.
“After my internship ended, I pitched my CEO a 27-slide presentation on why he needed to hire me. I’ve been here ever since and have worked my way up from intern to director of marketing in less than four years.”
Now Windell has brought her experience back to IU Southeast as an adjunct instructor.
“I’m able to take what I do and what I’ve learned in the field and apply that in the classroom to help strategic communications students be prepared for digital marketing after college,” Windell said.
Promoting a corporate brand begins with understanding how to establish and support one’s own private brand, and events like the Digital Marketing Conference can help, according to Moore.
“At some point, an understanding of marketing is a necessity to any firm, as it directly relates to how the corporate strategy and mission are communicated to consumers,” Moore said. “Being able to tell the story of the product or service of your company, and having an appreciation of the methodologies used to do so, is integral to any student’s success.”
The Digital Marketing Conference is free of charge, and includes a breakfast in addition to the speaker presentations and networking opportunities. Students should dress appropriately and bring a resume, business cards or some other way to make themselves known.