By Steven Krolak
(NEW ALBANY, Ind.)–The fourth annual Digital Marketing Conference–DigiMarCom for short–delivered leading edge insights from real world practitioners, helping a diverse audience make sense of, and keep pace with, an industry known for rapid and constant change.
Speakers Cobi Stein, digital marketing director of Shoe Sensation, Inc. and IU Southeast alumnus Jonathan Salazar, senior global digital manager of Jack Daniel’s, a division of Brown Forman, touched upon the importance of moving beyond a fascination with clicks and opens, and of devoting more effort to anchoring digital tactics in a strong overall marketing strategy based on old-school knowledge of audiences and goals.
The conference was presented by the IU Southeast Marketing Club.
“Digital marketing is an increasingly important field of marketing,” said Saeed Tajdini, assistant professor of marketing. “The conference speakers are practitioners of digital marketing and, as such, their insights are very valuable in the sense that they complement what our students learn in classrooms.”
While focused on students, the conference offered advice beneficial to anyone touched by the tools of this trade.
Courtney Block, IU Southeast instruction, reference, and user engagement librarian , is using social media to expand awareness of library services among the broader community. She hoped to pick up new skills to better assess whether her digital strategies are working.
“We have almost 540 databases available online,” Block said. “I want to make sure that we are marketing enough of what we have access to, so users can get what they need.”
In their presentations, Stein described the many ways that digital marketing has changed the retail space, creating “omni-channel” opportunities for sales, while Salazar unpacked the concept of digital intelligence as an intersection of data and marketing.
In a lively Q & A, Stein and Salazar stressed both the possibilities and limitations of digital marketing. Stein urged practitioners to know their audience and their product before advancing with a digital strategy. Salazar advised the audience to master analysis and assessment modalities, to be able to measure performance and maximize impact.
Both provided compelling real-world examples of why digital marketing provides great flexibility within the marketing toolkit: the proliferation of data gives marketers the ability to track engagement and shift advertising dollars to those elements that are performing more strongly, in real time.
While this is an advantage, it is also a challenge for would-be practitioners to remain at the top of their game.
Samantha Pittman, a junior from Salem, Ind. majoring in marketing and sales, is Marketing Club vice president in digital communications. She sees herself potentially making a career out of digital marketing. That world, she now sees, is one of continual innovation and continual learning.
“This is definitely showing me what it’s going to be like,” Pittman said.
Homepage photo: Jonathan Salazar makes a point during the Digital Marketing Conference. An alumnus of IU Southeast, Salazar is now senior global digital manager at Brown-Forman in Louisville, Ky.