In this post, MSc Digital Marketing Programme Leader Lillian Clark explores the evolving nature of marketing and the importance for current students to understand both the Academic and Practitioner aspects of marketing, before discussing her class’ recent visit to The Guardian.

The world of Digital Marketing is constantly evolving, fuelled by rapid advances in technology and their impact on consumer behaviour. Social Media has changed how we discover new products and share recommendations, and mobile shopping has changed where and when we make purchases. Streaming services such as Spotify and Netflix have brought new business models to personal consumption of music and film, while sharing services such as Uber and AirBnB are revolutionising travel and accommodation.

This, of course, does not mean that the traditional principles and theories of marketing are no longer applicable, classical marketing techniques are invaluable in understanding the influence of Social Media on consumer behaviour and how marketers can best utilise their Social Presence.

Clearly, today’s Digital Marketing student therefore needs to know both the Academic and Practitioner worlds to understand how marketing works today, and to prepare themselves for the innovations that continue to transform marketing.

The MSc Digital Marketing programme integrates these two worlds. The academic perspective is developed through exploring marketing theories in the digital environment, whilst the practitioner perspective is developed not only through case studies from the professional world, but also through assessments based on real-world businesses and hearing from professionals specialising in a number of Digital Marketing tactics. These professionals conduct lectures and workshops with students on campus, but sometimes the best student experiences comes from visiting practitioners in their own environment.

Recently our Digital Marketing students had the opportunity to explore the world of Branded Content – content that is produced or funded by an advertiser. Branded Content has become a key part of marketing campaigns, especially for the Business-to-Business (B2B) sector. A successful Branded Content campaign will utilise suitable combinations of tactics such as editorials, videos, podcasts, photos, Social Media, all underpinned by data that helps formulate the campaign strategy as well as provide measurements of success.

Visit to The Guardian

Last week, students from our MSc Digital Marketing programme visited The Guardian Education Centre to learn about how The Guardian provides expertise in Branded Content through their Guardian Labs team.

Rupert Steiner, Launch Editor for Guardian Labs, presented the challenges inherent in working with clients and agencies to develop such campaigns and described how such a campaign was developed for Vodafone to help small businesses understand hi-tech jargon.

Students were then invited to ask questions about Guardian Labs, Rupert’s role and the development of Branded Content for B2B. Afterwards, the Head of the Education Centre, Margaret Holborn, presented how they have evolved to meet the challenges of being a news organisation in the Internet Age.

This visit opened everyone’s eyes to the possibilities of Branded Content, possible career paths, and even gave some of the students ideas for an upcoming bit of coursework!

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