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Mace & Crown | November 24, 2017

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Marketing Students Have New Options at ODU's College of Business

Marketing Students Have New Options at ODU’s College of Business
Jason Kazi
Staff Writer

This fall, students interested in digital media, analytics and sales will have three new major concentrations for marketing. The new options include digital marketing, marketing analytics and research and professional sales.

Dr. Yuping Liu-Thompkins, chair of the department, said shortly after she arrived at ODU in 2002, she received feedback from students saying they would like more guidance in choosing which courses to enroll in.

“Partially based on the feedback and looking at the demand in the market, we came up with these three new concentrations,” Liu-Thompkins said. “In the digital marketing concentration, students will learn how to use tools like Facebook and websites to market to their customers. In the marketing analytics and research concentration, students will learn how to leverage ‘big data’ to be able to drive customers to their own company to be able to make better marketing decisions. While the professional sales concentration is designed for students who work for B2B companies.”

Most of the department’s current concentrations have been a 4+4 structure, meaning students were required to take four major-required courses and four electives. The new concentrations will follow a 4+3+1 structure, which allows students to take one elective along with their four major-required courses and three track-required courses. All majors, regardless of their concentration are required to take Consumer Behavior, Marketing Research, Multinational Marketing and Marketing Policy and Strategy.

“Persona marketing is a key aspect of marketing. But in the digital world, that has completely changed. Before we would have built personas in a demographic. Within digital marketing now, it is a reality that through paid media tactics and organic media tactics that you can actually put your intended content in front of the intended person.” — Gabriel Cohen, Seventh Point

Four new courses are being offered within the three new concentrations including Art of Influence and Persuasion, Social Media Marketing, Web Analytics and Marketing Analytics. Art of Influence and Persuasion is an introductory course on techniques and concepts on how to influence in a variety of business settings. Social Media Marketing will introduce students to the significance of today’s social media marketing tools, and how to implement and evaluate these tools for a business. Web Analytics will introduce students to web analytic tools and methods and demonstrate how businesses can use them to derive customer insight and improve marketing strategy. 

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The new concentrations were officially launched at a kickoff event on Mar. 19 held at the Strome College of Business building.  Three local professionals in the field were invited to the event to showcase what students could do with the concentrations in the region after they graduate.

The professionals included Gabriel Cohen, vice president of media at Seventh Point; Geneva Moore McNamara, analytics marketing manager at Dominion Enterprises, and Keith VanderVennet, senior vice president for sales at Ferguson Enterprises

Cohen highlighted the importance of students understanding the basics of search engine optimization (SEO), how to manage at least one of the major content management systems such as Drupal or WordPress and the usability of social media marketing through tools such as Hootsuite and Facebook Advertising.

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“Persona marketing is a key aspect of marketing. But in the digital world, that has completely changed,” Cohen said. “Before we would have built personas in a demographic. Within digital marketing now, it is a reality that through paid media tactics and organic media tactics that you can actually put your intended content in front of the intended person.”

McNamara explained that analyzing data and web traffic is a large part of the responsibilities an Analytics Manager has on a day-to-day basis.

“You’re going to have to know enough to be able to know how to find a problem,” McNamara said. “The job involves a lot of reporting, analyzing usage data, SEO use.”

VanderVennet made clear that despite common belief, being an extrovert is not a necessary personality trait to be successful in sales instead, to be a good salesperson, an individual needs to push themselves, plan, execute well and be naturally inquisitive.

“Someone like Kevin Malloy who works for the Outside Sales team, uses his natural curiosity, he understands his customer’s business, he understands where Ferguson can bring solutions to that business. He uses all of that information that we pull from marketing intelligence and puts it to use,” VanderVennet said. “He can understand what the customers’ challenges are and he can actually suggest services and products that they need.”

Students interested in pursuing these new concentrations should talk to their academic advisor or visit the Strome College of Business’ undergraduate advising & career development services office at 2004 Constant Hall.