Category Archives: Marketing Education

The Foundation of the U.S. Knowledge-Based Economy

Pool of Knowledge by Ian MuttooIn a recent academic journal article co-authored with Godwin Ariguzo and Angappa Gunasekaran, the ascension of the U.S. economy from service-based to knowledge-based is investigated and a foundational model offered. According to official U.S. sources reporting gross domestic product (GDP) data, the U.S. became a service-based economy (majority of Gross Domestic Product made up by services) at the end of 1958, beginning of 1959 ($211.2 billion GDP services, $200 billion GDP goods), much earlier than previously proposed. Today, services make up 70 percent of total U.S. GDP ($9.8 trillion out of $14.07 trillion).

Following the logic of total factor productivity, the argument can be made that the U.S. officially became a knowledge-based economy, simply measured as the point at which a majority of total service exports are made up of knowledge-based services, at the end of 1997, beginning of 1998. By the end of 1997, 50.74 percent of all U.S. service exports consisted of knowledge-based services. Today, knowledge-based service exports make up 64.6 percent of total U.S. service exports, accounting for $390.95 billion of $604.90 billion in annual service exports for 2011. The diffusion of the internet is thought to be the proximate trigger for the transition of the U.S. to a quaternary stage economy.

We attribute the establishment of the U.S. knowledge-based economy, based on the best available extent research, to the synergistic interaction of five components. The five components consist of a foundation of information and communications technology, plus open innovation, education, knowledge management and creativity. A visual representation of the foundational structure on which the U.S. knowledge-based economy is built is offered below.

Structural Components of the Knowledge-Based Economy

The proposed model is not exhaustive. Certainly other factors contribute to the ascension of the U.S. economy from primarily service-based to knowledge-based. However, while the five structural components offered above are well known and well researched individually, ours is one of the first manuscripts to suggest that the synergistic interaction of the five has provided the U.S. knowledge-based economy with its competitive advantage in the global market.

How long we will enjoy this competitive advantage remains to be seen and depends, in part, on the fate of our system of higher education and its ability to generate graduates with the knowledge and skills required to foster innovation.


Generating Prophets: 141 Inbound Marketing Certified Students

Inbound Marketing UniversityAs business school educators, our job is to adequately prepare our students to enter the workforce. Likewise, we want our graduates to make positive contributions to their organizations and to distinguish themselves as valued employees. The problem is, as discussed before, business schools in general and marketing departments in particular have been slow to embrace the social/mobile marketing era. In many regards, we are struggling to catch up with current marketing theories and practices.

Fortunately, HubSpot offers support to business professors who seek to integrate social media marketing into their curriculum. HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing University training and certification delivers curriculum materials designed to provide your students with a foundation on which to build.

This past academic year, in response to student demand, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Charlton College of Business Department of Management and Marketing incorporated IMU training and certification into two undergraduate courses and one MBA course. We’re proud to report that between the three classes, 141 students successfully earned IMU certification (3 with honors distinction). In our opinion, IMU certification provides added value and external verification of basic competence in social media marketing. And, coupled with their diploma from our AACSB-accredited business program, IMU certification provides our graduates with a competitive advantage when searching for marketing jobs within the Boston-Providence region. Here are three lessons learned:

1) Not Every Student will “Get It”

Perhaps we overestimated the technical prowess of our students, but not every student enrolled in the courses understood the utility of earning IMU certification or possessed the basic technical understanding necessary to earn certification. MBA students were more successful, in general, than were undergraduate students in successfully passing the IMU certification exam. Overall, 83 percent of all students in the three classes earned IMU certification. In the MBA class, the pass rate was 97 percent.

2) Make it Worth The Effort

Students pursuing IMU certification take 16 modules (offered free by HubSpot) and a 50 question multiple choice exam (offered free by HubSpot). Those who pass the exam with a score of 76 or higher receive designation from HubSpot as an Inbound Marketing Certified Professional (free, including a printable/frame-worthy certificate). Although HubSpot’s free training and certification is a brilliant content marketing strategy, students need to be motivated to do the work and to pass the exam. We did this by counting certification as an exam score within the overall point system of the class. Thus, the impact on the final grade for those students who didn’t pass the certification exam was negative.

3) Make it “Hands-on”

Learning by doing is powerful. The difference between understanding theory and being able to apply theory is vast. Require students to work on their social media skills. Make them blog, develop professional LinkedIn profiles, participate actively on Twitter, clean up their Facebook page, develop a video resume and focus on personal branding via social media. Convince them that investing in personal branding is an investment in their future.

We’re proud of the 32 MBA students and 109 undergraduate students who earned IMU certification as part of their marketing curriculum this past academic year. We’re confident that they’re well prepared to enter the workforce and to make a positive contribution to the businesses fortunate enough to hire them. We know that they will distinguish themselves as social media savvy marketing executives able to compete with anyone.

How can we be certain? Our graduates have already distinguished themselves as innovators and leaders in social media marketing from coast-to-coast (Boston to San Francisco). This batch of new graduates, building on the success of and with the support of their predecessors, is well positioned to make an immediate impact.

Do yourself a favor. When hiring new marketing talent, ask them about their experience in social media marketing. Ask them to provide verification of their prowess in inbound marketing. Ask them for their IMU certification. And when they provide it, ask them about the excellent marketing education that they received from the Charlton College of Business.

Congratulations to the first 141 inbound marketing certified students to graduate from our business school. The future of marketing is in your hands.


The Future of Marketing

CRMAs many of you know, Boston and the surrounding environs are hosting multiple FutureM events this week. FutureM is a multi-location conference highlighting the newest technologies and their impact on the future of marketing. The future of marketing is in flux. Those of us involved in marketing are witness to the shift from the dominant broadcast paradigm to a new interactive paradigm.

Not attending any of the conference events, and thus without the benefit of the insight provided by the practitioners driving the paradigm shift, makes offering an academic perspective regarding the future of marketing a challenge. But that’s precisely the purpose of this blog post.

What are the characteristics most closely associated with the future of marketing? Marketing is destined to become increasingly fluid, responsive, interactive, efficient, personalized, targeted, location-based and mobile.

Fluid – as marketing moves from the broadcast paradigm to the interactive paradigm, lead-time for developing and placing promotional messages is reduced. As marketing efforts move more to the online and mobile environment, the opportunity to monitor and change the message to increase performance grows. Marketers possessing the tools/skills to accurately monitor campaigns and to make changes on the fly will succeed in the new interactive marketing environment.

Responsive – in the future marketing efforts will become more responsive to the wants and needs of both the target market and the client. In the future, metrics will play a larger role in determining the success or failure of marketing campaigns. Delivering the correct message to the correct target market in order to generate the best potential return on investment (ROI) will become less art and more science. From a target market perspective, fluidity and responsiveness are interdependent.

Interactive – the broadcast paradigm is passive whereas the future of marketing is active. Those in the target market have the ability to interact with marketers in real-time and can participate in the generation of the marketing message. In addition, placement of marketing in online and mobile games offers an interesting opportunity.

Efficient – in the future, the ability to calculate an accurate ROI provides marketers with an opportunity to optimize marketing efforts. Optimization today remains an elusive concept. By reducing wasted marketing expenditures and tailoring messages based on target market responses, the mythical goal of efficiency is destined to become a reality.

Personalized – the future of marketing is one of personalized or customized campaigns. As we move away from the one-to-many communication model, individual targeting and interpersonal communication becomes the norm instead of the exception. Combined with the category below (targeted), marketing messages in the future will be customized at the individual level.

Targeted – the ability to deliver personalized messages is made even more powerful when combined with data. Demographics, psychographics, behavior and usage, historical purchase data, responsiveness to past marketing campaigns and geography will play an important role in the marketing messages that those in the target market receive.

Location-based – in the future, where you are and why you’re there will play an increasingly important role in marketing. Offers from nearby competitors, suggested venues and activities, historical points of interest, sales and promotion information and consumer evaluations/ratings of the same will play change based on your location.

Mobile – coupled with the above, more marketing campaigns will be delivered via mobile devices in the future based on location. P-commerce and p-marketing will gain in importance as the technological capabilities of smartphones and iPads (or similar devices) increase to the point that computer ownership becomes unnecessary.

The main reason for the paradigm shift? Technological advances and Moore’s Law in action. On the consumer side, the cost of increasingly sophisticated technology is decreasing to the point where it is nearly affordable to all in the North American market. In the future, television, video and digital outdoor advertising remain important but serve to drive traffic to online and mobile campaigns. The importance of traditional print advertising is expected to diminish. The ability to reach targeted consumers individually via mobile devices at an affordable rate negates the need for investment in print media.

On the business side, customer relationship management (CRM), data collection and data mining are becoming refined to the point where CRM systems will provide actual value (as opposed to hypothetical value). The goal of marketers in the future will be to collect as much data and information as possible at the individual level and to use this information to predict responsiveness to customized marketing efforts.

The new era of marketing is the social/mobile marketing era. Micro-targeting is the future of marketing. And this future is becoming a reality because of the merging of marketing and information technology.

What do you think the future of marketing will be?