Tag Archives: Marketing Education

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 Pyramid of Requisite Skills for Marketing Graduates

New Marketing Snakes + LaddersAre you a marketing student who wants to position yourself for a job after graduation? If so, then focus on building demonstrable skills in the areas that potential employers have identified as important for new employees to possess. Progressing from the broader general skills sought by employers in the 21st century to skills identified by the American Management Association for business school graduates to possess to the narrower skills identified as critical for those seeking careers in today’s marketing environment, the purpose of this blog is to provide a framework for marketing students to consider when positioning themselves for future employment.

Using the framework developed by the Partnership for the 21st Century Skills provides a solid foundation on which to build. Students moving through the U.S. educational system should acquire a broad range of skills that include learning core subjects and 21st century themes, life and career skills and information media and technology skills.

The Base of the Pyramid

The base is a variation of the framework provided by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21), a national organization that advocates for 21st century readiness for every student in the U.S.A.

Core Subjects and 21st Century Themes

Core subjects required include English, reading or language arts, world languages, arts, mathematics, economics, science, geography, history, and government and civics. Additional 21st century themes include global awareness, financial, economic, business and entrepreneurial literacy, civic literacy, health literacy, and environmental literacy. Around this inner arch of competency, specialized skills can be developed including life and career skills, learning and innovation skills, information, media and technology skills.

Life and Career Skills

The components of the life and career skills desired include flexibility and adaptability, initiative and self-direction, social and cross-cultural skills, productivity and accountability, and leadership and responsibility. Marketing students who can demonstrate their ability to adapt to change, work independently, manage their goals and time, work and interact effectively in diverse teams, manage projects with demonstrable results, who can act responsibly and lead others are better positioned for success than are those who are deficient in this area.

Information, Media and Technology Skills

The functional and critical thinking skills desired in this area include information literacy, media literacy, information, communications and technology (ICT) literacy. Marketing graduates should be able to access, evaluate, use and manage information, analyze and use media, create media products, use digital technologies, communication/networking tools and social networks to access, manage, integrate, evaluate and create information.

The Pyramid of Requisite Skills for Marketing Graduates

The Middle of the Pyramid

The middle of the pyramid is based partially upon research conducted by the American Management Association in partnership with the P21, reaffirming the importance of critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication skills for success in the business environment. Given the importance placed upon these skills by employers, they are placed above the foundation-level in the proposed pyramid. These skills are identified as Learning and Innovation Skills in the framework developed by P21. In addition, marketing students need to possess a solid foundation in marketing principles, theory and practice.

Learning and Innovation Skills

This category of skills includes creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem solving, and communication skills and collaboration. New graduates should be capable of thinking and working creatively, implementing innovation, reasoning effectively, use systems thinking, make informed decisions, communicate clearly and effectively and to collaborate with others.

Marketing Principles, Theory and Practice

In addition to possessing skills in critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration, marketing graduates need to receive a solid foundation in marketing principles, theory and practice. Suggested coursework includes marketing principles, integrated marketing communication, consumer behavior, advertising, global marketing, marketing research and marketing management. As much as possible, active-learning (learn by doing) should be stressed over passive learning.

The Top of the Pyramid

As we transition from a service-based economy to a knowledge-based economy and from the relationship marketing era to the social/mobile marketing era, employers are increasingly seeking graduates who possess demonstrable skills in inbound marketing. A recently published book, Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media and Blogs, by authors and HubSpot co-founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, includes a chapter entitled Picking and Measuring People. In this chapter, they present the DARC framework for screening future marketing employees. The DARC framework stands for:

D = Hire Digital Citizens

A = Hire for Analytical Skills

R = Hire for Web Reach

C = Hire for Content Creators

Marketing graduates seeking jobs in the current marketing environment should be able to demonstrate proficiency in all of the DARC areas. If you’re a student in a marketing program and not developing your inbound marketing skills, the time to start is now. The investment that you make in building your network, personal brand and mastering social media platforms and tools will pay off during your job search. If your business school doesn’t offer coursework in these areas, take charge of your own education. Sign up for HubSpot’s free Inbound Marketing University (IMU) to study for and earn Inbound Marketing Certification. External verification of skills, such as IMU certification, provides you with a competitive advantage once you enter the job market.

Want to learn more about the skills that you need to possess in order to differentiate yourself as a marketer in the social/mobile marketing era? Register for How to Get Hired and Stay Hired as a Vanguard Marketer, Wednesday, 27 October 2010 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Take the time and effort to invest in building your future success as a vanguard marketer.


Promoting the Use of Mobile Phones as an Education Tool in the College Classroom

Many of my colleagues are proud of enforcing a “no cell phone” policy in their college classrooms. Although I agree that students should have the courtesy to place their mobile phones in silent mode while in class, I disagree with the need for or utility of banning mobile phone use in college classrooms. In my opinion, a smarter approach is to embrace the technology and to utilize it as a learning support platform.

As of a year ago, according to a survey by Ball State University, nearly 100 percent of college students own mobile phones and almost 30 percent of these are owners of smartphones. As more students make the move to smartphones, how is utilizing this mini hand-held computer any different than allowing students to bring laptops into the classroom? (another somewhat controversial practice that I endorse)

Potentially Positive Uses of Mobile Phones in the Classroom

The purpose of this blog is to provide educators with a beginner’s list of resources to consider when developing their courses for the Web 2.0 era. As part of this era, embrace the use of mobile phones in the classroom. If you are already using personal response systems (clickers) in your classes, the move to mobile makes sense for both you and your students. Why require them to purchase an additional device when Poll Everywhere provides the same functionality via mobile phones?

There are many other potential uses of mobile phones in the classroom. Originally posted in 2008, this blog on Thinking Machine offers numerous positive suggestions for incorporating mobile phones into the classroom. As you read down the list, think of how much more engaged your students will be and how much more enhanced their learning experience will be once you embrace and utilize mobile technology in your class. Like it or not, edutainment is the buzzword in course delivery today. Students want to be engaged and entertained at the same time. Mobile technology makes this task easier.

My intention is to adopt as many of these as possible into my lecture format, including displaying live streaming Twitter hashtag discussions based on the lecture. Think about it – students have the opportunity to send questions and provide feedback live via Twitter. Although students have this same capability in the classroom currently (by raising their hand), providing them with the opportunity to submit questions via Twitter may assist those who are otherwise reticent to communicate publicly by providing them with a  means to express themselves. In addition, transcripts from daily hashtag conversations in the classroom can be posted and archived.

Supplementary Content Available Publicly

One of the main features of smartphones is the capability to view videos and listen to podcasts. Professors can supplement their class material with content provided via iTunes U or YouTubeEDU. Students can download videos, podcasts, lectures and other resources for viewing via mobile phone or computer. I’m a fan of using open source materials in my classes and think it to be the best option to assure a high-quality learning experience for the students.

iTunes U, initially a pilot project with six institutions (Brown, Duke, Stanford, University of Michigan, University of Missouri and University of Wisconsin Madison) was made available to the public via the iTunes Store on 30 May 2007. Currently, over 600 universities and colleges have active iTunes U sites and are posting content (250,000+ lectures, videos, films and resources).

To learn more about what is available via iTunes U use the What’s On link and explore the content. An example of excellence in the use of iTunes U, in my opinion, is Standford University. Why aren’t you participating?

Here is the main portal for the content available on YouTubeEDU. A more complete listing of potential YouTube educational resources may be found on the OpenCulture.com site. Colleges and universities are highlighted at the bottom of the page. These websites contain some of the best (and worst) of the edutainment materials available today. Cull through them and select those of value to your students and your course learning goals.

Become a Lecturing Rock Star

If you are interested in creating your own content for reference or future use by your students, consider using available cloud-based technologies for lecture capture and indexing. The system by Tegrity is used by 400 or more educational institutions. From a professor’s viewpoint, the main benefit of Tegrity is its ease of use. From a student’s viewpoint, the benefits are numerous and include access to lectures 24/7 across a variety of platforms, indexed and searchable by keyword terms and with RSS notification when new materials for the class are posted.

Infrastructure Considerations

Key things to consider are the strength of signal for the various mobile phone providers in your classroom. The architecture on our campus and preponderance of concrete, serves as a barrier to access. This can be overcome as more students transition to smartphones by providing open access to wifi signal on campus (many universities use VPN access to wifi but there are some issues with setting up VPN access on mobile phones).

Adopt Now or Dial “L” for Luddite

The key is to embrace and utilize mobile technology to facilitate the learning process. Your students will appreciate and enjoy the opportunity to use their mobile phones in the classroom. Your teaching evaluations will improve as will their performance. Regardless of how you envision incorporating mobile phone use in your classroom, the time to start is now. Please keep us informed of your best practices and successes/failures in implementing mobile technology into the classroom. We are, after all, part of a mobile learning community.