Friday, October 12, 2018

Where Are They Now 2018: Alondra Ramos-Herrera

Alondra Ramos-Herrera, student at Eastern Michigan University. She is a senior Majoring in International Business and Marketing. While in the Digital Summer Clinic with Center for Digital Engagement, Alondra was a digital media specialist intern with the tech start-up Mi Padrino.

Why CDE Internship?

As a senior, we all need real-world experience in our field. Alondra wanted real-world experience in marketing. CDE partners interns with start-up tech companies in the Ann Arbor area which has plenty of opportunities to get experience in digital marketing. After learning about CDE, Alondra found the best way for her to get that first-hand experience she desired.

“I thought it would be a great opportunity to find what area of marketing I would be interested in and give me different options. I also hoped to network and see different companies.”

Experience Gained at the Clinic?

Being partnered with Mi Padrino, Alondra gained experience in vendor selling. "I did a lot of cold calling and emailing different vendors from all over the country." Other tasks included being part of promotional videos and blog writing.

“One of the most valuable things I learned was how important it is to work as a team. A lot of the times, someone relies on you to get stuff done, so that they can get their stuff done. There was a lot of communicating.”

Going above and beyond is important as an intern. Alondra did so by being available for extra hours. Being available when the CEO needs you for a start-up is vital. This helped Alondra continue with her internship past the expected date.

Where Are You Now?

Alondra accepted a position at Mi Padrino following the summer internship. She manages the company social media pages such as Instagram and Pinterest. Other tasks include helping with videos for social content.

Content writing is a skill Alondra is developing. Learning how best to tell a story while keeping all audiences engaged is important for marketing.

“I want to improve on everything. There’s always something to learn and you can always improve on the skills that you already have.”

After graduation, Alondra hopes to continue working for Mi Padrino. 

"This company is growing so fast in such a small amount of time. It’s super exciting"

For Future Interns with CDE

“Put yourself out there, ask questions, and talk to everyone on the team. That’s one of the many things I learned. Tell whoever is in charge, what you’re good at or if there’s anything else you can help with. It’ll allow you to grow and expand your skills. You want to make an impact, and that’s just a couple of ways of doing it. You will be nervous, just like any other intern, but don’t be afraid.”

A Thank You to CDE

I want to thank everyone that was part of the CDE for allowing me to be part of it. A special thanks to Bud, for choosing me to intern for Mi Padrino. I learned so much in such a short amount of time. It was a great experience, I took a lot from it, especially from the guest speakers we had” 

Friday, October 5, 2018

Where Are They Now 2018: Gabrielle Miller

Gabrielle Miller, student at Eastern Michigan University. She is a senior Majoring in Communications with a minor in Marketing graduating this December. While in the Digital Summer Clinic with Center for Digital Engagement, Gabrielle was a digital marketing intern with the tech start-up TrueJob.

A Little Back Story

Before the Clinic, Gabrielle became involved with CDE for the 2017 Digital Marketing Workshop as a volunteer. She was offered the opportunity to intern as the Winter Manager for CDE. With having some experience with the organization Gabrielle decided to apply for the 2018 Digital Summer Clinic Internship. She was placed with TrueJob.

While interning with the Clinic this summer Gabrielle’s goal was to improve on her strengths, which she did in, “web and other performance metrics, sales and marketing, written content, graphics content.” She felt that the internship also helped her grow as a professional.

Where Are You Now?

Since the summer, Gabrielle has her plate full. She accepted the Fall Manager for CDE where she is utilizing skills strengthened and learned from the summer as the events manager. She assists in creating awareness for events such as Accelerating the Sales Funnel and Full Stack Customer Experience (on October 26th).

“I design and curate marketing materials, strategically plan and promote materials while increasing the overall awareness of the organization.”

Gabrielle is also the EMU Student Center Marketing Communications Coordinator.

"My favorite thing about working at the Student Center is that I get to be very hands-on and involved with my peers, I have nearly complete freedom over events, and social media etc. This allows me to be creative and productive, as the lead of the student center marketing team."

As graduation is nearing and with all of the experience Gabrielle has gained this past year, she knows marketing communications/ digital marketing is the field she has a passion for. She is looking at positions and companies to apply to for that will work best for her. 

"It is an ongoing process, but I know wherever I end up will be just the beginning!"

For Future Interns with CDE

“When going into this internship you may be nervous, and you may feel lost BUT you will figure everything out and all the pieces will fall into place. The challenges you are faced with during the summer are all growth opportunities. I found that not being afraid to voice my ideas is best. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes as well, or be fearful of feedback. The feedback and criticism I have received are all molding me into being better.”

A Thank You to CDE

“Thank you to the CDE, for helping me grow. I am very appreciative of all the opportunities I have been afforded, in under a year and I cannot wait to see what the future holds.  My current mantra is, “Keep going, Keep growing.” I use this for all aspects of my life, both personal and career-wise, no matter what keep going, and you will keep growing personally and professionally.” 

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Accelerating the Sales Funnel Recap

September 28th was Accelerating the Sales Funnel, hosted by Center for Digital Engagement.
Featured company, Genomenon, discussed the challenges of moving users from free to paid services. Jenn Hayman, Director of Marketing for Zingerman's, led us along with Bud Gibson, the discussion with Candace Chapman, Director of Marketing for Genomenon and Nicholas Woods, intern with Genomenon and student of CDE.

When discussing how to communicate with users who use Genomenon services, Chapman said, because we are small right now, our sales guy calls almost every person who signs up”. With just over 2,000 users this is a great way to connect with them. Seeing what your audience is looking for and will need moving forward is helpful for a small business that offers subscriptions.

"How do you overcome when somebody says it is too expensive.. How does that conversation work?"

Chapman explains how Genomenon offers a 30 day free trial of their professional level when someone signs up with them. “Gives people a taste, gets people hooked on it, and gives you an audience to talk to,” said Chapman.

Move free users to paid users

Email campaigns are sent to these trial users to update them on what benefits are included with the professional level. This gives value to the service and can move them to become a paid user.

“A lot of people here are to learn about marketing and email marketing, though it has its challenges, it is a great way in today's world to get the word out, and you have to have people opted in”

Tactic to get people opted in 

Go to events, meet your audience face to face. Chapman explained a time they paid for a reception after an event. This gave an opportunity to start conversations and set up meetings. "Go where your target audience is."

Find your audience 

It may need trial and error- talk to the people. "Mark, our founder, is our target audience" the marketing department may ask him “does this message resonate with you?”

Woods discussed how they have found unique approaches to communicate with their target audience. One outlet Genomenon has utilized is Reddit.

“Know your audience and go where they are.”

Photo credit: Cody Ryan Martell

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

CDE Partnerships: Intern Talent Acquisition

Hiring the right candidate is like getting 40 percent of the job done before it even begins. In the world of tech startups, talent acquisition is one of the top challenges entrepreneurs face. Startups function more like a family than a group of coworkers. That means a new hire’s requirements go beyond a resume or skill set, a candidate needs to complement the company's culture and values. So when the opportunity to work with prequalified and knowledgeable individuals presents itself, wouldn’t you take it?

Every summer, The Center for Digital Engagement precisely couples marketing interns with local companies expanding, growing and in need of manpower. Scott Goci, cofounder and CEO of TrueJob, Inc. is one of the beneficiaries of the clinic's esteemed intern cohort. As the leader of a small startup, Scott faces the constant challenge of balancing an endless list of to-do's with a limited team. "Having interns is a great way for us to be able to focus on things that we have wanted to accomplish for awhile, and having more help to do so as well!"

Scott sang the praises of his TrueJob interns, "Gabrielle was brilliant at helping us with design in marketing...Mark was always great at going the extra mile for us." Gabrielle and Mark worked on generating inbound marketing content and improving user experience on the company's website. With the interns' management of the marketing, eagerness to help out and conquering any of the things asked of them, Scott and his cofounder Mike were able to focus their full attention on neglected business and tasks.

TrueJob cofounders, Mike Kling and Scott Goci

"I think the internship program was amazingly valuable -- we got help with some of our most pressing needs." The benefits were felt symbiotically. TrueJob allowed Gabby and Mark to experience digital marketing in the real world, and their work was impactful. Scott shared "...Because of the direct help of the interns, we've significantly raised our Google presence online." As competent, carefully vetted marketers Gabrielle and Mark were able to generate new ideas and suggestions that were implemented onto the TrueJob website, advertisements and blog content.

After 8 weeks of bridging the gap between their abilities and the needs of company, TrueJob had two qualified employees prepared for on-boarding. Scott said "We'll definitely be reaching out to both of them in the future for guidance and advice -- we always appreciated their feedback and their support!"

Just like TrueJob is a better job board, the CDE summer clinic is a better way of finding future talent and growing your company. To learn more about about the opportunity to partner with the CDE and our phenomenal interns, email the clinic director Bud Gibson.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Toria's Summer Internship Experience

One of the main reasons the Center for Digital Engagement continues to grow the summer clinic is to watch students gain insight and experience for jobs in the SE Michigan area.

For the students to gain their CDE/SPARK Digital Media Certificate, they must complete an 80 hour internship with a local startup, attend weekly panel discussions, and get certified in Google Analytics or Adwords.

We sat down and had lunch with Toria Beckum to talk about her experience this summer in the clinic. Toria worked at IndustryStar and chose to get certified in Google Analytics. She is currently a public relations student at Eastern Michigan University. Check out her interview below!

What are 3 words you would describe the clinic/internship in?
       "Rewarding, Professional, Challenging"

Did you have any reservations before applying?
      "Yes, I was a PR major and didn’t have professional marketing experience yet."

What made you apply?
      "I went to an informational meeting about the program and decided it was a great opportunity! My professor, Jaime Ward, also helped sway me to take the jump and apply."

What were you most surprised to learn?
      "Google Analytics and Data Studio. I was also surprised to see how much professional research we did in the office "

What are you most proud of at the internship?
      "The mocks ups I made for the website."

How did it help you in the PR field?
      "It set me apart from my peers because I have a visual marketing experience now. I am a more well-rounded PR professional with a diverse skill set."

What was your favorite thing about working for a start up?
        "I love getting the opportunity to do different things each day."

What was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
         "For me, it was figuring out how to navigate Google Analytics and I overcame it by watching tutorials and taking practice tests for the certification."

How was it being in downtown Ann Arbor?
      "It was a great atmosphere and positive with a lot of events during the week for interns. "

Do you want to work in SE Michigan in the future?
      "I would like to stay in greater Detroit because of the opportunity it offers."

 What was a typical day?
       " I worked in 5 hour shifts per day. I would find parking, go to my cute little desk and work on assigned tasks. I always got feedback and engaged with the team. There are also a lot of new lunch spots to try every day."

What's the main reason other students should apply?
        "They should apply so that they can learn new skills and further develop skills they do have in a professional setting. It is also the best networking opportunity I have had. The interns end up being a community!"

How does the internship help in other career aspects?
      "The clinic will help you with LinkedIn building, mentoring, resume building, gaining professional contacts, and it shows dedication to future employers to get the certificate."

What advice do you have for doing well in the internship?
      "Go out of your way to build relationships with the company and other interns, work hard, keep records of all the projects you complete, and journal what you do everyday."

How has this changed the course of you future?
       "It has put me in a different class of PR professionals because of the extra knowledge I gained. It will open up new opportunities for me in digital marketing. I won’t be looked at as just a PR major and that has changed my mind to go into a more marketing based job."

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Digital Marketing: The Role of Paid Media

Today’s world of digital marketing is made up of dozens of specialized niches. Content creation, social media, publicity, partnerships, SEO and one of the largest components: paid media. Paid media contains everything from pay per click ad campaigns to sponsored Tweets. This new and ever changing piece of the digital marketing pie can be overwhelming. Luckily, we had three paid media experts share with us their take on the past, present and future of implementing paid media into the digital marketing spectrum.

John Hughes and Jorel McCree

John Hughes (Domino’s), Jorel McCree (Pinterest Automotive) and Jack Takesian (Google) weighed in at the most recent Center for Digital Engagement’s Summer Clinic Speaker Session.

John told us his story, “I had a strange career path…” A series of ups and downs led John to advertising and marketing, where his passion was. In his first job, John didn’t even know what media was! Marketing has evolved from an “analog” ecosystem of senders, facilitators, publishers and receivers to an explosion of information and activity, in all directions. Currently leading Domino’s in-house paid media team, John said he “…Didn’t have a background in half of it, but learned a lot of quickly.” Paid media is continuously evolving and to stay relevant you have to, too.

“I wanted marketing to be my passion.” Jorel McCree’s journey started with an EMU practicum course and lead to Ford Motor Co. creating their first digital marketing internship for him. Based on his experience, he left Ford to work for an agency, he now works for Pinterest. "I learned paid search, SEO, paid social. You jump in and have no idea what you're doing. And then, just keep learning." 

Jack also experienced the digital transition first-hand. His first job at an agency motivated him to learn about media analysis, media planning and digital ad trafficking. "It was trial by fire. It was digging into all the platforms I could, trying to absorb all the knowledge I possibly could." Jack's ability to stay ahead of the curve and self-developed skill set lead to Google recruiting him. 

Disruption in technology and the marketing environment lead to new roles for John, Jorel and Jack. Their ability to be flexible and constantly learn, positioned them to advance not only their careers but in their ability to market effectively.

So how do you use paid media? Before implementing anything Jack says to define "What success measures you are going to identify and how you are going to get there." What are your key performance indicators (KPIs)? Once you are able to define success, you can begin to track that success, then use the data you have to build upon it and weed out what is not working. 

According to John, "Paid media is a sales driver." Everything is based around finding the inefficiencies and continually getting better. "You can beat your competition by iterating faster." How do you do that? John says test, test, test. Build upon the metrics that you collect. Jorel suggests starting with the tools available online, especially the "big guys," Facebook and Google. With little experience necessary, you can quickly and easily see what is happening and fine-tune your marketing impacts on the audience. 

While paid media can have a huge and positive impact on a client, it can be difficult to convince them that spending the money is worth it. "Pitching any paid media channel as a solution to their problem is key." Jack says clients need to think of paid media as an investment, not a cost. When building your marketing strategy, the panelists suggest asking: how much is each lead worth? Digital marketing technology allows you to measure the success and breakdown the cost, to show a customer the value of paid media. 

When allocating budgets for paid media or any other component of the media ecosystem, it is important to evaluate the value, impact and effectiveness of the channel. In a large company, such as Domino’s, John uses A/B testing, optimization towards specific data metrics and econometrics. For smaller budgets, Jorel suggests using free tools such as surveying. Whatever the case, the panelists stress the importance of keeping your audience engaged. Jack says "Everything fits together,” be prepared to show your client the success of what you are planning and the value of what you are doing.

Jack Takesian

To end the session, the panelists shared some tips for individuals looking to break into digital marketing. Their unanimous tip? Passion will drive you to succeed.

Jorel says to “Find your North Star. It’ll keep you going in the direction you plan on heading. Let that passion show.” John, Jorel and Jack have become experts in paid media by continually pushing themselves to learn more. Jack suggestions “…Having a skill that makes you crucial.” Find the problems, not only the solutions. By going above and beyond, and displaying that skill set, you make yourself invaluable. 

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Mi Padrino's Experience Working With CDE Interns

Internships are an amazing opportunity for students to gain real world experience in their desired field. Time and time again, the Center for Digital Engagement’s interns shared with us that they “don’t just get coffee.” Interns tackle digital marketing projects spanning from paid ad campaigns to filming video content to developing wireframes for web pages, and everything in between! Their hands-on education benefits not only the intern, but the companies that host them as well.

We had the opportunity to chat with Lauren Lively, Mi Padrino’s Director of Operations about her experience with the interns from the Digital Summer Clinic.

Lauren has worked with two cohorts of CDE interns. “CDE interns are hard working kids. They don’t act like interns, they are very professional.” Lauren stressed how well students are matched up with the company. “Alondra’s degree in international business and Mel’s background in marketing are both different. But they took those two very different areas of expertise, and added their own opinions and abilities to the tasks they were given.”

Mi Padrino interns have provided additional support to others at the company, too. This summer’s interns were able to pair up and create additional content, collaborate with other employees and go beyond the company’s initial needs. “...(They) end up doing more than they say they’re going to do. Their dedication goes beyond the hours that are required.”

Lauren shared that Mi Padrino has had overwhelming positive experiences with the interns they’ve worked with. The eight week internships have led to all four of their interns being offered additional work opportunities, and two of the interns being hired on after the program ended. “...(They) become part of your company. They have learned a lot while they’re here. It’s easy to onboard someone that is already is trained and knows what you need.”

Mi Padrino’s takeaway? The CDE Digital Summer Clinic interns have been an “...awesome resource for us. They’re super hard working kids.” When asked if they would continue on with the program? “Of course, we saw the value they have provided in the years before. We know that will happen again, these are smart and motivated kids.”

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