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.”

Copy Written By: Zvezda Deuling

Monday, August 13, 2018

Startups: The Founder's Perspective

 Have you ever wondered the challenges and surprises that come with a startup venture? What makes a person finally take the leap to create their startup company?

We sat down with Nicol Pasuit (Founder and CEO of TechStak), Molly McFarland (One of the Founder's  and Chief Revenue Officer for Ad Adapted), and Nestor Lopez-Duran (Co-founder and CEO of Ripple Science) to see what a startup really takes!

The first part of our conversation was about forming a startup. All of the panelists agreed that in a startup you will wear many hats! They said their products, marketing, and people evolve everyday. One of their tips was to always stay positive and trust yourself. Molly talked about losing a key employee once and thinking they could not move forward. Eventually, you start the task of finding your next employee and realize that everything will be okay. Startups can be stressful and that is why it is important to surround yourself with calm and driven associates. This still leaves the question of why. Why did they leave their jobs to follow their startup dreams? Each individual saw a problem they faced, yet nobody else could fix it. They started the company's because they knew other people must have been having the same problems. For example, Nestor is a professor and created his software for effective research participant recruitment and management.

 Our next topic involved the challenges of a startup. Nestor's main challenges were funding and software engineering. Most startups will have to find a source of funding. This can be challenging when you are a new product or service. Our panelist's recommended being able to create financial projections that are reasonable and backed by fact.

Each founder also agreed that spending time to find the perfect fit for a job position was worth the effort. Nestor co-founded a software company, even though he did not know coding or software engineering. A big challenge for Ripple Science was having someone create their software, but not knowing how to tell if the work was good. Always networking and keeping industry connections can help you solve these challenges. A common theme occurred through the founder's dialogue. The theme was failure as a tool. Each of them could name all of the challenges they encountered. They could also name each lesson they learned from the failure. The biggest piece of advice they left the interns with was to not be afraid to fail!
 At the end of the discussion, all of the panel participants were asked: if you could go back in time, would you still start your company?

Every answer was yes!

It is obvious these founder's have a passion and love for what they created!

If you have ever thought about finally turning your idea into a startup, remember the infamous Steve Jobs quote "Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

How Will the CDE's Summer Clinic Help You?

After students go through our summer "clinic internship" we tend to measure their success on how it has helped them in their career. Today, we are looking back at one of our previous interns to see just how the clinic assisted him!

Last week, we had an interview with Brandon Lazovic. Brandon is a district digital manager at General Motors. He assists a number of dealers in New Mexico and southern Colorado with website optimization, content creation, reputation management, social media promotion, CRM integration, and search engine marketing. Before Lazovic began working with General Motors he collaborated with startup companies in Ann Arbor to expand their business through digital marketing initiatives and previously served as news editor for the Eastern Echo in 2016 and as a staff writer for the EMU media relations department in 2017. Brandon successfully completed his Center for Digital Engagement Marketing Certificate and says the clinic made the final impact on whether or not he flourished in his digital marketing career.

Interviewer: "How much impact did the clinic have on you gaining your current job?"

Brandon: It was very significant! It showed I had real-life experience as well as certifications. It changed the way recruiters saw me.

Interviewer: "Did the clinic match your expectations?"

Brandon: It exceeded my expectations! At first, I was a little nervous to be fully immersed into s digital marketing job. Throughout the internship we learned so much.

Interviewer: "What is your advice for new interns to be successful during the program?"

Brandon: Client relations is my number one tip. The interns should bring value to every scenario they encounter. The internship gives you opportunities to meet so many people and work on different projects. If you want to create lasting relationships, you need to bring value to each project and person. The second tip is to learn 24/7. Digital marketing is forever changing which means you should be learning new tools every chance you get to stay ahead of the game.

Note: Brandon shared some of his resources for staying up-to-date in digital marketing.
(Moz, Buffer, and joining LinkedIn groups)

Interviewer: "What are skills needed in the Digital Marketing industry that one may not realize?"

Brandon: An idea of coding, UX design, SEO, Ads on social platforms, and soft skills like relationship building. Being able to find areas of opportunity in the digital industry is also very helpful. Whether it is with campaigns or website development, if you can find the one opportunity to improve, you are bringing value to the client.

We would like to thank Brandon for sharing his clinic experience with us!
Check out his website: for digital marketing tips and content!