Digital Marketing MSc | An Introduction

Digital Marketing MSc | An Introduction


My name is Craig Bradshaw, I’m the Programme
Leader for the MSc in Digital Marketing. In terms of what students can expect from the
course, we’ve kind of pulled together a really good mix of academic theory, which is never
going to go out of fashion, and always going to be relevant to students, but we try and
supplement that with a really contemporary range of real-life case studies, insight from
practitioners, real data from real companies, real project briefs, real case studies, so
that when students eventually graduate from Northumbria, they will go on to be industry ready
for the jobs that their hopefully looking to get in the future. In terms of modules
that I think are interesting, or kind of maybe ones students might enjoy most, we have three
dedicated digital modules on the programme, one of which is called ‘The Digital Consumer
Journey’, which is basically thinking about digital culture and mainstream culture nowadays,
the main way we access content and access products and services is online, so what we
try and do is to try and give students the tools and resources to be able to understand
their given audience and map their customer journey from seeing an advert on social media
through to purchasing through a companies website and collecting in-store, and hopefully
kind of recommending that brand on social media to their friends and family. So, the
customer journey is always going to be there, companies are struggling to do that, so that
is one of the modules that students really enjoy because its, their getting under the
skin, they’re having a real problem and a real product, and understanding how and what
makes consumers tick with regards to that industry. The module that we do that I think
are really relevant, we do one called ‘Digital Campaign Management’, which this year is done in collaboration
with the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing, and it’s done in collaboration with Instagram,
so, what it is, it’s a real competition, a national competition, where Instagram have
asked students from Northumbria and across the country to come up with a campaign to
get companies to use Instagram stories as part of their Marketing Campaigns, so students
get to work on a real brief, set by a real very well-known company, and what they’re
doing is coming up with ideas to improve Instagram’s Business Performance, and then hopefully they
submit their ideas to the IDM, then if they’re lucky enough, they’ll get invited down to
London to pitch to Instagram and the IDM in July, swanky offices just off Oxford Street,
and they’re pitching their ideas to those businesses to be in with the chance of winning
£1500, and you know money can’t buy recommendation on your CV from having the opportunity of
pitching to Instagram. So, yeah that whole module is designed around the competition
set by the IDM and we very much give students the tools, and the guidance needed to complete
that to the best of their abilities, so that when, you know that is a very nice piece of
content to have in your portfolio to then take with you to interviews, to say well this
is a campaign I ran on behalf of Instagram and it achieve x, y and z results. To supplement
that, one of the biggest barriers I think of in terms of what students struggle with
when they go into real jobs in the Digital Marketing sector, is metrics. So, obviously
you can measure everything to the nth degree, how long somebody has watched a video for,
or how far they scrolled down a website, how much they paid for a click on a particular
advertisement, all this sort of stuff, students need to know when they go into jobs. So, we
pretty much give you a kind of scatter gun approach of every single metric that you might
need to know about, and give you a very in-depth analysis for what it can do, why it is important,
what campaigns that metric might be important for, and again hopefully putting that together,
or packing that together in a suite of marketing metrics, so that then they can build a dashboard,
a real-time dashboard that collects all the information that’s important to them, and
again that’s a nice piece of information to take to an interview, or to a recruitment
panel, to say well I’ve built this dashboard for this company, it’s looking at traffic
from social media, traffic through the website, which pages are most popular on the website,
what the average spend is, what the average customer lifetime value is, all that sort
of stuff they’re going to be expected to do in a real job, and kind of very much equip
them to do that, and not come into a job cold and not have idea of what any of the metrics
mean. So, that the one I enjoy teaching most because it’s the one that students find, probably
most challenging, because it’s very measurement focused and lots of numbers, which maybe they
don’t normally associate with a marketing role, but by the end of that module you know
they’ve, you can see the weight lifted of their shoulders, saying yeah I feel more confident
going into using it now because I know what average cost per click is, I know what reach
is, I know what impressions are and that sort of stuff, so that they can go into jobs and
feel confident. In terms of some of the things that might be different, compared to maybe
some of the other universities offering a similar course, I think one thing that’s kind
of been a really nice surprise for us, is just how well graduate from the course have
done, so obviously the course is in its third year now, so it’s only been running for 3
years, but in that time we’ve had some graduates going on to do some amazing things for local,
national and international companies. So we get a good mix of UK and International students,
and obviously those students all come in to do amazingly well and go on to get jobs in
either the UK if they want to stay, or they go to work in their home countries, and the
graduates we’ve had, some of the companies they’ve gone on to work for just make the
job of me selling this course much easier, you know you got the likes of Sky,
Salesforce, people who have gone to set-up their own companies, people who have gone
to work for reputable agencies, both in the North East, and in the UK and even internationally. So, just how well
and how employable the graduates that we’ve helped to, played a very small part in creating
have gone on to do, is kind of something that I would have never of hoped to be as amazing as it
has been, and it’s good to see those students get back in touch and saying I couldn’t have
got this job without the stuff I learnt on the course, and yeah thanks, and I know, you
know I’m not egotistical, I know that I’ve played a small part in their careers but giving
them the tools, and maybe giving them a slight step-up and slight advantage over somebody
else from a different university, is yeah is something money can’t buy, and what makes my
job worthwhile. In terms of how the course helps to improve employability, the key thing
we really focus on is giving students the wider marketing theory that they need to kind of understand why they are doing a certain thing, or why they are taking a
certain approach for a certain customer, but we supplement that with the practical skills,
and the practical tool kits that they will need to go in to do the jobs that they need
to do with regards to whatever jobs they want to do in the future. So, and again that kind
of something we’ve identified that maybe companies have struggled to find in graduates over recent
years, and that something, a gap in the market we have tried to fill, and so the feedback
we’ve had before the Digital Marketing course was sort of formed, was that graduates are
very good, they are very book smart, but we almost have to train them up from scratch,
because they don’t know how to do the day-to-day tasks that we want them to do, because obviously
every company now needs some sort of digital presence, so you know you’ve got agencies,
you’ve got e-commerce, retailers, but also we got kind of lots of B2B companies, who
they know they should be doing digital in some form, whether that’s social media, or
improving their website presence, but they don’t know how to do the nitty gritty of what
needs to be done. So of a recognition of that we said well how can we add a practical element
and a practical spin to our course, so that students can say yes they understand the theory,
they learn the contemporary theories that are being talked about in academia, but how
can we give them skills so that they are confident to go into a job from day one and do that
to the best of their ability. And I think that’s something we’ve done really well, you
know the students kind of almost sometimes, you know they’re a bit like a rabbit in a
headlights when they start the course, I have no idea what any of this means, but by the
end the course, they think yeah I know everything I need to do, and yeah that comes across in
interviews, that comes across in how they carry themselves in the roles they are going
on to do, and I think that’s what sets us apart from other people, and hopefully helps
us the students become much more employable, that they can add value to a business in terms
of questioning why they are doing certain things from a marketing perspective, but they
can also say right well based on what you’ve just told us to do, how do we do it and that’s
something they can say well yeah I’ve told you how to do it, er what to do, and this
is how you do it as well and we’ll go and implement that for you, and I think that is
indispensable for lots of companies. In terms of anything else that I think is valuable
or of value to students thinking of coming to Northumbria, I think one of the key USP’s
we’ve got is the Business Clinic, so as part of the Masters in semester 3, students have
a chance of either doing a dissertation on a digital marketing subject of their choice,
but if they don’t perhaps fancy doing a dissertation, maybe they’ve done a dissertation in their
undergraduate degree and they want to get some more real-life practical experience,
we offer something called the Business Clinic where students can work in a group of maybe
5 or 6 postgraduate students, and work on a real brief, that’s been set by a real company
with real issues, so these are done on a sort of pro bono basis, so companies come to Northumbria
and say we need help with our website, or we need help with our social media strategy,
have you got any students that can help us, which is where the Business Clinic comes in
handy, cause then students get the opportunity to work on a real company and provide and
create real value for those companies, but it’s also something that looks really good
on their CV, because again one of the things that employers looks for is have you got any
real-world business experience, so that’s something that’s really nice I think for students
to do because again prepares them for the working world and maybe something a bit different
than just kind of doing a 15,000 word dissertation on something that is relevant, but maybe not
as valuable to a business than this is how I improved somebody’s conversion rate through
a website for example. On top of that I think that another key thing of the course itself
is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Marketing and the Institute of Direct and
Digital Marketing, so two good governing bodies in the marketing world, two of the worlds
biggest governing bodies, or industry bodies is probably a better way of putting it, so
they have accredited our course and you know that just shows that they are happy with the
work that we are doing, and it also gives students a opportunity to come and do the
course here, but then once they’ve graduated from us they have the opportunity to take,
to further improve their qualifications by partaking in exams held by both the CIM and
the IDM.

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