Articles

Digital Marketing Certificate Program Uses Seasoned Experts, Marketing Instructors to Teach Professionals

By Keith Morelli

Students at meeting

TAMPA (June 8, 2017) -- Professional marketers and managers attended a digital marketing certificate program at the University of South Florida's Muma College of Business last week, learning how to maximize their marketing efforts through cutting-edge technology.

The program, held in the dean's boardroom over four days, was attended by nearly two-dozen participants, eager for insights into best practices in digital marketing, information about how to leverage technology and ways to maximize their advertising program's return on investment.

"There is no marketing today," said Anand Kumar, associate professor at the Muma College of Business, "that isn't digital."

More and more, marketing involves new computer technologies that can be intimidating to some, but which can enhance brands in ways previously untapped. Attendees were asked to solve real-world challenges faced by their firms in a capstone project and use practices developed by top companies. Digital experts and professional instructors considered leaders in the field, guided them every step of the way.

The program is the first of its kind offered at the Muma College of Business.

"These certificate programs are designed to help firms drive return on investment by having employees develop solutions to real-world problems that can be implemented quickly at their firms," said Eric Greenberg, CEO of Executive Education Institute and managing director of the program. "Instruction focuses on those areas that are being changed by digital technologies and helps individuals and firms gain competitive advantage."

The four-day program focused on digital innovations and transformation, strategic digital marketing, strategic social media solutions and other topics.

Greenberg said firms that sent their marketing executives to the program will benefit in several ways, including having someone who can solve existing problems and identify new avenues to success. Certificates also result in increased employee recruitment and retention and a bump in opportunities for partnerships.

Individuals earning the certificate will benefit by learning cutting-edge methods of marketing, expanding their networks and making themselves more marketable with certificate credentials.

"While our surveys for the first program were outstanding, we know that we did something right because we already have people registered for our next class in October," Greenberg said. "We also plan to meet with several companies to explore delivering a customized version of the program on-site to their employees."

Kumar, who also served as the program coordinator, said the instruction targeted marketers who are middle- to senior-level executives grappling with how the ever-changing technology is driving marketing efforts.

"There's a definite need in the market for a program like this," Kumar said, adding that this digital marketing certificate program included top tier instructors from all over the nation.

"We are not limited by any boundaries in terms of who we have as instructors" he said. "We're getting the best people to teach in the program. Last week, we flew people in from Boston and D.C.

"Also, the program's curriculum is not fixed," he said. "Because things change so rapidly, the curriculum keeps evolving. Developments in the digital marketing world change all the time and a traditional program cannot keep up with it."

Participants represented more than 20 different companies, over a dozen different industries and several different functional areas.

"This program caught my eye as I have an MBA degree which I completed 17 years ago – at a time when we didn't focus on digital marketing," said Monica Christopher, chief marketing officer with J.S. Held and one of the attendees. "I was approached to serve on the advisory board for the program but realized that I could benefit from the program myself. I have always been reliant on the digital marketing department of the organization I worked for – or on agencies – to guide digital marketing efforts. However, in today's world, digital marketing is a part of what we do every day, not just an ancillary initiative.

"The quality of the speakers and modules were excellent," she said. "I would recommend this program to anyone looking to build upon their own knowledge of digital marketing and how to apply it to their business. I've been impressed with the applicability of the content to my role at my firm – I am excited to not only work on my capstone project, but to work on its execution when I get back to the office to meet with my team."

The course hit home with Thomas Overbey, marketing director with Ultra Clean Systems in Oldsmar, who also attended.

"The program is like a journey," he said. "You don't realize how appreciable it is until you have experienced it. The course was so well designed that it not only provided highly relevant and useful information that can be immediately put to use, but extended the mechanics to formulate actionable business directives both short term and long term.

"The attendees came from a diverse set of business sectors, but the program provided valuable content for everyone," he said, "I sincerely believe that any professional serving in a marketing capacity should take this course."

For more information about the fall digital marketing certificate program, email Kumar at akumar@usf.edu