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Digital Marketing Certificate Helps Professionals Advance Careers

By Keith Morelli

Anand Kumar

TAMPA -- The Digital Marketing Certificate program offered at the University of South Florida's Muma College of Business is gaining traction with executives near and far and its attendees are finding the certificate translates into promotions, higher salaries and company-transformative responsibilities.

The next four-day course is scheduled for Feb. 12-15, and about two dozen executives have signed up.

Anand Kumar, associate professor in the Marketing Department and faculty chair of the Digital Marketing Certificate program, said the second cohort of 22 executives from some of the largest brands in the nation including Verizon, Capital One, Nielsen and New York Life, finished the most recent session in October.

Many of the executives heard about the program from their colleagues who completed the inaugural class back in June, Kumar said.

"We are excited that the certificate is helping our professionals drive immediate changes back at their firms," he said.  "We are constantly improving the program with each cohort and are excited that leading practitioners from firms, such as Hubspot, and others are joining our faculty to ensure that executives gain the very latest in both strategies and tactics.

"The program is dynamic and responsive to market needs," Kumar said. "For example, based on feedback from the first class, we added a module on marketing automation for the second cohort."

In addition to benefitting their businesses, some graduates of the first cohort are seeing positive impacts to their careers as a result of the program.

Elaine Smalling, assistant vice president of business development with Corporate Fitness Works, said her involvement in the program had a positive impact on her role within her company.

"My interest in the digital marketing certification," she said, "demonstrated initiative and an alignment with our company's culture of promoting life-long learning and innovative thought leadership."

Being able to share what she learned in the company's annual planning meetings, said Smalling who earned her MBA at USF in 1998, was helpful in prioritizing goals, objectives and resources for 2018.

Smalling leads the strategic direction, branding, social media, website development and marketing plans for Corporate Fitness Works.

"Our company culture has always valued continuing education and our executives felt this would be a great opportunity to support our digital marketing investment and strategic direction," Smalling said. "I was impressed to see my alma mater offering a relevant and valuable certification on a topic that is evolving so rapidly. Because of how fast technology and access to information is impacting brand awareness, marketing professionals are struggling to keep up."

The program is filling a strong demand for digital marketing talent in the market place, Kumar said.

"The fact that people are flying into Tampa to earn this certificate," he said, "shows that the Muma College of Business is becoming a center of excellence for providing executives with digital marketing training."

The four-day immersive program is limited to 30 executives and takes place both on the Tampa campus and at off-campus sites such as participating corporations and organizations.

The program uses a hands-on approach in which students learn to apply principles and techniques that drive success in digital-age marketing. Students find ways to solve real-world challenges and use practices developed by top companies. Digital-marketing experts and professional instructors guide them through every step.

Throughout the program, participants continually build their own toolset and develop a unique, personalized digital-marketing portfolio, Kumar said. The program helps students develop strategies that apply to their particular business, eliminate barriers to develop a customer-centric innovation mindset; break through silos to bring their organizations together and turn ideas into action.

"Our next program," Kumar said, "and is expected to fill up."

Prospective students can reserve a spot by clicking here.

(This story originally was published on Nov. 30, 2017, and was updated on Jan. 23, 2018.)