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Marketing in the Digital Era

The prevalence of marketing in our daily lives may make it difficult to imagine what life looked like before the digital age. Before cell phones, marketing campaigns were limited to modes such as billboards, magazines, newspapers, sales pitches, and radio. With the creation of the internet and social media, the business industry has taken advantage of the necessity of technology to grab the attention of consumers. Marketing has made its reach both more intimate and widespread with information about businesses directly at consumers’ fingertips. Companies now must fight for consumers’ attention on highly saturated platforms, such as TikTok and Instagram. Due to this shift, digital marketing is an increasingly adaptive and reactive facet of business, as it needs to be able to change based on consumer preferences and trends while simultaneously being effective and authentic. According to Forbes, “It’s no longer about the flashiest marketing campaign.” Younger generations want authenticity from brands. Marketing is no longer a one-way communication; consumers expect that their voices are heard and engaged with through social media.


To hear from someone who deals with these challenges and engages with digital marketing in their career, I reached out to Madison Noel, an Ohio State graduate and former UBWA Vice President of Marketing. Madison currently works for Western Digital, a large technology company that makes and sells data-storing devices in their marketing and sales sector. When asked if digital marketing is slowing down anytime soon, Madison stated,“the continued growth of remote working, as well as the growth of social media, SEO, and mobile apps, will continue to [contribute] to the growth of digital marketing.” Businesses “can get their name out in front of more consumers…they are able to give consumers more touch points for purchases, such as shopping via a mobile app, a website, and in a physical store.” Social media has created a whole new landscape for consumers to buy products, and with this, a greater prevalence of digital communication has emerged. Businesses can target specific consumers much easier with the use of personalized advertisements based on internet activity which increases businesses’ reach and profits. In addition to the industry as a whole expanding, effective trends have shifted. According to Forbes, “It’s no longer about the flashiest marketing campaign.” Younger generations want authenticity from brands. Marketing is no longer a one-way communication; consumers expect that their voices are heard and engaged with through social media. Companies spend thousands of dollars per month to maintain a marketing presence on social media and achieve a transparent image to consumers.


Since digital marketing is growing substantially, I was curious if Ohio State properly prepares students for this industry. Madison expressed that “if it had not been for my business classes at Fisher and my participation in UBWA, I think I would not have gotten off on the right foot at Western Digital.” In addition to Fisher classes, Ohio State provides a variety of minors that could complement a more global-centric, digital marketing focused career path. From communication technology, journalism, media production and analysis, to psychology, consumer science, business analytics, and foreign languages, OSU offers a plethora of minors Madison personally minored in Fashion and Retail Studies, which has helped her at Western Digital, since they “sell directly to other large businesses and consumers in physical stores such as Staples, Best Buy, etc. By minoring in Fashion & Retail Studies, I was able to learn how the retail space worked and how to navigate it successfully as a business.”


If the ever-growing presence of technology hasn’t convinced you enough that digital marketing is a crucial aspect of business operations, take Madison’s word for it: “The businesses that learn to navigate the digital marketing world successfully will be able to outlast those businesses that can’t.” Digital marketing proficiency is crucial to the success of businesses and to a career in a marketing profession. Luckily, Ohio State offers an assortment of opportunities to help gain a more digital perspective in a world where technology prevails.

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