Meet Our Expert: Alicia Morga, Digital Marketing Instructor, GA San Francisco
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Nick Anderson, a Web Development Immersive instructor at GA Denver, says, “A brand is much more than a name and a logo — it’s the emotional and cognitive connection a company or product has with the rest of the world. As Entrepreneur writer John Williams says, ‘Your brand is your promise to your customer.’
“Branding isn’t a science; it’s an art that requires both a wide collection of tools and a discerning perspective to effectively steer. At General Assembly, in our part-time Digital Marketing course and full-time User Experience Design Immersive program, we explore these nuances using case studies and skills like user research, competitive analysis, and visual design. We believe in a holistic approach to our work, inviting students to collaborate with seasoned designers and marketers to better understand their role in the success of their clients. We look at the stumbling blocks other companies have faced in order to better avoid them, as well as the successes that fuel the kind of work we love to do.”
Alicia Morga, Digital Marketing instructor at GA San Francisco, says, “Content marketing encompasses the creation, editing, and distribution of content to help a specific target customer along in their journey toward a business. It’s marketing that simply looks like content. And that’s why it’s a secret weapon every marketer must have. Content marketing can look like a blog with tips, content hubs with engaging and useful content, white papers, podcasts, videos, and more.
“In an increasingly savvy world where most people don’t like being sold to and can see an advertisement coming from a mile away, content marketing is more important than ever. Content marketing allows marketers to couch their message in meaningful contexts — in short, to give before they get.”
Customer relationship management (CRM) is the practice of optimising a company’s interaction with its consumers. To do that, CRM software and technology — like Salesforce and Oracle — collect user information across various touchpoints (social media, live chat, etc.). Smart usage of these systems helps marketers curate an experience to each customer’s needs.
From awareness to purchase to customer service, and everything in between, the customer journey encompasses key interactions between a brand and a consumer. Smart marketers keep a close eye on this journey to identify and address pain points, inconsistencies, and other missed opportunities. The result: A best-in-class customer experience that boosts their likelihood of becoming a loyal brand advocate.
Display advertising is one of the most common forms of digital advertising, seen on websites and apps as banner ads, videos, and more. Unlike native advertising, display ads are not formatted to blend into its context. Instead, it has targeted messaging and a call to action for users to click through.
Whenever you buy or sell products or services over the internet — on Amazon, Etsy, eBay, or your own store, for example — you’re taking part in eCommerce. To attract and keep customers, it’s crucial to create eCommerce experiences that are branded, consistent, and user friendly, and feel connected across various channels, both online and offline.
Jennifer Nelson, Digital Marketing instructor at GA Los Angeles, says, “Email marketing is such a valuable channel because it allows businesses to have a one-on-one conversation with their targets and customers. Marketers who focus on building a quality list of email subscribers know that when they are able to deliver valuable content over time, they are essentially building a rapport with consumers who explicitly want to hear from them. Email marketing allows you to develop your brand and foster a relationship with your customers.
“In General Assembly’s part-time Digital Marketing course, on campus and online, students learn about email marketing and how it can be applied as a strategic vehicle to reach a target audience. Exercises include creating your email marketing strategy and developing a plan for growing your list and developing a relationship with your customers over time. Students have the opportunity to test out an email campaign as part of their final project, which is to present a digital marketing experiment on a real-life company.”
Read “A Beginner’s Guide to Email Marketing” by Jennifer Nelson.
People today tend to trust humans over ads from corporations, so they often turn to bloggers or other expert figures for recommendations. Influencer marketing is an effective way for brands to connect with potential customers through the voice of someone they respect, leveraging existing audiences that align with their target to reach masses of people with a single post.
Real-time access to data in digital marketing is a key differentiator from traditional methods, which rely on post-campaign data to determine success. In order to maximise a marketing campaign’s effectiveness and prove its success, it’s vital to pay close attention to marketing analytics. Learning to navigate tools and techniques that measure, manage, and analyse campaigns gives you more control over a campaign’s return on investment (ROI) across all its channels.
Our on-the-go world means a mobile marketing strategy is a must for startups and Fortune 500s alike. To reach audiences in these moments, marketers need to consider location, device, screen size, connectivity, and more when planning a campaign strategy and creative. In doing that, they must also think about how to create great experiences in mobile-first channels, like text, apps, and social.
If you’ve scrolled through a news site or your Twitter feed, you’ve experienced native advertising — ads that match the form and function of the platform on which they’re served. To succeed, native ads need to offer up sponsored content that fits naturally within the site’s appearance and subject matter, leading to high user-engagement rates.
Will Hayes, Digital Marketing instructor at GA San Francisco, says, “The advent of the internet introduced new mediums for people to communicate — and new ways for marketers to reach potential customers. In the internet’s early days, online advertising was focused on banner ads and emails targeted to audiences based on traditional methods built on demographics. But with the near-ubiquitous adoption of social media, marketers can now refine their targeting thanks to information users willingly provide in the form of a profile. Couple that with advancements from social media companies in the ways brands can communicate, and you have the creation of one of the fastest growing forms of digital marketing: social advertising, also known as paid social.
“Through hands-on experience in General Assembly’s part-time Digital Marketing course, our students become knowledgeable in all aspects of social advertising, including utilizing the latest techniques, in targeting, data analysis, and optimization, adapted from our real-world examples. By highlighting integration techniques, we move our students from the idea of single-campaign tactics on separate platforms to fully cohesive campaigns that build off one another. The cohesive campaigns can then be tracked through platforms like Google Analytics to measure desired outcomes and return on investment (ROI), and compare them against all other forms of advertising.”
According to Terry Rice, Digital Marketing instructor at GA New York, “Performance marketing is the process digital marketersuse to analyze consumer data, and optimize marketing efforts as it relates to their business goals. Often, performance marketing involves paying for a specific action, such as a click or conversion. However, it can also include paying for impressions, meaning you pay for someone to see your ad as opposed to them taking any further action, like clicking through to your site or making a purchase. From there, the goal would be to use these impressions as efficiently as possible, based on your desired outcome.
“In General Assembly’s part-time Digital Marketing course, on campus or online, students learn performance marketing by creating, distributing and optimizing their own digital marketing campaigns. These campaigns are served on platforms such as Google AdWords, Facebook, Instagram, MailChimp, and LinkedIn. Additionally, we supply training in data and industry benchmarks for students to practice the budgeting and optimization process before launching their real-world campaigns.”
Rachel Wendte, User Experience Design Immersive instructor at GA Chicago, says, “Smart advertisers are using their money and energy to grab you where you’re spending the most time: online. From sponsored Instagram posts by a brand you may be interested in, to email subject lines that tempt you to come back by adding in your first name or a specific call to action ‘just for you,’ the lines between pleasantly browsing and unsuspected marketing are blurry. As users, we think of the internet and our social media channels as a way to catch up with friends, see what our relatives are doing on vacation, or share updates about our lives, but brands see this space as prime real estate to catch our attention and convince us to buy a product or service.
“In GA’s Digital Marketing course, on campus or online, we cover personalisation when students learn about content marketing strategies. By combining content marketing know-how with skills in social analytics and key performance indicators (KPIs), students discover strategies for creating marketing pieces that resonate, connect with audiences, and will drive sales and engagement. Throughout the curriculum, students learn about real-world examples of marketers who do this well, and get a chance to practice the skills as they relate to their own or future businesses.”
Veronica Ripson, Digital Marketing instructor at GA New York, says, “Programmatic buying — the automated bidding on advertising inventory in real time using data and algorithms — allows media buyers to efficiently identify and target users who are more likely to love their brand, be interested in its message, and purchase its stuff. Using signals like geographic location, demographic information, browsing behavior, purchases made, and shows watched on streaming services, it’s easier than ever to serve the right message to the right user in real time.
“We teach programmatic advertising in GA’s part-time Digital Marketing course, across our campuses and online. For businesses, the skill is taught in our corporate training programs in formats ranging from one-day seminars to multi-day workshops. While programmatic education is certainly relevant to digital marketers, it can also help anyone in a company that practices digital media truly understand the landscape as dollars continue to shift. In our programs, we focus on making the theoretical real using hands-on exercises, real-world examples, and a collaborative approach to help each participant understand how programmatic approaches can help their team succeed.”
Read “A Beginner’s Guide to Programmatic Advertising” by Veronica Ripson.
Search is critical for reaching potential customers, but sometimes SEO isn’t enough to get to the top. Search engine marketing (SEM) focuses on increasing a website’s search-engine ranking by bidding on target keywords. A smart SEM strategy can target searchers who are most likely to convert with ads that appear at the top of a results page and boost brand visibility and conversion rates.
Search is extremely powerful because it allows brands to reach high-intent users who are likely to become customers. Companies rely on search engine optimisation — or SEO — to boost their visibility in organic search results and reach these people. By building an SEO-friendly site structure and creating content around what people are searching, a site’s ranking will improve on engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo!, driving more traffic and increasing awareness for free.
Social Media Marketing
Frances Chiu, Digital Marketing instructor at GA Hong Kong, says, “Social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram have developed many advanced features that allow marketers to target different user segments based on their demographics, geographic locations, languages, interests, online behaviors, and more. Ad formats may include sponsored posts and various types of banner and video ads.
“As part of General Assembly’s part-time Digital Marketing course, on campus or online, we look at emerging trends in social media marketing, including the market positioning, user base, and user profiles of various social media platforms. We also explore the pros and cons of collaboration with social media creators on content marketing and affiliate marketing. Students also learn about the various targeting capabilities and advertising formats offered by each platform, and have a chance to create sample social media campaigns for selected companies or a company of their choice.”
Read “A Beginner’s Guide to Social Media Marketing” by Frances Chiu.