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Can we make higher education relevant to Search & Social Media Marketing industry needs?
 

Can we make higher education relevant to Search & Social Media Marketing industry needs?

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Can we make higher education relevant to Search & Social Media Marketing industry needs? ...

Can we make higher education relevant to Search & Social Media Marketing industry needs?

Abstract

Higher education institutions are often criticised for the lack of relevant educational courses that equip students with the skills to meet specific industry needs. The issue of relevant education has been particular significance in the highly dynamic business information technology related subjects. This paper presents a discussion that outlines the benefits and advantages of including Search & Social Media Marketing as a taught subject within higher education.

The key argument presented here is that search and social media marketing not only provides relevance to an emerging commercial industry, but also represents an opportunity for delivering cutting-edge education that crosses a range of disciplinary boundaries by having the topic itself provide context and content. Search and social media marketing is a topic largely defined by the emerging need of marketing professionals to engage and apply their pre-existing knowledge and strategies to the context of search engines and social media.

The data gathered in this case study is based on four action research cycles conducted during the academic years 2008/09 and 2010/11. Additionally, data was collected using an industry survey of 112 respondents who attended the Search Analytics and Social Conference (SASCon 2010), short course participants and UK-based marketing agencies.

The key findings of this study are that a) the Search & Social Media Marketing industry is growing, but is still in its infancy and offers a great opportunity for collaboration between the industry and higher education but b) despite the healthy and growing career opportunities within the discipline, there is a lack of higher education provision, demonstrating the need for academics to engage in this subject area.
http://www.searchmarketing.salford.ac.uk/

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    Can we make higher education relevant to Search & Social Media Marketing industry needs? Can we make higher education relevant to Search & Social Media Marketing industry needs? Presentation Transcript

    • Can we make higher education relevant to “ Search & Social Media Marketing ” industry needs? Aleksej Heinze & Gordon Fletcher www.searchmarketing.salford.ac.uk 6th Education in a Changing Environment Conference Creativity and Engagement in Higher Education 7 th July 2011, Salford, Greater Manchester, UK
    • Overview
      • Can higher education (HE) ever be cutting edge?
      • Search & Social Media Marketing case study
      • Action research cycles
      • Work done so far…
      • Lessons learned
    • Our context in the UK
      • The need to close the skills gap identified by the Leitch report (Wedgwood, 2008)
      • We are entering a time of severe austerity that approaches a form of tacit but complex privatisation
      • UK is becoming one of the most expensive higher education systems in the world
      • Tension = Graduates of some disciplines may have a lower net earning potential by undertaking a university degree (Hill, 2005).
      • Student = increasingly critical and informed ‘consumer’
    •  
    • Summary of action research activities Cycle 1 Cycle 2 Cycle 3 Cycle 4 Academic year and semester 2008/2009, Semester 1, cohort 1 2009/2010, Semester 1, cohort 2 2009/2010, Short Course 1 2010/2011, Short course 2 Module /course names Search Engine Optimisation Search Engine Optimisation Search Engine Marketing Management Search & Social Media Marketing Learners 30 undergraduate students on BSc Business Information Systems Ten weeks two hours sessions – one lecture and one practical 22 undergraduate students on BSc Business Information Systems Ten weeks two hours sessions – one lecture and one practical Four groups of up to 8 people taking a 2 full days course which takes on two subsequent Wednesdays. The sessions have computers available at all times to facilitate practical exercises Two cohorts of up to 12 learners taking - Foundation (4 hours for 4 weeks) and subsequently Professional (4 hours for 6 weeks) in addition to SEMPO institute online training.
    • Cycle 3 - Survey highlights
      • Conclusions:
      • consumers want to see a university endorsed qualification with industry guest speakers
      • Higher Education only programmes are not attractive in their own right – need for partnerships and industry collaborations
      • Critical perspectives of Higher Education can be relevant if combined with industry!!!
    • What some also said…
      • “ Could you get other bodies like SEMPO etc involved in the certification.”
          • Tue, Apr 27, 2010 4:03 PM
    • What we also found…
      • “ Running a successful internet marketing business and hearing some dreadful stories and scams about previous suppliers it would be good to have recognition especially as the internet becomes a major tool in a company's marketing”
      • Tue, Apr 27, 2010 4:01 PM
      • Reached agreement with SEMPO to use their online learning material
      • Increased the number of our industry partners for programme development and delivery
      We listened
    • SSMM – course design and time commitments
      • One face-to-face evening session per week:
        • 16:00 - 16:30 Refreshments and networking
        • 16:30 – 18:30 – Academic talk and practical exercises
        • 18:30 – 18:45 Refreshments and networking
        • 18:45 – 20:00 – Industry guest speaker talk
      • Flexible online learning material using SEMPO Institute website
      • Foundation: 4 x evening sessions
      • Professional: 6 x evening sessions
      • Full course = 10 weeks
    • Course integration with SEMPO Institute
      • Foundation :
        • Insider's Guide to Search Marketing
      • Professional :
        • Advanced SEO
        • Effective Social Media Marketing
      • SEMPO Institute: www.sempoinstitute.com
    • # SSMM case study - happy ‘consumer’? http://www.youtube.com/salforduniseo
    • Conclusions
      • Finding 1: the “Search & Social Media Marketing industry is growing, but is still in its infancy” and this offers great opportunities for both higher education institutions and organisations alike.
      • Findings 2: Despite the healthy career opportunities, there is a lack of higher education provision in the area of Search & Social Media Marketing.
      • Recommendations:
        • The SSMM concept of industry partnerships and engagements can make Higher Education relevant to customer ’s needs
        • Search Engine and Social Media Marketing as a legitimate field of study and critical enquiry and more academic research is needed to advance this field
    • Further reading
      • Heinze, A., & Fletcher, G., (2011). Can we make higher education relevant to “Search & Social Media Marketing” industry needs? . Paper presented at the Education in Changing Environment 2011.
      • Heinze, A., Fletcher, G., & Chadwick, C. (2010). From Search Engine Optimisation to Search Engine Marketing Management: development of a new area for information systems research. Paper presented at the UKAIS 2010. Available online http://usir.salford.ac.uk/9353/
      • Heinze, A., & Wells, S. (2009). Open enrolment programmes at Salford Business School: challenges and opportunities. Paper presented at the Education in Changing Environment 2009. Available online http://usir.salford.ac.uk/12723/