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​Ted McNamara ’86 and Jennifer O’Meara ’93

Internet & Mobile Marketing Panelists Provide Useful Tips

Providence, R.I. — Providence College students left the recent “Internet & Mobile Marketing” panel discussion with a list of homework assignments from the alumni speakers.

Start a blog on a topic driven by your personal passion. Monetize said blog by affiliating with major shopping Web sites. And above everything else, become familiar with all the tools available now by creating an online presence — the better to market yourself when it’s time to apply for a job.

The panelists were Ted McNamara ’86, executive in residence at the Cambridge-based venture capital firm General Catalyst Partners, and Jennifer O’Meara ’93, the marketing director and director of client services for Flimp Media, Inc., which helps marketers create, distribute, track, and analyze interactive video postcards.

The Providence College School of Business, the PCSB Business Advisory Council, the Office of Alumni Relations, and the Office of Career Services sponsored the panel, which was moderated by Rob Reilly ’86, a member of the PCSB Business Advisory Council and an executive director of UBS Bank.

More than 140 students attended the event, which was held in the Ryan Concert Hall in the Smith Center for the Arts.

McNamara, a member of the founding team of the invitation-only luxury shopping site Rue La La, said Internet marketing is a phenomenon that only sprang up in the last 15 years. “And it’s moving so fast it will continue to be new for people like you,” he told the students.

But students have an advantage because many are using it every day, said McNamara, who has held executive positions at sites such as SmartBargains.com and Cheaptickets.com.

Video era has arrived

O’Meara offered her perspective on video marketing, which she said “is definitely of age.” In the 1980s, many companies invested heavily in video communications, but it required a lot of equipment and was expensive and difficult to distribute.

That’s very different today.

“In 2012, you can use a little smartphone to create video content,” she said. “That’s why people are excited when creating content for the Web. It doesn’t need to be a motion picture.” Instead, being able to communicate — effectively — is the priority.

Video has many advantages, because it can be posted to Facebook and shared via e-mail. Marketers can also evaluate how effective videos are by tracking how many opened the content and how long viewers played each video, O’Meara said.

But the many different sites to reach consumers, such as Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest — not to mention Instagram and Foursquare — present a challenge.

Marketers are ultimately becoming content creators, O’Meara said. She asked the crowd who already was a blogger, or shares links through Facebook or Tumblr, because they were likely to be “content creators” in their first jobs out of college.

“If you want to work in marketing today, the best way you can do it is start familiarizing yourself with all of these tools, whether it’s YouTube or video blog or really starting to understand Facebook,” she said.

It’s not enough to create the content, however — students also will need to refine it for their audience.

“If you’re using a blog, sign up for Google Analytics and start to understand where the traffic’s coming from,” she advised.

That way, “not only do you have an instant portfolio, but you have something to talk about when you start to interview,” O’Meara said.

McNamara added that bloggers could drive traffic to ecommerce sites by joining affiliate networks and making product recommendations to their readers. “Everyone in this room has the ability to basically create customers for other businesses,” he said.

O’Meara emphasized that students should not limit their blogging topics.

“If you’re going to blog, do it about something you’re passionate about,” she said. “That’s where it’s really going to show your creativity and your enthusiasm and passion.”

Social media as career marketing

Jennifer DiPirro ’12 (Melrose, Mass.) asked the panelists during the session about the value of advertising on Facebook. Afterward, the marketing major said she planned to be more active on social media based on the panelists’ urging.

“I never really thought of it as being so useful,” DiPirro said. “I feel like I need to get up on everyone’s level.” 

Collin Kennedy ’12 (Stratford, Conn.) said he took down two pages of notes on the panelists’ suggestions. Kennedy, a marketing major and the president of the Future Friars Executives, a student business organization, described McNamara as “an unbelievable wealth of knowledge.” The senior noted that it was rare that “a big guy worth millions” would be willing to make time for students.

Kennedy is already following some of the panelists’ advice. This semester, he started a blog about marketing and entrepreneurship, themarketingmindshare.wordpress.com.

“That really is the best way to market yourself for the job market,” he said.

— Liz F. Kay

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