Marketing is an ever-changing, growth-minded and adaptability-driven field. The effects of the pandemic and the rise in digital media have had a direct effect on the change in marketing as an industry. With more companies focusing their efforts online, there is an increased demand for marketers who can adapt and produce sustainable results.
The California Baptist University marketing program is working to adapt to the ever-changing marketing industry and equip students with the necessary tools to succeed.
Mark Weniger, professor of business and international business program manager, has adopted a new role as the marketing program manager and plans to revamp the program so that it elevates CBU and stays up to date with industry standards.
“I have been eyeing the marketing program for a long time and there are a lot of changes I would fundamentally like to make,” Weniger said. “The main thing in the program is to update it, to make it from a program that has all the fundamentals that another program might have and make it into what’s coming in the future — what the new demands are going to be for marketing professionals.”
Weniger describes the new changes to the marketing program as a three-legged stool.
“One is going to be the fundamentals,” Weniger said. “The next one is going to be looking at metrics and how to interpret marketing metrics, and the other one is going to be looking at the graphics side and the messaging side of marketing: how to take a concept and make it to reality all with tools that a marketing person should understand.”
The new program changes will also include a design element that brings marketing students in line with current industry trends and demands.
A Social Media and Strategies course is already offered within the program, but the new focus would be to give marketing students the resources to develop skills through graphic design software.
“We are looking at teaching graphic design in three elements: Illustrator, Photoshop and a video editor,” Weniger said. “We are working on whether that will be in-house or through collaboration with other departments. The big thing is to make sure there are classes available in the time frame we have.”
Nathan Underwood, senior marketing major, said that while he is excited for the revamp, as a senior he would have liked to see a larger emphasis on the digital and creative aspects of marketing during his time in the program.
If you look at marketing job descriptions today, many require some sort of experience or proficiency with social media and/or graphic design,” Underwood said. “It is exciting to know that future marketing graduates from Jabs will be better prepared to step into these roles.”
Weniger is also looking to revamp the way the marketing program structures its concentrations. The goal behind the changes is to have students focus all projects throughout their classes on a single concentration or subject. This way, when they graduate, they are leaving with a full portfolio focused the field they are entering, whether that be digital marketing, sports marketing, marketing management or another concentration within marketing.
“The problem with concentrations is you only take a few classes in that concentration,” Weniger said. “Instead, I would rather have the student focus their entire marketing program on that area. So how does Principles of Marketing apply to me in this concentration? How does Market Research apply to me in this concentration? Now you are asking that question in every single class. Ultimately you are going to come out with a much more robust understanding of your interest area.”
Digital marketing and consumer expectations of company outreach shifted dramatically during the pandemic. As marketers analyze trends, they must take into account what skills are necessary not only for right now, but also for decades from now. The CBU marketing program is working to create a program that will continue to adapt as trends change.
“The pandemic showed how much marketing is switching to digital methods, and if the marketing program can be on the front end of this move, it will help prepare the students for once they graduate,” said Tyler Doench, senior marketing major.
The changes to CBU’s marketing program are expected to go into full effect within the next year.