Marketing has changed rapidly over the past few decades, thanks primarily to the internet. Businesses can now reach customers in more ways and places than ever before. Additionally, as the competition to capture as wide an audience as possible grows ever more fierce, businesses are getting more nuanced and strategic in their approaches; the fact that marketing spend is on the rise is evidence of this change. According to the Gartner 2016–2017 CMO Spend Survey, which canvassed more than 300 marketing leaders in the U.K. and the U.S., marketing budgets have risen to hit an average of 12 percent of company revenue. This gain signals the third straight year of such increases, and most leaders said they plan to primarily focus on their digital marketing efforts. Additionally, chief marketing officers will spend nearly $119 billion total on digital marketing by 2021, according to Forrester Research, again signifying its importance.
However, approaching marketing from a strategic perspective isn’t simply about spending more money. It also requires having the best tools and knowledge for the job. The Washington State University Carson College of Business can provide you with the knowledge base to help you achieve these requirements. Our online Master of Business Administration program has a concentration specifically for students who want to focus their education or career in the field of marketing. Additionally, we also offer concentrations in finance, international business, and hospitality business management, as well as a general MBA for those who seek a broad-based business education.
To make the most of that advanced education on the job, you’ll need to acquire some digital tools to help you when starting your new position. Such options include desktop and mobile applications that allow you to work across multiple devices. Below are 7 applications that can help recent and future online MBA graduates in their marketing careers:
The right tools help you create exceptional marketing campaigns.
Organization and project management
If you enter a marketing leadership position after earning your online MBA, you’ll likely manage multiple campaigns simultaneously. As such, you’ll need a way to stay organized and check the status of ongoing projects. The following apps were designed just for this purpose:
This project management app makes it easy for marketing leaders to supervise various campaigns from the top down. Users set up individual boards based on a certain theme—a press release about a new product, for example—and create multiple lists to categorize tasks. Each task is designated by a single card that you can move between lists as necessary.
This functionality might sound familiar to people who know about various workflow strategies and tools to increase productivity. Trello has roots in the Kanban methodology, a tactic developed by an industrial engineer at Toyota during the mid-20th century. Instead of focusing strictly on deadlines, Kanban outlines the tasks to be completed in a format that’s easy to observe and manipulate. Trello adapts this strategy to a digital format accessible via smartphone or tablet, so you can always check the status of your various projects no matter where you are.
Evernote is one of the oldest organizational apps around, and it remains the cloud program of choice for many business leaders. The program syncs documents seamlessly across mobile, tablet, and desktop devices, utilizing the design and user experience advantages of each platform to create a flexible and user-friendly tool. The most comprehensive version for individual users, Evernote Premium, lets you annotate and search within various types of documents, including PDFs and images.
Evernote is also budget-friendly. The Business version costs $12 a month for each user and adds administrative, collaborative, and security features not found in the Basic, Plus, or Premium plans. Team members can work on a single project simultaneously and give each other feedback within the app. Meanwhile, administrators can protect their companies’ work with TLS/SSL encryption and two-step verification. Evernote Business also lets you work offline, so you can keep up with your projects even if you lose your internet connection.
As a marketing professional, you may be surprised at the amount of information you need to consume daily. No matter which industry you enter, you must remain up to date on trends, research, and news to help guide your content. Only by being informed can you create thoughtful campaigns that resonate with your audience.
As such, you might find yourself registering for several news outlets and industry publications. Unfortunately, you most likely won’t have time to check them all consistently, meaning something noteworthy can easily slip by. Instead of checking every website and signing up for countless email newsletters, use Feedly. This app compiles a variety of sources into one easy-to-read feed, letting you scan news headlines, blog content, videos, Google news alerts, and even private business portals all from one application.
Campaign creation, writing, and execution
The curriculum in the online MBA at The Carson College of Business is designed to teach you the critical analysis skills necessary for creating effective campaigns. As a marketing leader, you’ll need to combine this knowledge with strong, effective content. The tools below can help you create articles, emails, and social posts that engage your audience and are easy for readers to understand:
4. Hemingway App
If your campaign involves a hefty amount of writing—for example, if you’re creating a post for an industry publication or writing an email newsletter—Hemingway App might be your most valuable resource. This tool helps you write cleanly and coherently to increase your readers’ understanding. The tool highlights areas that are long, confusing, hard to read, use passive voice, or have too many adverbs, and suggests ways to revise them. It also recommends simple alternatives for complex words that may alienate the audience. Note that a common mistake in marketing is to use excessive amounts of industry jargon to convey expertise and thought leadership. This strategy confuses readers more often than not, whereas they can process a simple statement more easily.
To that end, Hemingway App also estimates the readability of your writing by scoring it with a grade level. As you create marketing content, keep in mind that the average American reads at a 7th- or 8th-grade level, according to popular guidelines. This means your content should often be simpler than you expect. Still, it’s important to keep your audience in mind. If your customers are regular readers of The Economist or The Wall Street Journal, more complicated language may be suitable. Overall, when it comes to content, what is most critical is how well your audience is able to comprehend it.
5. Headline Analyzer
Even if you tailor your content to your audience, the headline is what convinces people to read it. Yet creating one that stands apart from the thousands of daily news posts, blog articles, research papers, and emails is no easy feat. That’s where CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer comes in; this tool rates your headline on a scale of 1 to 100, analyzing your word choice and character length to help you create attention-grabbing titles.
Headline Analyzer is especially important for your digital content, namely because the average online viewer has an incredibly short attention span. These days, people are more likely to scan titles and subject lines for important information than to read an article or email in its entirety. In fact, one study found 59 percent of links shared on social networking websites aren’t clicked. This finding, according to Forbes, implies that people often share stories based on their titles, not the content of the article. This implication sounds like bad news, but there is a positive side to consider: Although an individual user might not read your content, a strong headline means he or she will still most likely promote it among his or her followers, increasing your company’s chances of attracting new customers.
Email is still a large part of digital marketing, and mailing lists can quickly grow unwieldy if not handled correctly. MailChimp keeps track of your email newsletter subscribers and allows you to create engaging, well-designed messages. It’s a business favorite, and its long list of features includes automation tools, drag-and-drop design methods, and advanced analytics. MailChimp also integrates with other social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Eventbrite. If you work for an online retailer, you can also sync data between MailChimp and common shopping platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce for data analysis and personalization efforts.
Even if you’ve created what should be the most effective piece of digital marketing content, one factor can still compromise your campaign’s effectiveness: the time of publication. Knowing when to push your content live is essential to maximizing your reach, but it requires a large amount of data analysis.
CoSchedule tackles this issue for you. The platform’s three highest plans—Team Marketing, Team Pro, and Multi-Calendar—provide social media analytics that show you which publication times are most beneficial based on your goals. In fact, the tool gives you an overarching view of your entire marketing schedule, allowing you to observe all of your campaigns at once.
Preparing for a marketing career
Your marketing career can begin with an online MBA from Washington State University’s Carson College of Business. Our marketing concentration, which is also available as a nine-credit graduate certificate, can teach you to develop strong campaigns designed for local and international markets.
That said, your marketing education doesn’t have to end at graduation—nor should it. Keep an eye on the latest trends, tools, and research to keep your organization successful for years to come.