Leicester’s De Montfort University has become the first UK university to offer a dedicated degree for those wishing to pursue a career in internet-based marketing which incorporates both digital marketing and social media marketing.
The Digital Marketing and Social Media degree will be a single honours BA course, and part of the institution’s Leicester Business School.
According to the university, the three year course will cover vital aspects of digital marketing, such as ‘planning and managing a website’, ‘applying digital marketing tools’, ‘brand management’ and ‘interactive and direct marketing’.
Students on the course will also have the option of taking a paid placement year within a marketing agency or business.
On the launch of the new degree, De Montfort University’s Dr Anne Broderick, who will be the new course leader, commented that, “We recognise that digital marketing and social media management will be at the centre of what marketing managers will do in the future.”
She went on to say, “The syllabus we’ve developed focuses on the digital marketing techniques and thinking that are essential to all organisations – not just to large organisations, but also smaller businesses, new start-ups, sports clubs and charities.”
Links to technology giant and marketing agency
The course is also supported by technology giant IBM, with whom it will have close links. Peter Jakob, Brand Manager for IBM UK and Ireland commented that, “this innovative degree, with its joint focus on digital marketing and social media management, reflects what UK companies urgently seek in future employees – the ability to contribute in a concrete way to contemporary digital marketing operations and to shape the dynamic social media activities that can influence key customer groups.” The course also has links with social media agency Rabbit.
The university is currently recruiting its first wave of students for the course, which is due to begin in September 2012.
A sign of things to come?
The introduction of the new course is interesting because it may mark the long overdue beginning of the UK’s educational establishments paying more attention to the intricacies of the thriving digital marketing industry that is growing in this country.
At present, students are apparently being dissuaded from going to university by rising tuition fees, graduate unemployment and the perception of unclear career paths in the case of many arts and humanities degrees. The introduction of more courses like De Montfort’s Digital Marketing and Social Media BA may however prove particularly popular with school leavers and career changers, as it offers to impart usable skills to graduates which will help them secure online marketing jobs, rather than teaching theory and skills that they are unlikely to get the chance to use.
While there are a number of universities out there which offer courses specifically related to digital marketing, these are still few in number, relative to the sector’s status as a fast growing and increasingly important sector in the UK.