When I was an incoming freshman, the only majors that I was interested in were English and Music. Why? Because they were the only two subjects that I had enjoyed in high school that were offered as degree programs. Of course, there were majors like Business and Marketing, Sociology, Communication, and Entrepreneurship, but I was hesitant to declare any of them since I had no experience in any such classes in high school. As a matter of fact, after working in retail, I thought that marketing and sales were synonymous with customer service. In order to clear up these misconceptions and explore where I wanted to go, I signed up for BUSA 204: Principles of Marketing with Professor Laura Havrilla.
Principles of Marketing is the introductory marketing class here at Grove City. It gives a very broad but invaluable overview of what marketing is and what different roles are played in the marketing department of a company. As it turns out, marketing is a term that encompasses everything relating to building and keeping strong customer relationships within a business, so I wasn’t wrong that it can include sales and customer service, but it also includes much, much more. As a matter of fact, marketing involves research, customer insight, ongoing strategy, supply chains, product development, package design, strategic visual placement, pricing and finances, advertising, promotional tools, business management, customer relationships, business relations, public relations, branding, digital marketing, graphic and website design, user experience, online content creation, social media, and more.
It’s easy to say that with such a long list of possibilities within the field of marketing, there must be something for everyone, and I believe that there is. After declaring a business writing concentration myself, I’ve gone on to enroll in courses such as Digital Marketing, Interactive Design and User Experience, Internet Content Marketing, and Public Relations. Digital Marketing has, for the most part, reinforced marketing concepts and strategies that I learned in the introductory class with a special emphasis on using the Internet as your primary form of communication. More narrowly in this online marketing discipline is Interactive Design and User Experience, which is listed as a design course, but it is a semester-long application of branding and design and the role they play with website marketing.
Marketing also very heavily utilizes another one of my favorite academic disciplines: writing. Internet Content Marketing focused on the up-and-coming practice of marketing using online content (surprising, I know). In addition to gaining invaluable skills with one of the greatest website-building tools of all time, WordPress, we were introduced to content marketing best practices, what it means to be an industry thought leader, and why every business must operate as a publisher. Because of content marketing, writing and marketing are more entwined than ever; however, content creation doesn’t end with writing. It is just the beginning of the creative side of marketing: photography, website design, video, user experience, blogging, and customer relations are all a part of it.
Last year, when I took a class called Writing for the Media (which I highly recommend for anyone wanting to get a taste of any kind of media-related career), my professor introduced public relations as a job that incorporates all other writing, marketing, and design skills that we had learned in the class, but would pay way more. Needless to say, public relations immediately had my attention. Fortunately, Public Relations is actually a required class for my major, and I have had the pleasure of taking it with one of my favorite professors, Dr. Jennifer Mobley. Similarly to general marketing, public relations had been another subject that I had heard about again and again, but hadn’t been introduced to. It turns out that PR operates almost identically to marketing, but instead of trying to sell a particular product or service, the PR team works to create and maintain a positive image of the entire company to the public eye, and that’s exactly what our PR class at Grove City College does. Groups of about five students each have teamed up with different organizations to work with them on branding, social media, design, research, event planning, writing, and community outreach. With so many options under the umbrella of marketing, there’s something for everyone, and I would encourage incoming students to try out some of our business and marketing classes if you’re unsure of what career path you want to pursue.