New BW Digital Marketing Agency Builds Student Expertise, Benefits Businesses

April 17, 2015

Baldwin Wallace University students are boosting local businesses and gaining leading-edge “inbound marketing” experience, as they plug into BW’s new Digital Marketing Clinic (DMC).

“We’re marrying theory with actual practice so our graduates will step into the workforce with real experience,” says School of Business professor Shaun Kanary, who mentors students in the DMC.

The strategy of inbound marketing (as opposed to outbound advertising) employs valuable content and “news you can use” to naturally attract the ideal prospective customers, and then build a relationship with them through a two-way, online conversation.

Building a "living, breathing, student-run agency"

“What’s great about marketing in the digital age is that you can really customize your content and make it personal to each consumer,” says senior marketing and public relations major Chelsea Glosser ’15. She calls the DMC “a hybrid between a class and an internship.”

Glosser helped to lead one of three teams of students, from diverse majors including marketing, public relations, psychology, and digital media and design, who presented the first completed projects this month en route to building what Kanary envisions as “a living, breathing, student-run agency.”

Sizzling New Strategy for Hot Sauce-Maker

Among the first clients to benefit was the family-owned Isla Cruz Hot Sauce, a fledgling Cleveland-based company that now has an effective, research-based inbound marketing strategy including a colorful new website, targeted social media channels, digital content, automated email marketing plans and a marketing playbook for the next several years—all developed by a team of DMC students.

BW Adult and Continuing Education student Ernesto Cruz Jr. and his father gave the DMC plan a thumbs up. “Overall, I love it,” Cruz Sr. said. “It makes total sense to offer the free recipes using our sauces.”

Cutting Edge Certifications

In addition to developing client projects, students in the DMC work to earn cutting edge certifications from Hubspot and Hootsuite, giving them yet another leg up in the career marketplace.

“To date, we’ve had five digital marketing agencies in the Cleveland area contact our group to share open positions with our members,” Kanary reports.

City Funding for Berea Businesses

More opportunities are on the horizon as the agency heads into its second semester. Client interest spiked when the BW DMC was featured in a recent cleveland.com story.

And, Matthew Madzy, director of Berea’s Planning and Development, has worked to create a partnership with the university’s School of Business that provides local business grants up to $1500 to pay for DMC and otherBW School of Business clinic services. That funding will help to add Synergy Rehabilitation, Sweeties Resale and Leeks Pipe Organs to the DMC client list for the fall. 

Posted April 2015