I'M LOOKING AT three syllabi of instruction for different cohorts of students in business and creative multimedia while noticing several conclusions that might be drawn about their perspectives on digital and contemporary marketing practice.
I have dozens of clippings inside my OneNote collections that are relevant to the space of digital and contemporary marketing practice. But I prefer to reduce that large collection to six key points, substantiated by listening to the Daily Tech News Show.
Content discovery has evolved.
Although marketing campaigns still play a major role in the promotion and sustaining of products, more sophisticated methods of promotion need to be mastered in contemporary marketing practice. It's impossible to ignore the relevance of search engine optimisation, the pay-per-click advertising model and the brand discovery aided by platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. I follow conversations with Christopher S. Penn and John Wall on Marketing Over Coffee  and gain major insights as to where the next big trends will evolve. Research shows that many millennials do not know the difference between a paid placement in a search result and a product review--it's as though digital creatives have made it impossible to distinguish advertising content from organic content. It has become more important to place products inside the social media stream to aid their discovery and uptake, perhaps through effective digital marketing. Irish firms still lag their global counterparts with regard to digital marketing expenditure and all the while global digital advertising continues increasing year on year, according to Mary Meeker's Internet Trends Report. 
Effective digital marketing practice connects the creative and the physical.
Creative content should foster authenticity through an association with real physical objects or an actual physical location or a sense of trust. Google Local, Yelp ratings, TripAdvisor ratings and Foursquare tips affect this sort of relationship between creative offerings in real physical settings. Coupling tours and attractions to augment reality also brings these factors into focus. Virtual Reality, through immersive video showcased by the New York Times VR clips or with Google Cardboard can transport viewers into scenes that feel real through the way the narrative can be created with digital technology.
Successful firms focus on design.
Apple, Starbucks and Tesla carve out influential market segments through their product design. Behind those success stories sits Design Thinking, a process of iteration that has evolved significantly throughout the past decade. In the academic world, through work done by thinkers such as Joyce Seitzinger and Mark Smithers,  design thinking has suggested new perspectives for the Learner Experience (LX), mapping pathways of learning. Design Thinking receives important coverage in the creative multimedia curriculum of the Limerick School of Art & Design (LSAD) because its process provides the glue that binds LSAD graduate skills to other project team members in the workplace.
Drones have arrived and will affect digital practice.
Many sensationalists portray drones in the same manner that early 20th century writers bemoaned the backfiring automobile. The market value of drones shipped is still below $2 bn with drones being used in precision agriculture, infrastructure inspection and disaster response. High resolution photo mosaics captured through overhead cameras have changed public opinions and coalesced action from governments. When advocacy groups begin leveraging drones to produce video clips alongside major events, their effect on broadcast news segments will be as compelling as the handheld video clips currently acquired from citizen journalists to supplement the nightly news.
Mobile phones have become the most compelling touchpoint for consumers.
Researchers have documented the average person checks his or her mobile phone more than 100 times daily.  People get notified by vibrations and tones emitted by their phones. They watch small screen video clips on their phones, powering Facebook video to a level that rivals the number of clips served daily by YouTube. If their data plans permit, teens listen to YouTube tracks on their mobile phones or to audio services such as Spotify or podcasting. People buy with their mobile phones, with website payment mechanisms, contactless payments or through mobile apps. The next major breakthrough for mobile phones will be better batteries, allowing people to extend the life their mobile phone to as long as the battery life of a Kindle.
Big Data feeds Machine Learning.
Companies can now access a massive volume of both structured and unstructured data to better analyse their market segment but the data sets are now so large it that is difficult to process the information by using traditional database and software techniques. The smartest people often use Machine Learning to recognize patterns in the data through the application of artificial intelligence. Leveraging wide swaths of data means constructing and revising algorithms that can learn from and make predictions on data. This skill set is now an essential digital marketing attribute. Some of the best analysts now enjoy top billing as freelance consultants, effectively sitting at the top table of the Gig Economy.
1. Recommending the Marketing Over Coffee Group on LinkedIn.
2. Mary Meeker -- "2015 Internet Trends", May 2015.
3. Joyce Seitzinger and Mark Smithers -- "E20 LX Design" on SlideShare, October 20, 2015.
4. Subscribe to Benedict Evans and listen to the A16Z podcast.
[Bernie Goldbach is a creative multimedia lecturer teaching animators and business students in the Limerick Institute of Technology.]