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A unique degree course that combines two critical areas in marketing and has the backing of a major blue-chip organisation and a leading social media agency is now recruiting its first students.

Launched by Leicester Business School at De Montfort University (DMU) in Leicester, the BA (Hons) Digital Marketing and Social Media – the first single honours degree to offer this combination – will equip graduates with the skills they need to get a head start in the fast-growing digital marketing sector.

 

With input from computing giant IBM, the course has been designed to incorporate key subjects such as interactive marketing, online customer engagement analysis, online media design and social media management.

 

The Single Honours course has been developed as a result of growing demand for graduates with digital marketing skills – and course leader Dr Anne Broderick believes that its innovative syllabus and emphasis on practical skills are just what employers have been waiting for.

 

"We recognise that digital marketing and social media management will be at the centre of what marketing managers will do in the future," she said.

 

"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.

 

"Giving students the opportunity to study how those techniques and concepts fit into traditional marketing practices enables them to develop a more relevant range of theory and practice to underpin their career in digitally-driven firms and markets."

 

Close links with IBM mean that students will have access to the latest social media activities and digital-marketing techniques – and for Peter Jakob, IBM UK and Ireland Brand Manager, the involvement of the company reflects the importance it places on the digital marketing skills of potential employees.

 

 "The 2011 IBM Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) study revealed that 82 per cent of CMOs say they plan to increase their use of social media over the next three to five years, but only 26 per cent are tracking blogs today.

 

"Customers are sharing their experiences widely online, giving them more control and influence over brands. The study shows that this shift in the balance of power from organisations to their customers requires new marketing approaches, tools and skills in order to stay competitive. The skills that the Digital Marketing and Social Media degree will offer are exactly the type of new competitive skills that marketers need."

 

The programme also has the backing of the Rabbit Agency, an award-winning social media specialist. Dirk Singer, founder of the Rabbit Agency, said: "Social media marketing has matured to an extent where there is a real need for a course like this that matches the theory with hands-on experience.

 

"The skills set that the course will provide is relevant throughout the marketing mix, both in agencies and in-house, and graduates will almost certainly be in demand, especially at a time when many marketing areas are seeing budgetary squeezes. We're really thrilled to be supporting DMU in this industry 'first'."

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