Chris Shadrick, Head of Digital Strategy, is delivering the lectures on behalf of AB.

Fuelling hungry minds: University of Exeter Business School partners with local advertising agency

Never has incorporating real-world experience into practically oriented business modules been more important given a fast-paced, dynamic business environment and increasingly competitive employment market. Engaging with practical, real-world business challenges is all the more important for future digital marketers as digital marketing practices are constantly evolving. Moreover, digital marketing is one of the world’s fastest growing careers, with most marketing roles now requiring digital skills. 

As such, Dr Aliette Lambert excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with local advertising agency AB to deliver practical elements of undergraduate and postgraduate Digital Marketing courses (BEMM177 and BEM3044) given AB’s large portfolio of clients, digital marketing expertise and commitment to providing a creative learning culture for their employees. Dr Lambert commented: ‘We are thrilled to partner with AB. With an ever-increasing emphasis on digital engagement and more businesses focusing on online marketing strategy, we felt that partnering with an agency like AB would provide our students with industry exposure and real life experience, which will support their career development and efficacy in the workplace’.

Since 1983, AB has proudly led the way with creative services in Exeter. Once a two-man graphic design studio, the now full-service creative agency has grown to over 30 with offices in Devon and London. The agency aims to create meaningful, powerful communications for clients across the UK and internationally, from Flybe and Paignton Zoo to Heineken and Tesco. AB believes businesses are defined by their ambition and knowledge to shape the future. They also believe it is essential to nurture emerging talent which is why they’re excited to collaborate with the University of Exeter. Chris Shadrick, Head of Digital Strategy, who is delivering the lectures on behalf of AB, commented: ‘We’re super excited about strengthening our relationship with the University of Exeter and developing the next generation of Digital Marketers, for ourselves and for other businesses. Our experience as a full-service agency will mean students can be exposed to all forms of marketing across digital, social media, content, SEO and analytics. We’re pretty chuffed to have been asked and consider it an honour. We’ll do our best to deliver!’

AB are running four weeks of modules for both courses – lectures designed to give students a realistic experience of working in the industry and the practical skills used related to search engine optimisation, analytics, social media marketing and digital campaign planning. These lectures further incorporate activities inspired from AB’s client requests, such as app design and viral-marketing video creation. This collaboration sets an excellent example for academics and businesses alike, collaborating to provide students with a real-world experience in which they can engage with industry experts who can provide cutting-edge insight as well as career advice, and to provide business the opportunity to cultivate talent.

To that end, AB has designed a project for students to develop a Dragon’s Den style pitch where they will have the opportunity to develop their own start-up idea with an emphasis on how to launch and market the business through digital marketing methods. Students will be able to pitch their ideas to the Directors of AB and receive feedback on their presentation skills and ability to come up with ideas. As postgraduate student Abbey Fraser-Roe commented: ‘We’ve really enjoyed Chris providing insight into real-world digital marketing. It’s been a valuable experience to understand how digital marketing techniques are put into practice along-side theory.’

Date: 2 March 2017

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