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Notre Dame offers digital marketing program

| Thursday, September 17, 2015

It was a friendship destined for success.

Paul Slaggert and Peter Methot met several years ago at a conference for UNICON, a global consortium for people working in executive education. Now Slaggert, director of non-degree programs in executive education for the Mendoza College of Business, and Methot, managing director of executive education at Rutgers Business School, have something to show for their friendship: a week-long digital marketing certificate program co-sponsored by the two schools, which will take place on Notre Dame’s Chicago campus from Sept. 28 to Oct. 2.

Methot said the goal of the program, which will convene in a University-owned building on Michigan Ave., is to equip marketing professionals with the tools to engage new audiences in the digital sphere, particularly through outlets like social media, search engines and mobile devices.

“Once upon a time it was just this one-way media. There was radio, there was TV, there was newspaper, there [were] billboard[s],” he said. “Now, with the internet and the hyper-informed consumer, they’re deciding who the right fit is to solve their problems or to provide their needed products and services.”

According to Slaggert, the partnership bridges two key components: the robust digital marketing program at Rutgers and the professional audience of the Notre Dame area, particularly Chicago, which is home to more Notre Dame alumni than any other city.

“Peter was able to bring us the content and proven instructors from Rutgers, we were able to provide a venue and support and marketing and exposure in the Chicago area,” Slaggert said. “That’s what you look for in a partnership.”

Each day of the five-day program will be split into two three-and-a-half hour “modules” which will touch on different aspects of digital marketing. The modules will present a combination of lectures and group exercises, where professionals will be able to apply what they’ve learned to their own workplaces, Methot said.

According to the program’s page on Mendoza’s website, the program will cover topics such as social media marketing, search engine marketing, online customer acquisition and web analytics. A module called “Personalized Digital Experiences,” for instance, will give professionals a better sense of how to use consumer data in marketing.

“[Personalized data] takes you from an anonymous consumer to Dan, who is this age and this demographic in this location,” Methot said. “That’s how personalized digital experiences come into play. It’s using the data to better serve the needs of the possible consumer.”

Although these kinds of programs mainly appeal to professionals specifically involved in marketing, Methot said they also attract people who need an understanding of the digital world in fields like sales, leadership and information technology.

“It’s a pretty broad audience, but generally speaking, it’s people that bring with them at least five to 10 years of business experience and are having their businesses changed or transformed due to digital impact,” he said.

Slaggert and Methot said they hope the relationship between the two universities will continue to provide new opportunities for professionals to learn.

“We really feel that the model moving forward is these kind of cross-collaborative partnerships among prestigious schools,” Methot said.

Slaggert and Methot said they hope the relationship will eventually work two ways, allowing Notre Dame to bring unique programs to an audience in the Rutgers area, particularly New York and New Jersey.

“If we can take programs that they have that are successful and bring them to our more natural customer base, and if we can take programs we’ve developed to his natural customer base, that’s a win-win for both institutions,” Slaggert said.

The program will be an educational experience not only for professionals, but also for the universities behind it, Slaggert said.

“Since it’s the first time, it’s a pilot,” he said. “We want to sit down and figure out what worked, what didn’t, what we want to do differently, what do we want to do better and then look for new opportunities.”

In the end, Slaggert said it is his friendship with Methot that is important.

“It works because there’s a personal relationship that exists with people on both sides,” Slaggert said. “We were able to build that, and leverage that into something that we felt would benefit both operations and the customers we both have.”

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