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The New YSU: Student Interns Connect with Digital Marketing

By Ross Morrone, director of marketing at Youngstown State University

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – It’s not surprising to hear an employer talk about the value that a student intern can offer their company and locally, students from Youngstown State University are no different. Internships are a student’s opportunity to gain on-site experience while applying the skills and knowledge they’re learning in the classroom. The trademarks of a successful internship are measured by mutual benefits to both employer and student based on accomplishment, efficiency and impact.

From an employer standpoint, the value of this partnership is not limited to the obvious benefits such as the affordability of hiring a student intern, nor is it because of short-term commitment (a conventional internship can be as brief as a 16-week semester). The real rewards stem from opportunity: interns gain real-world experience while employers reap the benefits of the most current occupational skills and workplace trends.

As director of marketing at Youngstown State University, I experience the significance of student internships year after year, hiring stand-out student employees and graduate assistants within the marketing and communications department. While internships do provide the opportunity for business to have affordable help, the real significance occurs when a student can walk away with expanded knowledge and a line on their resume that only an internship can provide.

At YSU, we require most majors to take an internship at some point in their education. Therefore the opportunities to make the most of this student workforce are plenty. And from a marketing standpoint, it’s always timely to consider the prospects that exist while building your team.

The internet has transformed the way we connect with our customers but keeping pace with social media trends, digital marketing opportunities and the amount of data being collected every minute can be overwhelming. Remarkably, 90% of all data available online was created in the last two years. This means your business is faced with a choice: invest in technology and individuals who can translate this data into business decisions or risk being left behind.

Data analysis and evaluating new marketing ideas can lead to the expansion of products, services and customer markets. The types of students I recruit within our office are those who can think outside the box. They are designers, marketers and video creators with a willingness to learn.

Many of these students have no prior experience. But, as reports, “The average millennial uses his or her phone for 3.1 hours per day. Multiply that by seven and you come up with 21.7 hours per week…” That equates to a great deal of experience on mobile platforms that include a huge usage market spanning all ages. Each of those platforms provides an opportunity to grow your business.

When I hire a new student, I’m interested in where they spend their time online, what type of content they read, and what devices they use. This helps me understand my own audience – high school students. Within any business, considering those analytics will tell that same story.

One of the secrets of marketing is connecting your business data to digital opportunities. Want to target females in the 35 to 44 age demographic? There is an advertising opportunity on Facebook for that and it won’t break the bank. Writing the content along with designing or choosing the right image of such an ad is something our advertising and public relations majors can do in their sleep.

Need a video as a call-to-action for your ad? Telecommunications majors can script, film and edit, and probably all from their cellphone. Ultimately, who is better to help you establish a footprint in the digital space than the people who spend 20-plus hours a week there? The marketing for the university is done in-house, and the majority of that is by students who are driven, talented and willing to learn. I challenge you to be the experience they need and give them that line on their résumé.



The author, Ross Morrone, is the director of marketing at Youngstown State University.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.