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Digital Marketing Center

Jonathan Day and Robert Rustici, principals of Sharper Selling and members at the Cooperative Venture Workspace, have created a new non-profit partnership around their expertise — digital marketing.

The Digital Marketing Center-Seacoast is, literally, a cooperative venture among Day and Rustici, the New England Innovation Center (NE-IC) and Great Bay Community College (GBCC).

Day and Rustici run Sharper Selling, an internet marketing company, out of the Cooperative Venture Workspace in downtown Portsmouth. NE-IC is located in the Martingale Wharf building on Bow Street in Portsmouth, while GBCC has its campus at the Pease International Tradeport in Portsmouth.

DMC, firing up now on the Seacoast with plans to expand into other areas including Nashua and Boston, will offer three non-credit courses at the local community college in February, April, and the summer related to digital marketing.

The February program – 10 weeks part-time beginning Feb. 27 – covers inbound (pull) marketing. The April program – 10 weeks part-time beginning April 4 – covers outbound (push) marketing.

The summer program is a two-week, full-time boot camp on user interface design for websites across all electronic devices. The cost for the boot camp is $2,000.

The training will be held at the community college and Google certification will be given upon the completion of each session.

“The first is injecting the market with digital marketing experts who will have command of the rapidly changing channels at their disposal, the second is helping local businesses grow by providing free advertising services,” said Jonathan.

Mark Galvin, the innovation center’s managing director, said companies that aren’t mastering AdWords, YouTube, Google Merchant Center, content networks, and other online tools are missing opportunities.

“The DMC Seacoast will train your marketing resource or other employee how to make these tools sing,” said Galvin. “If you don’t have an employee to participate, the DMC Seacoast is training local residents to become your employee or to consult to get these systems working for you.”

Jonathan is the executive director of the new non-profit venture. Bob is the curriculum director. They will keep running Sharper Selling, which offers three main pillars of support for its clients: Paid search advertising, search engine optimization (SEO), and social media. “It’s part of the business model,” said Jonathan. “It’s important that we keep our skills sharp for our students.”

A series of breakfast sessions introduced local business people to the concept of digital marketing as a way to help launch DMC. Just such a session was held Feb. 2 at the Workspace for about 20 people.

“Digital marketing has become a redundant term; it’s just marketing now,” said Jonathan to participants, noting that 70 percent of marketing budgets these days are spent on digital channels.

He pointed out that the No 1 search engine is Google but that No. 2 is YouTube (owned by Google). “They have realized they are a marketing firm,” he said, noting that studies have shown that 80 percent of people can recall a video 30 days after watching it.

Jonathan also predicted the ultimate demise of Facebook, because of its appeal to an older demographic. “Facebook will eventually die a show death,” he said. “No kid wants to be on the same thing their parents are on.”

Jonathan went through various aspects of inbound and outbound marketing both to speak about their power as online tools and to promote the kind of learning experience available through the DMC-Seacoast. The training will serve as a way of solving the complexities of navigating sometimes confusing digital marketing channels.

DMC-Seacoast invites not only companies to send someone for training, but send along a vexing online marketing issues and needs that they might be having. Those issues will serve as case-studies for students to work through.

Jonathan said the training is a perfect fit for Great Bay because of the community college mission of real-world training. “It’s skills training; it’s experiential learning,” he said.

Kathleen Totten, director of community education at GBCC, told the Workspace participants that the DMC-Seacoast was a good partnership for the college. “We have the space and we will co-market this,” she said.

Students interested in applying can visit dmcseacoast.org/apply and businesses
seeking free advertising services can request them at dmcseacoast.org/request. Requests for additional information can be directed to Executive Director, Jonathan Day at jonathan@dmcseacoast.org.