Students help local startups ZuluTime and LogicBox through Portland State’s Digital Marketing Strategies Certificate program

[Editor: It’s always nice to hear other perspectives on what’s happening with startups in town. The Portland State Digital Marketing class was nice enough to share their experience in which students and startups worked together. This guest post from Lisa Peyton captures that experience.]

Portland State University’s Market Square building was abuzz with excitement and hushed whispers during the final class. The Digital Marketing Strategies Certificate students were waiting for their “clients,” ZuluTime and LogicBox Software, to arrive for their final presentations.

Intel’s Bryan Rhoads was concluding the course, Integrating Digital Media – Best Practices, the final leg of PSU’s 5-course Digital Marketing Strategies Certificate offered through the Professional Development Center. Bryan’s challenging 3-week journey walks each student through a marketing project brief towards a final team presentation to the business owners outlining an integrated digital marketing strategy. Armed with the knowledge from the previous courses, the two teams of students were wearing their best duds to impress their new “clients.”

Since late February, these 30 students have been taking classes conducted by local digital marketing experts. Industry instructors Dennis Hahn, Carri Bugbee, Johnny Hartman, Kent Lewis, Hallie Janssen, Aaron Gray, and now Bryan Rhoads lead the digital marketing courses, covering everything pertaining to digital strategies, SEO/SEM, social media, and Web analytics.

“The Portland State Digital Marketing Strategies certificate has grown out of instructors from different agencies identifying critical skills that are needed in the industry,” said Jennifer Portis, PSU Program Director. “Understanding how these skills are used in businesses is critical. The courses are helping people integrate this into their working lives.”

Rhoads splits his class into two brand teams, and each team works on a local brand and business. The teams have been developing a 360-degree marketing plan for each business that includes Web, social, PR, mobile, experiential, and emerging media strategies rolled up into one comprehensive plan. Each team had one hour to present their best approaches and then took some tough questions from the company’s stakeholders.

“The reality is my MBA program did not teach me about the specifics of digital marketing,” said Mathew Weber, one of the students. “It also didn’t outline how digital strategy complements marketing objectives.”


Up first was Team ZuluTime, presenting their plan to local startup ZuluTime Corp.

Larry Logan, Zulutime CEO, and CTO Geoff Rhoads arrived and were eager to hear the strategies put together by the team. ZuluTime offers next-generation Location-Awareness technology and patented techniques for precise and accurate positioning of mobile devices—a technology they feel surpasses GPS for location-based services, indoors and urban canyons where GPS is limited and imprecise. After brief introductions, the team leads hit the ground running outlining objectives, target markets, and a “persona” outlining their ideal prospect.

The students’ primary recommendation was to increase digital communications around ZuluTime’s product LiveFind™ technology. They reasoned that “LiveFind” is iconic, “ownable,” and represents the technology’s benefit quickly and easily—all important traits in a fast moving, attention-deficit, digital marketplace.


Next up, Team LogicBox, for Portland startup LogicBox Software.

Representing LogicBox Software was company co-founder and COO Craig Hubbard. LogicBox offers customized SAAS products aimed at small to mid-sized businesses that directly rival Salesforce.com and NetSuite.

The student presentation featured an integrated approach with the website being the hub of the entire strategy. They explored marketing channels, including social media, PR and events, emerging media, and SEO/SEM. The presentation also included a series of slides comparing LogicBox to their primary competitors, information that most executives find very compelling.

Each student on the team discussed objectives, strategies, and tactics, all core components that were taught in the first courses, “Intro to Digital Marketing Strategies,” presented by Dennis Hahn. Hahn does an excellent job of boiling down the key concepts to building out a comprehensive strategy that meets overall business objectives. His course lays the foundation for the entire certificate.

Social media recommendations included creation of a LinkedIn group, participating in LinkedIn Q&A, a YouTube channel, and creation of a Facebook business page. Social media team lead, Joanne Collins, claimed that social media wasn’t a fad but “a revolution.”

And the winner is…

According to Bryan Rhoads, every student is a winner and the local businesses receive some pro-bono digital advice. “I provide my class with a real-world scenario of business objects, needs, and the final litmus test of presenting their strategies to the business owners themselves. This adds excitement and pressure, and manifests their aggregate knowledge into something valuable and tangible.” Rhoads congratulated both teams, saying that these presentations were the best in the history of the program.

Now in its third year, the Digital Marketing Strategies Certificate resumes classes in September 2011.

For more information, visit PSU Digital Marketing Strategies Certificate.

Lisa Peyton is one of the top online marketers in the Pacific Northwest, serving as Vice President at Bonfire Social Media and Executive Editor for TMMPDX.COM. She has created and implemented social media strategies for companies such as Toyota, Intel, Power Rangers and Lightspeed Systems. Lisa was a pioneer in the social media industry, capitalizing on the power of social media to increase her clients’ online visibility and overall marketing efforts. Lisa specializes in social media strategy and development, paid social media advertising, social media monitoring and social media training and consulting.

Most recently she has worked with PSU’s Digital Marketing Strategy Certificate Program, mentoring students by creating a program practicum group.

(Image courtesy Hans van de Bruggen. Used under Creative Commons.)

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  3. Thanks for the great comments guys. It was exciting to watch you all present as I put this article together.

    Kudos to Bryan and the entire PSU team. I’m looking forward to mentoring a new group of students this fall.

    Take care,
    Lisa Peyton

  4. Kelly Fitzgerald July 2, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    Great write up on the amazing Digital Marketing Certificate program at PSU. I would recommend it to anyone looking to enhance their current marketing skills or for people wanting to make a career transition. As a recent graduate of the program, I can concur that the instructors are top-notch!

    Participating in the practicum, led by Lisa Peyton was invaluable! It was a great way to reinforce what we were learning and gain insights from Lisa’s extensive experience in Digital Marketing. As an added bonus, I was able to build my network of contacts in the field of Digital Marketing.

    As a member of the LogicBox Software team, I’m excited to see what they implement based on our team’s recommendations. We had a lot of fun putting together our presentation and it was exciting to have such an enthusiastic client! Go LogicBox 🙂

  5. Thank you for the article. Dennis Hahn, Carri Bugbee, Johnny Hartman, Kent Lewis, Hallie Janssen, Aaron Gray, and Bryan Rhoads brought critical today’s world and time info to us in such a short 15 weeks time. The experience was life (and career) changing for me and I would suggest it to anyone who loves digital marketing.

  6. Thanks, Craig! I see @LogicBoxinc now in my tweet stream! As students in the PSU Digital Marketing Strategies certificate program, we were presented with an arsenal of social media tools to build marketing plans for LogicBox and ZuluTime. Each of the adjunct professors (thanks for calling them out in the article) and their fantastic guest speakers brought in real business world NOW experiences and applications. I gained a huge lift to my skill sets and digital relevance. TY Rick, for the post!

  7. Both teams did a great job! LogicBox is busy implementing many of the recommendations!

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