Learning about Digital Audience Strategy comes with quick ROI

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In March of 2021, I was starting my first semester back in school, seventeen years after completing my undergrad in Mexico. Professionally, I had scaled into Global Human Resources, which I’d worked hard to get into, but it was losing its luster. Feeling heavy burnout after a challenging pandemic year in the HR seat, picking a master’s degree in Digital Audience Strategy was a massive change and completely unrelated to anything I’d ever done.

I worked full-time and switched to my school laptop every evening to complete assignments. This required the best of my organizational skills, lots of discipline, and patience from my family. But it paid off.

I expedited my graduation date to May 2022 by taking a career break and doubling up on classes during Semester A 2022. Then, I took a month to decompress and let all that new knowledge settle in. By mid-June, I was ready to take on the world with my new skills.

Come June 2022, I was six days away from a short trip to my hometown in Cananea, Sonora, Mexico, to visit family. Cananea is a small, struggling mining town located 45 minutes south of the border. It is where I lived until I was eighteen, then I moved to Hermosillo for my undergrad. Exciting educational opportunities do not often come to Cananea (and much less from a college US graduate and entirely in Spanish), so I got the idea to come to deliver a two-hour presentation about my recent studies and make it open to anyone. I persistently asked around and connected with the local college. The principal accepted my offer, and I promptly created a short video for my promotional campaign on social media.

It wasn’t until then that I completed the content for what would become my course, “Intro to Digital Marketing.” In this course, I heavily emphasize the importance of audience definition, followed by inbound marketing, social media marketing, practical insights on Facebook Ads, Google Analytics, and a 20-minute Canva workshop. My intent is to teach basic but essential tools that people can use to monetize their craft, launch their brands, or eventually become social media managers.

I had a classroom full of people in Cananea. They were engaged and in awe of what I was sharing and teaching. For better context, I want to add that I had to request a computer lab to deliver my training, as laptop ownership and internet accessibility are not as prevalent as here – though many people are computer savvy.

Teaching that first class was very rewarding, and I was excited to tell everyone about it as soon as I got back home to Phoenix. Then just two days after my return,  I happened to be attending an event with leaders of a local non-profit. It was very unplanned, but I was at the right place, at the right time, and with the right audience. I shared my recent training experience, and they happily explained they have a teenage entrepreneurship program and had been looking for a recurrent guest lecturer. A course on digital marketing would be the perfect fit. Our conversation continued with sharing personal experiences about the importance and impact of representation, so I fully embraced their cause. I’ve now become their recurring guest lecturer on digital marketing.

It’s now four months post-graduation, and I’ve continued to tap for opportunities to teach my course. The latest was a collaboration with the Mexican Consulate in Phoenix. I sent them a short DM on Facebook messenger, and they called back a week later, accepting my offer. Unbeknownst to me, they were preparing to host their first annual educational symposium for 60 community leaders in early September.

Seeing this upcoming event as a big opportunity, I launched my educational campaign on social media and titled it “Talk Social: Simplifying the Social Media Marketing Strategy.” This campaign is hosted on Facebook and Instagram pages for the US and Mexico, each independent for each country. I’m using the knowledge gained at ASU and hands-on skills developed from small business consulting engagements I started over the summer.

The consulting experience quickly exposed tremendous knowledge gaps in the market – especially in Mexico, so I wanted to tackle those gaps and add extra advice. These gaps include key aspects like audience clarification, key performance indicators, defining ROI, and strategy development.

It would have been hard to wrap my mind around how much change and reward this grad school journey would bring a year and a half later. Within 15 months, the Cronkite School and the DAS program gave me a huge opportunity to redirect my career if I so choose, and I could not be more grateful.

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