Irish rugby star Robbie Henshaw visited Athlone Institute of Technology earlier this month for the presentation of a fully-fledged digital marketing strategy for his brand Henshaw Eyewear
For the past year, Mark Lynch, a fourth year Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Digital Marketing student, has been working behind the scenes, developing a comprehensive digital marketing strategy for Henshaw Eyewear – an up-and-coming eyewear brand owned by Leinster and Ireland rugby player Robbie Henshaw.
Mark’s strategy, which aims to build brand salience and increase e-commerce, forms an integral component of his final year digital marketing capstone project and has given him an opportunity to apply the theoretical knowledge and business acumen garnered over the course his degree in a ‘real-world’ context.
“Working with a real business - helping them set and achieve strategic digital marketing goals - has given me invaluable, industry-relevant experience to add to my portfolio,” he explained. “With graduation just around the corner, I’m confident that I’ve been equipped with the skills, competencies and experience necessary to carve out a successful career in digital marketing.”
Mark was one of nine students to collaborate with industry on the newly minted capstone project which gave local businesses the unique opportunity to work with a higher education institute and fill their digital marketing resource gaps using the students’ knowledge of cutting-edge digital marketing methods.
As part of the brief, students were tasked with developing and implementing a digital marketing strategy from scratch, showing tangible results using tools like Google Analytics. Whether they were deep diving into analytics or involved in content marketing, their business lecturers were on hand to lend their support and expertise.
To support this process, and feed and inform their digital marketing strategies, the final year students undertook a variety of practical and theoretical modules, including Integrated Marketing Communications, Digital Content, Advanced Analytics, and Ethics and Digital Marketing.
“A successful digital marketing strategy is essential for any business looking to extend their digital footprint and in turn their national and sometimes international market share. In return for sharing their expertise, our final year students were given hands-on, practical experience with the possibility of a job offer at the end of it,” Louise Murray, Marketing Lecturer, said.
An eclectic mix of business across a broad range of industries participated in this year’s inaugural capstone programme - from a superfoods importer to a dry ice manufacturer, and a virtual reality arcade lounge - each subsequent digital marketing capstone project was unique to the company and student.
The project was split into two phases, the first of which saw students liaise with their respective company to find what their goals and objectives were. During this phase, students gathered information about the company; researched the business, industry and competitors, and carried out what’s known as a situational analysis. They also looked at content and SEO to determine the company’s digital footprint.
In the second phase, the students began building out the company’s social media channels and began work on the website. The capstone project ran until early April and culminated in the presentation of a fully-fledged digital marketing strategy to each students’ respective company.
An educational powerhouse defined by a commitment to academic excellence, rigour and applied education, Athlone Institute of Technology has enjoyed considerable successes in the academic arena this year, most notably being named ‘best in class’ for research across the technological higher education sector. Further solidifying its reputational prowess, the institute was recently awarded ‘Best Academic Partnership’ at the prestigious national Education Awards for its part in developing SURE, Ireland’s first academic network dedicated to promoting undergraduate STEM research across the technological higher education sector. These accolades build upon the institute’s success in winning the Sunday Times Good University Guide ‘Institute of Technology of the Year’ award in 2018 for its unwavering commitment to academic excellence and innovations in applied learning.