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Steering a course for students’ career success with Captain of Big Fish Results

Independence and ability to effectively research market changes are among the most valuable skills students can have now and throughout their careers, according to the Captain of Big Fish Results Tony Guarnaccia, when he spoke with Suzanne McDonald during her “pro-sourcing,” (rather than crowd-sourcing) campaign on what students need to know to land New Media jobs. The interview is split into 2 video clips, above and below.

Big Fish Results and its Captain

Big Fish Results works with companies of any size to help them become the market leader online, making them the “big fish” online. Big Fish uses a universal methodology – attract customers, lure prospects, and haul in the catch – that focuses on goals rather than on specific platforms, so that their techniques will not go out of style when the platforms do.

Guarnaccia, who founded Big Fish Results, has worked in the digital marketing industry for 15 years, previously working for thousands of small businesses and a dozen Fortune 500 companies. He double majored in fine arts and entrepreneurship. He played violin for years, ran digital advertising for ADP payroll services, and then founded Big Fish Results.

“I’m blessed because I’m one of the few people that actually has used both of their degrees.”

Guarnaccia’s advice for new New Media practitioners

Some of the core classes Guarnaccia recommends: general marketing, public relations, and public speaking.

“It’d be preferred if they’re learning things that are more up-to-date … it could be a blog post, even. Personally, that’s what I do. I always try to read, and I always try to stay somewhat up-to-date with what’s going on as much as I can,” he said.

The “main drivers” students should know, according to Guarnaccia, are Facebook, LinkedIn, Hootsuite, and Google. He said it’s important for students to understand their business models and “how they fit into the ecosystem,” rather than just understanding the details of each platform.

What Big Fish Results looks for in applicants

Guarnaccia said that he often looks for people who have a fine arts or sports background, because it shows that the person can be creative, analytical, and wants to win. He said it’s important to be passionate about whatever you’ve done in the past.

Other traits he looks for includes:

  • Adaptable
  • Professional
  • Real-world experience
  • Passionate
  • Problem-solver

Guarnaccia advises students to figure out what they want to do as early as possible and try to think about why you want to invest your time in that.

“I think if you’re passionate about something, you’re going to be special. And that’s a big theme of ours, being passionate about it,” he said.


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What Should Communications / Marketing Students Know? KoMarketing Advises

KoMarketing Managing Partner and Director of SEO & Social Media Strategies, Derek Edmond, spoke with Suzanne McDonald about developing a new media certificate program at URI. Edmond discussed KoMarketing, what they look for when hiring employees, and what the certificate should include.

KoMarketing and Derek Edmond

KoMarketing is a Boston-based company that helps clients improve their online marketing techniques in the B2B (business to business) space. The agency focuses on search engine marketing and social marketing, basing campaigns on quality content.

KoMarketing as of now has 14 full-time professionals and about half a dozen part-time or contracted positions, according to Edmond, who said as the company’s client base grows, so will its need for new employees.

According to Edmond, it could be arguably called “content marketing because we create content that is designed to either get our clients visibility in search engines, or allow us to engage in social media, one or the other. Or drive leads through both of those channels.”

Edmond has been working in social media marketing for 12 years, and has his MBA from Suffolk University, and a B.S. in Financial Economics from Buffalo State College in New York.

Suggestions for students seeking communications or marketing jobs

Edmond had some suggestions for learning strategies that might help engage students and help make the lessons last beyond learning platforms that will die out long before these students’ careers are over. He recommended using case studies, so students learn the techniques of how to deal with a problem more generally rather than only the tools on a specific platform.

He also recommended consulting experts in particular fields, such as one for SEO and one for third-party publishing, to help the students learn from professionals in the field, make networking connections, and learn a broad scope of techniques.

Edmond suggested students should also focuses on:

  • Branding
  • Reputation management
  • Broad communication strategies
  • Crisis management
  • Measurement

What does KoMarketing look for in potential employees?

“We bring in a lot of people who are going to be both creative and analytical, which sometimes is difficult to combine,” said Edmond. He said the company also looks for creativity, examples of work that they’ve done successfully, and applicants who are able to distinguish themselves from the hundreds of other applications they receive.

Additionally, creativity, hard work, and attention-to-detail are traits that the company looks for in its employees. “You really have to enjoy what you’re doing,” he added, because the job is more demanding on time than other jobs may be, since it requires you to keep up with the constantly changing social media platforms. “So another obvious thing is the desire to always want to learn,” he said.

Edmond added that it might be a good idea to do some pro-bono work for local organizations or friends to build an impressive resume and portfolio and stand out.

Looking to learn more from Derek Edmond? Both Derek and Suzanne are board members of Search Engine Marketing New England networking group, which meets regularly throughout New England.