Digital Marketing Clinic helps local businesses

Since 2015, students develop skills while helping community.

The special partnership between the city of Berea and the Baldwin Wallace Digital Marketing Clinic is gearing up this fall, and BW students are already hard at work helping local businesses.

In an effort to help local businesses, the city of Berea is constantly looking for effective ways to determine and solve the issues that many local startups, non-profits, and other small businesses face. Matthew Madzy, the city’s Director of Planning, Engineering, and Development has trusted BW’s Digital Marketing Clinic (DMC) for the fourth year now to do exactly that.

This BW organization is helping to address one of the most common issues that Madzy heard from local businesses, which is the struggle of building a digital presence online.

“We had a demand with businesses and a supply with the DMC, we just needed to bring supply and demand together,” said Madzy. “It seemed like a natural fit.”

After a company has applied and been accepted by the DMC, a team of four student applicants are chosen and tasked to evaluate their company’s needs and figure out how they can best help them reach their digital marketing goals. Students come from a variety of majors including Marketing, Graphic Design, and Creative Writing, and each work hands-on with their business to build a strategy that works for them.

The feedback from both the businesses and BW students has been “overwhelmingly positive” since the DMC’s inception in 2015, said Madzy. For this reason, the City of Berea funds 100% of the project for local businesses that would like to be involved—up to $1,500.

The Director of the Digital Marketing Clinic, Tim Marshall, has worked with Madzy since the program began in 2015, and is grateful that the city of Berea is working with BW to benefit both businesses and students.

“We really value that relationship and we are so thankful and appreciative of the funding. The city goes above and beyond, doing what other municipalities don’t do, which is just providing a lot of support,” Marshall said. “[Madzy] has really worked hard to make Berea an attractive place to people who want to start a business.”

The DMC has worked with numerous clients within the city of Berea to create blogs, launch social media campaigns, build websites, and develop an overall online presence that can help the businesses reach new clients of their own. Marshall acknowledged one common finding in many of the businesses with which they team up.

“We’re finding clients have a website and social media accounts, but they don’t have a strategy to tie it all together,” said Marshall. “Students work to build an actionable strategy that will determine what the business should be doing digital marketing-wise, and they also give them the content they need to implement the strategy on their own.”

In addition to the success that clients have seen after working with the DMC, the program has also granted the students involved with priceless real-world experience, which is helping them find jobs before even receiving their diploma. Marshall works to push students into different high-pressure situations so that once they leave college they have “been there, done that,” and can relate to the issues that the business is facing. He stressed the progression of his students’ interpersonal skills along with advancing their marketing knowledge.

Of the students involved in the DMC who graduated this past spring, 100% of students who were looking to enter the workforce immediately upon graduation had jobs lined up before they ever flipped their tassel. Many of the other graduates choose to stay at BW to earn their master’s degree.