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MSc Digital Marketing

Course schedule:

  • Thursdays from 9.00 → 11.00 (room A210)

Week 1: 2019_09_19 — module introduction

Module Aim:

The aim of this module is to provide learners with an understanding of digital marketing communications theory and practice and to critically evaluate, create and execute a digital communications plan.

Partial subject outlines:

Form of communication in digital marketing:
— SEO, SEM, content marketing, influencer marketing, content automation, campaign marketing, data-driven marketing, e-commerce marketing, social media marketing, social media optimization, e-mail direct marketing, Display advertising, non-Internet channels such as mobile phones (SMS and MMS), callback, and on-hold mobile ring tones.

Technical outline of browser technologies. Understanding some technical aspects of user visits and engagement data:
— Browser user agents

User visits logging on independent platforms:
— Google analytics
— Matomo (ex Piwik)

Getting your content indexed by search engines :
— SEO optimisation & various search engines
— SEO (search engine optimisation) & SEM (search engine marketing) — how does it work ?

Mail campaign tools:
— Pommo mailing
— Mailchimp

Reactive engagement:
— reaction chains for custom actions (example: IFTTT)

Ethical issues of digital marketing:
— data retention

Critical stances in a shifting media landscape:
— dark patterns
— Modes of address
— the Fediverse — alternative independent social networks
— The Great Hack

Group studies:

Carrying out digital marketing case studies and presenting findings to the group. Example case studies: Seed golf,,

Class Project:

You will be required to develop a digital marketing communications plan for a small business/charity/club. This will involve working with a client and will be a group project.

Week 2: 2019_09_26

marketing communication tools

Gaining a common understanding of Marketing Communication tools available to us today. Open this embedded link (in a new tab) and build up the book of definitions with the class.

group assignment

In groups of three, identify a company, a person, a charity or an organisation of which you will study the digital marketing. You will be asked to make a presentation on your findings to the class group.

Document your findings with screenshots, pdfs, prints, photographs or whatever form you see fit for your presentations.

Your presentation will include:

  • an overview of who / what your subject is, the scale of the organisation, their field of operation and geographic location(s)

  • an overviewing list of all the digital communications tools & channels your subject employs

  • a detailed view of each of the tools & channels you listed in the previous point. Consider giving examples and information about frequency of use. Try to find out if the channels are used individually or simultaneously.

  • try to answer the question: how does your subject speak to its target audiences using the communication tools they chose ?

Assignment timeframe: 2 weeks from assignment annoucement. You will be given the two hours of our following course to work with your team, but make sure to make a plan before then as it might take quite some time to gather enough material from each communication channel.

For any questions, mail me at


Ethics of online communications,


  • Matomo (open alternative to Google Analytics)
  • OpenGraph (OpenGraph protocol, preformatting social media messages)


Slides for 2019_11_21:

Aral Balkan

a cyborg rights activist, designer, and founder of Small Technology Foundation.

Research and opinion piece (essay) assignment outline:

You are asked to begin researching an opinion piece you will write on the topic of :

The ethical implications of digital marketing via social media tools.

Your research and writing will consider ethics, therefor, this is an individual project. To fully considering the topic, you must continue to research area by informing yourself on all of the criticised aspects of centralised social media platforms today.

Examples of these issues might be:

  • privacy issues
  • data retention issues
  • platforms selling or trading data points
  • ...

Proposed method:

  1. Review the course material introduced over the last three weeks.

  2. It is strongly advised to watch 'The great hack' documentary

  3. other film pieces include :

    • Terms And Conditions May Apply (2013)
    • citizenfour (2014)
  4. Study grassroots initiatives such as:

  5. Next, consider these questions:

    • What are the implications of using centralised social media platforms as a digital marketing tools ?
    • What are your personal thoughts about traditional centralised social media platforms as a user ? (In regards to privacy ? In regards to platform-trust ? In regards to on-platform advertising ?)
    • What are your personal thoughts about acting for intermediaries (being a marketing message designer) via these mediums ?

Your opinion piece will be minimum 1200 words, maximum 2000 words. You will use the Harvard referencing method. There is no set template for this writing assignment, but you are expected to clearly explain your concerns and / or opinions, and back up any claims with quoted research.

Project rationale

This project aims to develop the learners critical awareness of the online marketing environment. Social media and search engines are highly criticised platforms that also happen to be key tools for the current digital marketing worker. Through this project the learner is expected to question the tools and methods that they might employ to carry out a digital marketing campaign.

Referring back to the Masters in Digital Marketing programme handbook, this assignment will develop 5 out of 6 of the learners gradable attributes:

  • Knowledgeable
  • Analytical and Creative
  • Ethical & Responsible Future Leaders
  • Research Driven
  • Critical Thinkers

the scoring matrix

as a guideline, the following items intend to assist you in constructing your opinion piece:

  • Relevance to title
  • Sound ordering and structuring of material
  • Quality and clarity of written word
  • Effective use of evidence
  • Demonstration of sound understanding of the topic
  • Critical evaluation and judgement
  • Range of sources used
  • Insight and originality
  • Referencing

These items will be individually graded: Poor, Weak, Adequate, Good, Very good or Excellent.

The resulting grid will produce your grade.

Project grading weight: 20% of the marks for this subject.

2020_01_23 Project brief: Digital Marketing Communications Plan

Project Objectives:

  • To choose and negotiate to work with a business / organisation
  • To carry out a digital coommunication audit on the business
  • To create customer personas based on research and insights for the company
  • To plan, create and execute a digital marketing communications plan
  • To create a content marketing promotion campaign across the digital platforms
  • To establish key performance indicators

Assessment Criteria:

  • The project will be assessed on the basis of the Objectives listed above
  • The project will be assessed on the written report submitted and the oral presentation delivered.
  • Each student is to prepare a reflection on the process
  • Submission to Turnitin link on Blackboard in accordance with the set deadline
  • Failure to submit will result in a non graded project

Project Brief:

Learners are required to develop a digital marketing communications strategy. This will involve working with a client and is a group project.

Groups of 2 or 3

60% of the module grade

Assignment structure

0. Executive summary

A summary of the key points of the assignment

1. Introduction

Describe the company / organisation's context and the main components of the digital communications plan

2. Situational analysis

2.1 Company / Brand / Organisation Analysis
  • Identify the key macro trends in the industry
  • Assess the business current performances in the digital context (on digital platforms)
  • Provide an E Audit
  • Provide a eSWOT Analysis
  • Provide an overview of the company/organisations USP (Unique Selling Point)

2.2 Customer Analysis

  • Provide demographic information: location, gender, age, income, etc
  • Provide an overview of the digital channels they use
  • Provide an overview of why they use or visit the company/brand
  • Provide an overview of the acceptable and preferred modes of address

2.3 Competitor analysis

  • Provide a brief overview of the top competitors
  • What product/service do they offer

3. Objective

Model and define SMART commercial and communication objectives (RACE framework is a possible path for this)

4. Strategy

  • Brand values and value proposition
  • Target Audience(s), clearly identify a range of target audience groups, prioritise these groups for the allocation of resources and the choice of relevant channels.
  • Create personas based on the customer analysis and insights
  • Strategy

5. Tactics

  • Select the tools/platforms/channels that are to be used
  • Prepare your content strategy
  • Create a content management system
  • Create a social media promotion campaign

6. Actions

  • Execute the tactics and create the channels

7. Control

  • Management of the dashboards (Hootsuits, Tweetdeck, etc)
  • Establish and monitor the KPIs (key performance indicators) and other analytic tools to be used
  • Provide an overview of the key metrics

8. Resources

Identify the key internal and external resources required. Prepare a budget.

9. References and Appendices

Include a list of references and any appendices of information for clarification and explanation.


Your group
This project is an opportunity to gain lots of experience in the field of digital marketing. Identify your strengths and weaknesses. Build your team by attempting to cover as many basis as possible. Copywriting, creativity, aesthetic abilities, communication abilities, organisation, all of these are important to be successful in this project.

Your team contract
Consider establishing a team contract with the group. As funny as it may sound, working out ideal the goals, methods and proceedings with your group early can lead to very enjoyable team work.

Your customer
Consider your client very very carefully. It will be hard to do work for an organisation / business that you find boring. You are going to be providing a very valuable service, make sure you get value and enjoyment out of the process too.

Peer reviews
Once groups are established, your group will be paired with a second group to perform peer tasks. We will set up crits, reviews and problem solving sessions for you to be able to benefit from the learning experience of others.

Creativity is an important part of successful marketing and communication, but your messages are only as good as their aesthetics and mediums. Project reports and strategy plannings can be made into interesting dynamic documents that add value to the outcomes. Consider the graphic design of all of the documents you will create.


  • Each group will submit a hard copy of their project on Thursday 26th March before 5.00PM
  • A soft copy is to be uploaded to Blackboard on the same day before 5.00
  • Each will prepare a 20 minute presentation and submit a hardcopy of slides on day of the presentation
  • Presentations will commence on the following week, 1st, 2nd and 3rd of April (just before the easter break)
  • Presentations will receive a group grade and an individual grade
  • All students must be present and participate in the presentation
  • Clients are warmly encouraged to attend the presentation


Grading Scheme

  • Document 80%
  • Presentation 15%
  • Reflection 5%


  • Executive summary: 5%
  • Introduction: 5%
  • Situation analysis: 10%
  • Objectives: 10%
  • Strategy: 20%
  • Tactics: 15%
  • Actions: 15%
  • Controls: 5%
  • Resources: 5%
  • References / Appendix / overall aesthetics of the document: 10%


Project additional definitions:

Analysis notions:

Macro trends:

Macro trends are directional shifts that involve large populations and last five to 10 years or more. Some examples might be the aging of a population, the development of global connectedness through social media, and the advances in technology as manifested in smart homes and the “Internet of things.”

E Audit:

Digital marketing audits are not one size fits all. Every business is different and it is believed that for an audit to be useful, it needs to tie directly into your business goals. Typically an audit might include: performance analysis, SEO analysis and positioning, Channel consistency analysis, etc. Examples of e-audits will be provided.


Goals / objectives notions:


What does RACE Planning stand for?

The RACE mnemonic summarises the key online marketing activities that need to be managed as part of digital marketing. RACE covers the full customer lifecycle or marketing funnel from:

(Plan) > Reach > Act > Convert > Engage

S.M.A.R.T goals:

The acronym stands for:

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Achievable

R – Relevant

T – Time-Bound

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