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Emerson among first colleges to partner with Inbound Marketing leader, HubSpot

Marketing Communication Professor, Randy Harrison, is one of the first professors nationwide to partner with HubSpot, which in turn offers Emerson students an applied learning experience by leveraging cutting edge marketing tools and by developing full-blown inbound campaigns for real clients.

“I’m a working [marketing strategy] consultant and I’ve had a pretty diverse background in marketing, and I want to really empower students with tools they can use — both marketing knowledge tools, as well as professional skills tools, so that they can go out and create value now — That’s always been the goal,” said Harrison, who views students as professionals and peers. “Once they have those tools in place, there’s nothing that can stop them.”

Marketing Communication Prof. Randy Harrison

Marketing Communication Prof. Randy Harrison facilitates an applied learning experience for Emerson students. [Courtesy Photo]

Geared toward Emerson’s next generation business professionals, Harrison’s ‘Inbound in the Integrated Marketing Framework’ course this spring semester will enable students to earn professional software certification from HubSpot — an all-in-one inbound marketing and sales platform helping companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers. HubSpot Marketing Software Certification is a real professional certification considered to be highly-prized and recognized in the marketplace.

What is Inbound marketing?

The strategy focuses on attracting customers, or leads, via company-created digital content. Unlike outbound marketing in which marketers vie for potential customers via advertisements encouraging them to buy, sign up, etc., inbound marketing attracts them through value-charged content channels, including blogs, search engines, and social media.

In today’s world where innovation is transforming communication and relationships between companies and customers, while creating new opportunities for marketers, Emerson’s educational collaboration with a leader in the digital marketing automation space is one of the first of its kind.

HubSpot attracts today’s global customers by leveraging useful or remarkable content. Students this semester will utilize this principle and create marketing campaigns for HubSpot clients, including the nonprofit, Charity Defense Council, and the startup, Sleepbox.

A major draw of HubSpot is its belief of information being free in order to expand its base of users who are comfortable using the platform to help businesses grow.

“So, the more people versed in the product, the more business they’re going to get as a result. And that’s really the underpinning of what makes this great for us [at Emerson] because it allows us to really shape their content with our great curriculum and create a very powerful learning experience for our students,” said Harrison.

Inbound to Emerson

Harrison first came across HubSpot in 2008 when meeting one of its co-founders and CEOs, Brian Halligan, and hearing him speak about the progressive marketing platform, founded in 2006.

“I was immediately attracted to [inbound marketing] for one core reason: It’s all based on a central premise of marketing, which is the process of connecting dots and making products or services easy to buy for customers,” said Harrison.

HubSpot power user, Yale Appliance CEO Steve Sheinkopf

HubSpot power user, Yale Appliance CEO Steve Sheinkopf giving  Emerson Marketing Communication students an insider’s view of Inbound principles and HubSpot. [Courtesy Photo]

In 2014, Harrison conducted a capstone course at Emerson carrying out mock campaigns with client, Capital One, using digital methodologies from HubSpot Academy’s Inbound Marketing certification course to create a marketing strategy. The success of the course inspired him to share inbound marketing tactics in his other courses.

“The trick with the HubSpot certification though is you have to do live work for a live HubSpot customer — it’s not a mock project. It’s a real client and a real experience. [Since testing it out from 2014 until now, HubSpot’s inbound marketing] aligns really well with our integrated marketing communication foundation, which is what Emerson’s core strength in marketing has been for a really long time,” said Harrison.

“I’ve seen students blossom in front of my eyes — from being students to being really A-player, rock star-level talent, which they’re fully capable of being. This is what makes it very exciting from a teaching point of view — to see that transformation based on the real hunger and desire of students who really want to succeed.”

Harrison attributes the leadership of Marketing Communication Chair, Brenda Wrigley, for ushering the department into a new era.

“Under Brenda’s leadership, we created this topical course in partnership with HubSpot as the one of the first in the country of its type. The department realized that marketing is going through some dynamic changes right now, and we’re adjusting accordingly. It’s a chance for us to lead and invest in the future — not just to read about it,” said Harrison. “We rank well nationally as a marketing department, and part of the reason is by being willing to embrace innovation and by being leaders in creating these types of experiences.”

Last fall, College Factual, a company that ranks various programs and facets of colleges and universities, ranked Emerson the fifth-best marketing program in the nation. Utilizing skill sets learnt from the Marketing Communication program over the past several years, dozens of Emerson alumni have since worked for HubSpot.

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