So much to say

Mark Poepsel poses with a painting of the Digitas Marketing firm's unicorn just prior to starting an externship with the agency.I’m a “visiting professor” at DigitasLBi in Chicago. I’m here for two weeks, and each day is packed with meetings and large amounts of information sharing. In many ways, I’m treating this as a journalist might. I’m interviewing everyone and nosing in quite a bit and asking all sorts of questions of all kinds of people.

There’s new vocabulary to grasp, observations on organizational structure and corporate culture to make sense of, and there are relationships with “old school” ad agencies to try to place in context – by which I mean that this is a digital-first agency that represents different clients/brands in different ways and that partners with other agencies through clients in complex ways. Trying to grasp this all while speaking with expert practitioners across several capabilities (Advertising, Brand Strategy, Data Analytics, Design, Digital, Direct Marketing, Experiential, Media, Multicultural, Search, Social Media [source]) is causing some cognitive overload.

So, I’m taking massive amounts of notes, and I’m journaling. I will only write up posts when appropriate. I hope to regularly include quotes, photos, and videos from the people I’m watching work here.

DigitasLBi employs 7,000 people in 44 offices in 26 countries. I have access to the Chicago office and to about two dozen professionals in terms of formal meetings. I’ve probably met 50 people already. This is the third day.

I’m here to learn about social media so that I can bring some practices into my courses. I’m here to examine how content is produced but also to see how social media promotions are run and how analytics are done and what role analytics plays in social media strategizing. This will influence not only my current courses but our department’s broader curriculum, and it will be the impetus for a push to create a social media course. I’ll also use this experience to shape my entrepreneurial media courses and to eventually develop  a sort of Building Virtual Worlds course not unlike the one developed and made famous by Randy Pausch, of “Last Lecture” fame more than a decade ago before he died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 47.

The Scripps Howard Foundation is paying for my trip, and AEJMC is administering it. I am so grateful for the generosity of the Foundation and for the assistance AEJMC is providing.





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