A Teachers’ Overview of Digital Marketing Education in China Guangzhi Chu Professor of Advertising, Communication University of China Chenyu Li Ph.D. Candidate of Advertising, Communication University of China Introduction As one of the world’s largest markets and the second most powerful economy in the world (NBSC 2012), China is going through a tremendous technological transformation. China has the largest digital media users in the world. At the end of June, 2012, there are 538 million internet users (CNNIC 2012) and more than a billion mobile phone users (including near 200 million 3G mobile phone users, MIIT 2012). That means great potential for Chinese marketers as well as for advertising educators. Introduction Until the end of 2011, there are 355 universities and institutes enrolling undergraduate students majoring in advertising in Mainland China (China Radio and TV yearbook 2011). However, a nationwide survey among Chinese marketing executives revealed that lacking of skill sets and lacking of understanding of digital media were the key elements that seem to restrict organizations in developing effective digital marketing programs (Chu, Schultz and Li 2011). Therefore, it is necessary to explore how advertising education come up with the development of digital marketing. Previous Studies Advertising education is not new topic. Since Xiamen University formally enrolled undergraduate students majoring in advertising in 1984, there are several nationwide surveys in China. Notable surveys were conducted by CAA (1996), Zhang (2003); CAA (2006), Cui (2007), and Huang (2008). These surveys more focused on the structure of advertising teacher groups, training objective and plan, curricula, courses. Previous Studies In the last decade, digital marketing education becomes a hot topic in China. More and more researchers involve in this area. However, there is no nationwide survey to explore the current situation and the future of digital marketing education in China. Therefore, this survey aimed to explore how advertising education come up with digital marketing practice. Methods The survey targets all members of China Advertising Education Society, the biggest advertising education organization in China. Two respondents were selected from each of those universities or institutes. The questionnaire was designed by the authors. This survey was conducted in May, 2012. In total, 314 questionnaires were sent by email, and 146 completed questionnaires were returned. After filtering out incomplete questionnaires, 131 valid questionnaires were used in the analysis, covering 95 universities and institutes in China. Findings The current situation of digital marketing courses Among all respondents participating in this survey, 63 (48.1%) said that their university or institute have offered digital marketing courses, and 24 (35.3%) said that they will develop these courses in next school year. It is notable that some universities and institutes don’t plan to introduce these digital marketing courses in a year. Findings Not planning to offer digital marketing courses in a year，58.8% Offered digital marketing courses already，48.1% Not offered digital marketing courses yet，51.9% Planning to offer digital marketing courses in a year， 35.3% Not clear attitude，5.9% Figure1: Digital Marketing Courses Offered in Chinese Universities Findings Why don’t offer digital marketing courses? The top two reasons are “Some courses have already included digital marketing part”, and “Lack digital marketing teachers” (N=68). Digital marketing is often taught in advertising media, advertising creativity (planning), and marketing class. Findings Series1, Making digital marketing contents included into other classes, 58.8% Series1, Lack of teachers, 55.9% Series1, Lack of equipments, 32.4% Series1, Others, 27.9% Series1, Against specialty orientation and training direction, 5.9% Figure2: Reasons for Universities Did not Offer Digital Marketing Courses Findings The kind of digital marketing courses Internet advertising, new media advertising and introduction of new media are the top three digital marketing courses that participating universities and institutes are offering to students. Micro blogs, social network sites, mobile phone, Ecommerce website, and search engine are the top five disciplines that digital marketing courses pay attention at. Series1, Micro-blogs, 84.1% Results Series1, SNS websites, 82.5% Series1, Mobile media, 76.2% Series1, E-commerce websites, 73.0% Series1, Search engine, 69.8% Series1, Video websites, 68.3% Series1, Forums and communities, 63.5% Series1, Official Websites, 61.9% Series1, IM tools, 55.6% Series1, Blogs, 52.4% Series1, Digital televisions, 41.3% Series1, LBS service websites, 36.5% Series1, LED, 33.3% Series1, Car televisions, 30.2% Series1, Others, 7.9% Figure3: Digital Media Mentioned in Digital Marketing Courses in China Findings Courses that should be introduced New media marketing, social media marketing, mobile marketing, micro blogs marketing, brand marketing (management), and integrated marketing communications were seen the most important courses that should be introduced (N=68). Findings Who is teaching digital marketing? 95% of digital marketing teachers came from their major or department. Besides, they also invite guest lecturers from marketing and communication firms. findings How they teach digital marketing? Teaching in class (100.0%), discussion in class (76.2%), and homework (52.4%) are the top three methods that teachers most often used. Teachers are more likely interact with students at QQ (the biggest IM platform in China) and Micro blogs (e.g. Sina weibo) after class. Findings Evaluation of teaching result of digital marketing courses Respondents from all 63 universities and institutes that offer digital marketing courses thought, to their knowledge, students held relative high evaluation to digital marketing courses since the total percentage of “very good” and “good” is 74.6%. Findings Factors that restrict the development of digital marketing education “Lack professional practice”, “slow knowledge updating” and “pay less attention to digital marketing” were seen the top three barriers from teachers in China. Findings Series1, Lack of professional practice, 79.4% Series1, Slow knowledge updating, 47.6% Series1, Less attention to situation of digital marketing, 46.0% Series1, Outdated teaching methods, 31.7% Series1, Less personal use of digital media, 28.6% Series1, Others, 14.3% Figure4: Barriers from Teachers in Digital Marketing Education in China Findings How to promote digital marketing education In China? From teachers participating in this survey, more interaction with digital marketing practitioners, improving curriculum system, and adjusting training objective were seen the top three methods. Findings Series1, More interaction with practicer in business, 87.3% Series1, Improving curriculum system, 68.3% Series1, Adjusting training objectives, 42.9% Series1, Updating teaching equipments, 36.5% Series1, Changing assessment methods, 28.6% Series1, Others, 9.5% Figure5: Improvements Needed in Digital Marketing Education in China Conclusion and discussion (1) Digital marketing education still in its early stage in China. However, it has great potential in China. (2) It seems lacking of teachers specialized in digital marketing is the biggest challenge that China’s digital marketing education is facing. (3) It is notable that some problems exist for long time, before the rising of digital media, such as lacking of interaction with marketing practitioners. Conclusion and discussion (4) It seems that renew the mind set of advertising education teachers and managers are the key factors to promote digital marketing education in China. (5) Besides, the resources inside and outside universities or institutes should be integrated.