The exchange of ideas between academia and industry is an essential part of a Suffolk Education. Which is why the seventh Bridging the Gap seminar was such a valuable experience for students, professors, and the host of marketing and advertising professionals from around Boston who came to the event in March.

“It’s especially important for all of us in the Marketing Department to bring real-world expertise to the Suffolk community and, in turn, for us to share our thinking from the classroom and working with students,” said Ereni Markos, associate professor of marketing and co-organizer of the event.¬†“Networking is crucial for students to build their professional network early on in their careers.”¬†

"Internships are good to learn what you like about a job, but also what you don’t like.” Katie Murphy, Marketing Manager, New Balance

Attendees were treated to a wealth of stories, advice, and discussion about what’s going on in the ever-changing world of marketing and media. The final session of the day featured six other panelists who explored the latest trends in social and digital marketing.

Here were some of this year’s trending topics:

Data Privacy

In the wake of what had just happened with Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, one panelist predicted that Facebook ads as we know them will be gone by the end of the year—or at least dramatically transformed. People are waking up to how their data are being used and deciding they don’t like it so much. That’s going to have a huge impact on the current state of digital advertising.

“Understand the business of marketing and how it’s measured.” Francis Skipper, Founding Partner, Agency 451

Hey, Siri

One issue that speakers and panelists talked a lot about was the advent of voice search and voice activated devices. With the launch of Amazon Echo, Google Home, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Apple’s HomePod, voice is “the new frontier,” as one of the speakers said. Indeed, according to Alpine.AI, there are now more than one billion voice searches per month. That’s a lot of eyeballs (or ear drums) to market to. A huge opportunity.

Brand Building 

Whether it’s diving deep into the New Balance brand, figuring out the moral that underlies a company’s brand, or creating one’s own brand to get a job, the idea of branding got a lot of attention. There was a consensus that brands have become way more than just an interaction between company and customer—an interesting development considering how scattered our media touch points are these days. Successful brands have deep emotional roots built on shared beliefs that translate into a true, ongoing relationship, not just something transactional.

Get That Job

Along with the discussion of industry trends, several of the speakers passed along helpful tips for the students in attendance as they begin to look for jobs in marketing and advertising (see portraits).

“We are all brands. Think about what the moral of your story is.” Jeff Freedman, CEO, Small Army