Category Archives: Teaching

Digital marketing strategy for small businesses

What a great way to start the New Year! Thank you NZFuture Community Trust for inviting me as a guest speaker for the digital marketing strategy workshop for small businesses. A great audience, meaningful conversations, and interesting questions.

It was a pleasure to learn from future-forward and enthusiastic people about their challenges and help them draft some ideas for social media and content marketing.

  • digital marketing strategy workshop

Workshop topics

The workshop covered two of the most important aspects of digital marketing – social media and content marketing. All materials, including industry templates and tools introduced during the workshop, were also provided via Google Classroom. Such an approach greatly benefited learning as I kept my Google Classroom open even after the workshop finished, to give participants time to download the resources they found useful. For two days we talked and experimented with some approaches that proved to be effective:

Digital Marketing Workshop: Day 1

  1. Digital marketing strategy overview: goals/strategy/metrics
  2. Understanding customers: buyer persona creation/online-based research tools
  3. Social media audit: purpose/key steps/tools
  4. Social media marketing overview: key aspects/content creation/ scheduling/tools

Digital Marketing Workshop: Day 2

  1. Content marketing overview
  2. Content marketing best practices: types of content, content scheduling/effective writing attributes
  3. Content marketing analytics: what to measure and how. Tools and resources

What workshops would you be interested in attending in the future? Select your top 3 topics. Thank you!

Being in marketing education, I always look for new partnerships with NZ businesses to keep my teaching grounded in real business experiences, so the workshop was beneficial in many respects, not to mention the fresh perspectives I gained for my digital marketing course that is kicking off in March at the University of Auckland. So, I hope Russians are right in saying that the beginning of the new year sets the tone for the next 12 months. I hope it’s going to be a busy and productive year.

End of term thoughts


There is no single formula for a good class or term. Every class is different and requires different strategies, activities, amount and types of attention, etc. What you aim for as a teacher is to create a learning environment in which students’ achievements are limited only by the extent of their personal ambitions and goals.

Today was the last class of my marketing course. 10 weeks of intensive learning are done and dusted. I felt touched when my students presented me with a gift – hand-made cards with the sweetest and kindest words (some were in Russian!). This is why many of us stay in academia regardless of the never-ending marking, sleepless nights, extra tutorials, and research supervision 🙂

Cover image by congerdesign from Pixabay

What do we know about brand communities on social media?

In Harvard Business Review, Henry Mintzberg advised, “If you want to understand the difference between a network and a community, ask your Facebook friends to help paint your house”. The idea of community has a long history in sociological and marketing research. Regardless of context, we apply this term where there is a specific type of bond between people, including consumption communities such as beloved Harley-Davidson and Star Trek.

Digital Marketing Convention at NZIE

But what do we know about brand communities on social media? This is a question I decided to discuss with NZIE digital marketing students during our termly convention. I’ve been researching social media since 2010, focusing on the nature of consumer-brand relationships. I was happy to share with students the results of my ongoing project – the model of brand values on social media that illustrates the importance of functional, emotional, self-oriented, social, and relational brand experiences.

Interestingly enough, I did not feel stressed when I presented my research at the First European Conference on Social Media in Brighton, but it seems to be a different story when you share your research with your students. I hope that some students who attended the convention will take full advantage of social media in building communities, others will get inspired to go beyond their study program and one day conduct a research on social media.

NZIE Digital Marketing Students

Images by Naida Rasch

What did you study in high school?

While preparing an application for PhD, I came across my high school academic records. My memories of military classes are still very vivid – we were taught how to survive nuclear war. And before you ask – yes, we had exams. One of the assignments was to assemble a Kalashnikov; I was awarded “A”. In other words, I was able to complete the task within 25 sec Lol

Anyway, it seems like I’m very well equipped for any sort of situations. What did you study in high school?

High School Academic Records

New Year New Studies

Ok, it is almost 2019 and it’s a great time to reflect on the year that has passed.

As a marketer I like Key Performance Indicators. My marketing students know about this and they also know that I like specifics 🙂 So, let’s be specific. It has been a very interesting and big year. Books published – 1, new jobs – 1 (I’ve returned to teaching!), research proposals – 1, family businesses – still 2 (new one is being planned & I still need to learn how to prioritise and delegate work), overseas trips – 1, (Singapore, I’m yours forever), family weekends and holidays – 1, catch-ups with friends – 2 (I made it!!), morning walks with my Jack Russell Moscow – 365, best student feedback – “I want to be her friend forever”.

A long time ago I realised that I can’t make a choice between running a business and teaching. After a few attempts to focus on either business or teaching, I gave up and decided to get the best of the both worlds. It really helps to stay current when it comes to teaching as well as to grow my business (simply because the beauty of being a teacher is never-ending learning).

This year after a long break I returned to teaching. I’m still in the process of getting to know my new colleagues, a new culture (every institution is different), and my new students. The new term starts just in a couple of weeks so I have something to share based on my experiences as a student (and I still am, doing my DPP ) and as a teacher:

1. From time to time you may think that skills you gained and knowledge you learned in the past will never have a use or have anything to do with your career plans. This is far from the truth. At the Far Eastern State Humanitarian University I studied Medieval Literature, History of Religion, Political Science and even Dramatic Reading. Like anybody else I often questioned the content of my programs, but surprise, surprise… later on I recognised the value of ALL of the subjects I studied. It’s not just about advancing your general knowledge – that I’m sure will pay off at any given point in your career – but more importantly, it’s about advancing understanding of the complexities of connections between different disciplines/concepts/theories, etc. This skill is very rare nowadays, trust me!

2. From time to time the concepts you learn can be repetitive. For example, in all marketing papers (even in social media marketing) you will apply, again and again, the marketing mix, servicescape model, marketing research, etc. And this is fine because, 1) you have a chance to master your skills, 2) challenge existing approaches and come up with something new, and 3) experiment with traditional concepts in a new domain (online).

3. Make the most of your study experiences. I always tell my students to create a portfolio of what they have done and studied in class (presentations, group and individual projects, etc). By the end of your studies you will be able to show a company you would like to work for your capabilities and knowledge, and have the evidence to support it. LinkedIn and industry-related networks are great places to share your portfolio.

That’s all for now. I wish you the best of luck for 2019! Happy New Year guys. The photos were taken during the end-of-study Christmas party at NZIE by Leonardo Falasca. I hope they will make you smile!