Students are engaged more than ever in online marketing and new media.

For years now I’ve returned to The University of Tampa, my alma mater, to talk to advertising and public relations students about online marketing. The first time, in 2010, I received blank stares. I wondered if they yet sensed the urgency regarding their futures in this business.

The next time, I made sure to talk about not only the tactics and benefits, but added relevant job descriptions to demonstrated opportunity in a down economy. I received less blank stares and subsequent Q&A told me it was resonating.

The latest, 2013, was the best response so far. I focused on where online marketing fits into the traditional marketing mix, the tactics, the benefits and their career considerations. But this time I added some tips and resources to get them started. I suggested books to read, like Inbound Marketing, The Hierarchy of Contagiousness and New Rules of Marketing and PR. I suggested blogs to follow, like Mashable, HubSpot and Moz. I even offered FREE consulting services for life from yours truly.

The students were crazy engaged. They wanted to hear more about AdWords and how they could increase fans on Facebook pages they’re managing. As I walked around the room, they were checking me out on Twitter and studying my source code to see what I’m doing for SEO.

It was amazing to see them taking seriously a marketing revolution! And it inspires me to up my game so I’m ready to compete with this generation of online marketers.

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