Marketing in the digital world hasn’t always been an easy transition, but companies have changed their tune in the past decade.

(Photo Courtesy of Sara Zuckerman)

(Photo Courtesy of Idea Marketing Group)

Over half of 315 surveyed companies confirmed to Gartner that there will be an average 17 percent of funds set aside for digital marketing this year. Business management and marketing professionals are finding new and creative ways to bring in online dollars for an ever-changing digital audience.

“While business owners are focused on doing their work, we are helping them foresee what’s going to happen in the future,” said Sara Zuckerman, the marketing manager of Idea Marketing Group. “Our goal is to help grow businesses. People are so focused on running their business that they forget how to get more business.”

Zuckerman holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her interest in business heavily increased while observing both her parents pursue their own dreams as entrepreneurs.

“Some of the things that I learned in undergraduate business school versus what I do in the workplace — concepts, strategies and business models — those are all the same from a higher level. Even though my field is in social media and content writing and SEO, it’s constantly changing and evolving. The business degree gave me a good sense of a business picture.”

While Zuckerman’s focus was on business management, she made a point of not “treating college like a trade school” and took full advantage of electives. One college course she strongly recommends for all students is writing or English courses.

“In my field, writing is so important. We’re seeing younger people texting and doing much shorter snippets of writing. Their writing skills are deteriorating so I think English and grammar skills are really important.”

While some students naturally have the gift of gab and online business savvy, Zuckerman encourages these digital mavens to never forget about how important in-person interaction is.

“Even though we live in a world of social media and online networking, you’ve got to relate that to real world experience. Just because you reach out to someone on LinkedIn doesn’t mean you can’t follow up with a phone call. Actually speaking to someone within the company is a very different thing [than conversing on] Facebook. Relate your online digital world to real life.”

Shamontiel L. Vaughn is a professional journalist who has work featured in AXS, Yahoo!, Chicago Defender and Chicago Tribune. She’s been an Examiner since 2009 and currently writes about 10 categories on