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Vishal Shah, senior Accounting and MIS major.

Vishal Shah, senior Accounting and MIS major.

Credit: Penn State Behrend

New podcast series highlights marketing professionals

Two of the basic principles of modern marketing are “know your audience” and “engagement is everything.”

Who are you trying to reach? What do they like to do? How to do they like to communicate? What will inspire them to learn about or engage with your product?

These are questions Dr. Mary Beth Pinto, professor of marketing, keeps in the back of her mind when she is plan­ning courses and programs. Always looking for strategies to enhance lessons, Pinto recently found a way to maximize what has already proven to be a formula for student success in her MKT 301: Principles of Marketing classes: guest speakers.

“I know those experiences are vital for career exploration and networking, so I thought about recording them so that students will have a wealth of speakers and advice to turn to whenever they want,” Pinto said.

Here’s where the “know your audience” part comes in. “College-age students love podcasts,” Pinto said.

The statistics back up that assertion. According to the website, 48 percent of monthly podcast listeners in the United States are under age 34.

Pinto had listened to podcasts but had never created one on her own. She wasn’t worried about the interviews or finding professionals to chat with since those are both in her wheel­house, but for the technology side of things, she turned to Jodi Herman, multimedia specialist in the Centers for Teaching and eLearning Initiatives at Behrend.

Working together, Pinto and Herman came up with a plan to record audio interviews via Zoom, then post to an online channel that Behrend students could access. For the Profes­sionals on Demand (POD) series, Pinto has now conducted interviews with more than twenty industry insiders from a wide range of fields, including Jeff Blackman with NBC Universal, Veronica Lorya with Moët Hennessy USA, and Jeff Stempka with Campbell Soup company.

As Pinto suspected, the series has been a hit with students.

“They love it,” she said. “We have had a lot of positive comments from students. We can tell them what the world of marketing is like, but they really value hearing about it from people who are working in the field every day.”

Student feedback has included: “The podcasts have motivated me to look beyond what I know and consider pos­sibilities throughout all levels of marketing,” “They inspired me to look more deeply into retail career options,” and “I had no idea that a position like this even existed.”

What started as a way to enhance classroom lessons has blossomed into more. Pinto sees more ways to use the podcasts beyond the classroom.

“Career exploration is vital,” she said. “We can highlight these interviews as a way to market the major and give stu­dents some insight into the career. A lot of students don’t even know what marketing is. These podcasts can be used to show them that it’s a very versatile degree.’”

Pinto would like to expand the audience beyond Behrend. “We’d like to use the podcasts as a form of high school outreach and make them available to schools to use in their own marketing and business classes.”

To listen to podcasts in the “Marketing Professionals on Demand” series, visit