MZ Goes Back To College: Marketing Insights from Professor Joe Guilliams

In today’s rapidly changing world, continuing education is a necessity. No matter what industry a person or a business is immersed in, new technology and new trends require continuous updates to training. But nowhere is the rapid pace of development more evident than in the world of online marketing.

One important means of keeping abreast of the latest in online marketing is to tap into the wisdom of experts – reading blogs, watching videos, attending webinars. And here at Zen Media, we do all of those things regularly in our effort to be the best. But we’re also taking it a step further.

MZ is going back to college – and we’re taking you, our lucky readers, with us!

In our latest blog series, we’ll be interviewing some of the most distinguished minds in the country – university professors who have dedicated themselves to the ongoing study of marketing. These thinkers will be able to give us – and you – unique perspective and insight into the world of online marketing. We’re excited to be back in class!


Today’s interview features Professor Joe Guilliams, Professor of Marketing at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Professor Guilliams has been the recipient of numerous awards, including an Excellence In Teaching award, Professor of the Year, Teacher of the Year, and the Special Academic Award. Matthew McFarlane, one of our content marketing interns and a Mizzou student himself, caught up with Professor Guilliams the other day to ask him a few questions.

Professor Guilliams, how long have you been teaching? How long at Mizzou?

15 years total. 5 at Mizzou.

Why did you decide to become a professor of marketing?

Experience in the field of marketing at 2 companies as Director, New Business Development at Anheuser-Busch Marketing and VP and General Manager of Semco Distributing. I enjoy teaching.

How should a company manage itself in terms of online vs. offline marketing? Is one more important in your opinion? Has this been changing over recent years?

The number one consideration between online vs. offline is – the target market. Where do your customers live (online/offline)? Where are their conversations taking place? How do they find your products? This has definitely changed over the years. Online and offline marketing are not exclusive and can complement each other depending on your objective:

-brand awareness?


-customer retention?


Some offline marketing campaigns are more effective in these areas than online and vice versa.

In terms of online marketing, what are some of the most important areas for a company to focus their efforts?

Again, hard to answer, depending on your objective. If you’re trying to acquire customers, then SEO and Pay Per Click would be your focus, if your customers are online. If you were trying to convert customers to purchase or “like” you on Facebook, etc., then your website/email would be best. If you’re trying to retain customers and grow their spending, then email works very well for these. Clearly, there are a plethora of good answers to these questions, but I’m trying to give you a short answer.

Are there any particular ways that companies should be marketing themselves online, but many are missing out on?

Hard to say, depending on the company, but I’m sure the answer is “yes” many times. A lot of companies have a web page and a Facebook page and think they are done. There is so much more than that they should be doing.

What are some of the biggest mistakes that companies make while advertising themselves online?

See answer above – web page and Facebook is all they do. Also, many companies do not target their efforts effectively and many of their messages are irrelevant. A lot of them haven’t a clue of the importance of social media and its impact – if used properly.

What are some of the most effective online strategies that companies have been using successfully?

SEO, PPC, direct marketing, website, email.

Are there any recent trends in online marketing that you have seen developing recently?

Better use and effectiveness of social marketing. It’s been around for a while, just not used properly or very well.


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