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Off the Clock: Back to School Blog

In the latest installment of our Off the Clock blog series, Jennifer Blotkamp Stark talks with us about teaching at Indiana University Bloomington.

The spring semester of the 2022-23 school year is quickly ramping up for colleges and universities across the country. As students and professors prepare for the semester ahead, we asked Associate Media Director Jennifer Blotkamp Stark to reflect on what she has accomplished as an instructor during her higher-education teaching career.

Blotkamp Stark teaches two classes at Indiana University Bloomington: one section of Integrated Marketing Communication Campaigns and two sections of Media and Consumer Behavior. With many years of experience as a media buyer, Blotkamp Stark was ready to jump into her new role as an instructor.

“What made me want to become an instructor was the professors I had,” Blotkamp Stark said. “My first boss was an instructor at IU, and she was the kind of person that I wanted to learn from. I get a lot of satisfaction seeing the lightbulb turn on for my students.” 

At the beginning of the semester, the Media and Consumer Behavior course starts off with discussions about how consumers can react differently, and how to tailor ad campaigns to suit your target audience.

Throughout the semester, the course investigates theories of consumer psychology, specifically looking at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and how advertisers can use the framework to address consumers’ interests.

Students also spend time researching the processes of creating consumer personas and the basics of media buying. As part of the course, students also use research tools such as MRI-Simmons, Ad$pender and Mintel to conduct research on various markets.

The other class that Blotkamp Stark teaches is Integrated Marketing Communication Campaigns, which serves as a capstone course for advertising students. The course requires students to apply all the knowledge they’ve gained over their years in the program and put it toward creating two campaigns.

The first half of the course is focused on a national brand and the second half is focused on a local brand. Aside from gaining experience with the processes of building campaigns, this course allows students to build their portfolios.

Blotkamp Stark recognizes that not all students learn the same way, and says she tries to tailor her teaching to mirror the real world.

“I’m not the kind of person who can pick up a textbook and learn from it,” Blotkamp Stark said. “I learn from doing things. My courses are heavily weighted toward labs or discussions about certain topics. Doing these labs make it a little more interactive and give [students] real-life experience on what you would do in a real agency.” 

One piece of advice that Blotkamp Stark shares with her students and anyone just starting out in public relations and advertising is to maintain relationships with your peers, professors and internship directors. Knowing people in the industry can get you far.

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