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Statement of Purpose

STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

My name is J. Ashley Panter and I am interested in pursuing a  Masters degree in a field relating to digital marketing. I am excited about the opportunity to further my education and grow as a digital marketing professional as I know a graduate level education will be invaluable throughout the rest of my life.

If accepted into a Masters program, my intended area of study is digital media based. I am interested in this degree type as it most closely aligns with my current career path. I am very passionate about the digital marketing industry due to my entrepreneurial spirit and natural creativity. I am excited to learn and discuss more in-depth how to engage an audience digitally, use innovation and new ideas to tell a story through new media, and how to effectively and more comfortably communicate digital analytics and return on digital marketing efforts to my superiors. I hope to learn how one determines if they have been impactful using social media and answer questions such as “If social media stood alone, could it create as much conversation and impact as it does when used in conjunction with a website, email marketing, or any other supplemental digital channel?”

Since graduating with my Bachelors, I have spent several years working in the marketing industry and have learned that professional development and higher education is invaluable. I am ecstatic about the opportunity to continue to grow as a digital marketing professional and build a stronger foundation that balances my technical experience in an environment with like-minded individuals in which I hope to learn from as well. Furthermore, I am confident that a Masters program will help me increase professional competency and solidify a competitive advantage in future job searches to put me in reach of my goal to reach a Vice President, Chief, or Director level position.

Digital media, marketing and, more specifically, social media intrigue me, especially how it is changing the way companies market themselves and their products. I find it fascinating that a small business can have just as much post engagement and reach organically via Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as a paid ad by a big box store. It is interesting to think that business success and brand awareness is so dependent on one click of a button… the share button. Using digital media for promotion is quickly becoming, if not already, the new billboard of today’s society.

As an undergraduate, I melded a degree in public relations and graphic design because I saw the future of the industry and my professional goals coalescing around visual, dynamic communication that is instantly accessible and audience oriented. My coursework included 2D and 3D Design, Graphic and Web Design, Publication Production, Media Law & Ethics, Public Relations Theory, and Communications Campaigns, just to name a few. You can view a list of all of my relevant course work via my website www.jashleypanter.com. My course work is very diverse and varies between art, journalism, marketing, and communications.

I was fortunate enough to secure an internship with the Augusta State University Office of Public Relations my final two years in school as a website and graphic design assistant. This position taught me skills that have truly benefited me since graduating. I mastered WordPress, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, and Notepad++. I also was introduced to a plethora of online resources that help me to be more efficient with my creative process.

After graduation, I worked as a Marketing Coordinator for the newest of offices at Harry Norman, REALTORS, a real estate company in Atlanta, GA. One of my primary duties was to increase brand awareness in Greater Atlanta communities where this newly established office was located. My focus on using technology and innovation, as well as taking advantage of trending digital marketing strategies, enabled me to quickly increase brand awareness and popularity within the community. I primarily focused on brand management, which entailed making sure all marketing pieces translated a strong unified message and provided the same high-end aesthetics true to the Harry Norman brand. My focus on innovation and technology throughout our marketing helped our office quickly stand out as one of the most advanced and modern real estate offices within the company.

After leaving Harry Norman, REALTORS, I relocated to Athens, GA and accepted a job offer by the UGA Small Business Development Center (SBDC) as a Marketing Manager. Since joining the SBDC in November 2014, I have led the charge in efforts to re-brand the organization. Re-branding entailed redesigning logos, website, marketing materials, verbiage used, and more. This allowed our organization to transform into a more modern, distinct, and visually impactful brand. My first responsibility in the re-branding process was to develop, design, and code a new, revamped website that was responsive, included a blog, and had a more modern look and feel. The project consisted of over 60 webpages, search engine optimization, ensuring all content was socially shareable, and was developed with best practices that are currently trending. Other responsibilities for the re-branding process involved redesigning the SBDC logo, creating a comprehensive branding guide, ensuring all social media channels have a cohesive look and feel, as well as initiating an overhaul of all print marketing materials. Since coming to UGA, I have written several articles on social media, digital marketing, branding, and search engine optimization.

Alongside the responsibilities and accomplishments mentioned above, I’ve also facilitated several workshops while employed by UGA. In March 2015, I led a workshop for Augusta University on the subject of digital portfolios and their importance when job searching. I also developed Marketingpalooza, which is an annual two-day internal UGA SBDC workshop to better equip support staff with marketing and design skills, as well as an Adobe InDesign half-day workshop at the 2015 Support Staff Training held at Georgia Southern University.

My previously mentioned job experiences have taught me a lot, but the experience that has really helped drive my desire to become an expert in the industry derives from my experience as a small business owner.

While in college, I started a creative marketing and design company, Blu Mountain Expressions, where I worked with clients to create and/or improve their digital presence whether it be via website or social media. I also assisted clients create and/or improve their general branding (i.e. logo, business cards, flyers, rack cards, brochures) and marketing strategies. By becoming a business owner, it forced me to pay close attention to details, be extremely organized, provide excellent customer service to encourage referrals, meticulously manage my time as well as balance a full course load, and also meet the expectations set by my clients.

All of the skills and experiences mentioned have disciplined me as both a professional in the industry and a student learning with each new task I encounter. I am constantly learning in order to stay on top of current trends and methods for marketing, branding, social media, and design. I would also hope to be a resource for my classmates as I could share examples of application and methods learned through experience in my working career. For these reasons, I feel I would be an excellent candidate for graduate level studies and I am excited at the possibility to enter into such an exciting and innovative program.