- Jim Lamascus

Term : June, 2015
Department : Business and Management
Program : Marketing

Jim Lamascus self-identifies as a “blue collar scholar,” having started his career as an ASE-certified master mechanic, working full-time as he completed undergraduate and graduate degrees and eventually transitioning his auto expertise into a celebrated career as an advertising sales lead and supervisor for San Jose Mercury News, and later in sales at Oracle. When the online advertising realm began to transform the print world, Lamascus recognized that he needed to develop digital marketing skills in order to keep up. That’s how he found himself in UCSC Extension’s “Search Engine Marketing” course in fall 2013—a course that, within weeks, shifted his perspective on online media.

How did your understanding of search engine marketing help you at work?

I had my sales understanding of SEO/SEM, but once I got in the class and saw the breadth of all the facets to get a campaign going, and all the ways to measure it, and what the latest tools are, it was eye-opening to me. Within four weeks of the class, I was able to start sharing insight with customers. They started looking at me as someone who had some expertise in the area and asking my opinions. This [program] has already paid for itself for me.

Why do you think it’s important for marketing professionals to master digital skills?

It’s about the transition from print to digital. At our paper, we’re transitioning to that faster than ever. What I’ve found in the field was sales knowledge of digital is inadequate to distinguish yourself with expertise. Really, for the first time, I was taking classes for career enhancement, because my skill set, even with all my training and background and industry knowledge and expertise, was quickly becoming outdated. When I talked to customers, I saw that there was far more [to learn], even within the repertoire of what we sell, than just SEO/SEM. After the first course, I already saw the value of the certificate in the field.

What skills do you think professional marketers need to have?

In marketing, you need to understand different writing styles—like in “Web Writing That Works”. I think this class is absolutely essential. The teacher writes critiques on everything you write—and he gives great feedback. Web writing was outside of my expertise and what I do, and I feel like I have picked up something that I could probably do quite well—transition from blog writing to Twitter, putting together a website, writing an email, a white paper or an e-book. When I write proposals, write work emails, and send out sales presentations, it has altered the way I put that together now.

The digital understanding is highly necessary, clearly—that’s why this certificate [track] is titled Digital Marketing Management. If you’re in marketing, you need to know how your website is performing, so you need to understand how to read the analytics.

 Lamascus completed a certificate in Digital Marketing Management in summer 2014. He works at Oracle. Visit our Marketing Management page to learn about UCSC Extension’s unique offerings. Browse upcoming Marketing courses. Read more student storiesShare your Extension story.