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UW Oshkosh Digital Marketing Clinic members lend their expertise to the challenges of digital marketing. From the left, Erin Litscher, a spring 2023 graduate from Weyauwega; Amanda Dorsey of Neenah; Kathy Fredrickson, assistant teaching professor; Alex Larsen, spring 2023 graduate from Verona; and Allison Lundeen, a virtual intern from UW-Eau Claire, shown on the computer screen.

An initiative by University of Wisconsin Oshkosh students to provide digital marketing assistance will go beyond the Fox Valley and soon help a group of small businesses in northwest Wisconsin.

The Digital Marketing Clinic of UW Oshkosh’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will partner later this month with the SBDC on the UW-Eau Claire campus to provide digital marketing training and best practices.

The Digital Marketing Clinic student consultants will give a presentation to the owners of about 35 businesses. It will be followed by 20-30-minute free and confidential one-on-one digital marketing appointments conducted by seven intern-consultants—six from UWO and one from UW-La Crosse who is part of the team.

UWO’s Digital Marketing Clinic team includes (top row from left): Lauren Welter of Neenah; Karina Fritsch of Neenah; Caden Scheibel of UW-La Crosse; and Nathan Weis of West Bend; (bottom) Dan Brosman, SBDC director; Grace Pirillo of Neenah; Anthony Preston of Little Chute; Amanda Dorsey of Neenah; and Kathy Fredrickson, assistant teaching professor.

“The opportunity to provide digital assets for our clients and teach them the digital marketing skills needed for their business to succeed is incredibly fulfilling,” said UWO junior Grace Pirillo of Neenah, who is majoring in marketing.

Pirillo and the other students often find that owners are overwhelmed running their small businesses and considering how to market them.

“Marketing itself can be intimidating,” she said. “I really love sitting down and walking them through everything I’ve done for them and explaining the ‘why’ behind it so they can walk away feeling like they have the tools to keep the momentum going.”

A partnership with UW-Eau Claire began when Harlie Juedes, SBDC director at UWEC and its Network Capital Access Clinic director, offered to provide funding for a student from UW-Eau Claire to work remotely for the DMC. The student, Allison Lundeen, who is majoring in marketing analytics, joined the clinic in February and will be returning as an intern this fall.

The Oshkosh-Eau Claire event this month will provide businesses with a great combination of assistance.

The Eau Claire team of accounting interns at Capital Access Clinic will provide the businesses with technical assistance through the financial process; the Digital Marketing Clinic students will offer help with marketing challenges.

The Digital Marketing Clinic, a state-wide initiative of the Wisconsin Small Business Development Center Network, pairs talented, aspiring university students with business owners who make an economic impact in their communities. The clinic is located at UWO and managed by Kathy Fredrickson, assistant teaching professor of marketing.

Since February 2021, intern consultants with advanced training in Google Analytics, search engine optimization (SEO), user experience, video production and graphic design have completed more than 3,500 hours of consulting.

Lauren Welter, a UWO senior from Neenah majoring in interactive web management, said a lot of clients have difficulty with search engine optimization (SEO) concepts and knowing what is most important for them to be doing to reach new customers.

Student suggestions, she said, are being implemented by business owners after the appointments.

“They seem to have a better understanding of what they can be doing to set themselves up for success across social media channels, websites and other digital marketing efforts,” Welter said.

The DMC initiative allows student consultants to gain real-life experience with different components of digital marketing, including analytics, digital asset creation (graphics and video), website updates and SEO. It’s something that’s helped Welter solidify her future career direction in web design/development and user experience or interface design. She is on track to graduate in December.

Pirillo said her experience as intern manager and student consultant with the Digital Marketing Clinic has strengthened her plans for the future that include small business marketing. She expects to graduate in spring 2025.

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