WSU advertising veteran develops first-of-a-kind ECommerce advertising course

Closeup of Daniel Petek in hallway.
Daniel Petek, an instructor at WSU’s Edward R. Murrow College of Communication

A Washington State University instructor created what he describes as the nation’s first ECommerce advertising class of its kind, calling on his 35 years of experience in higher education and professional ties to the advertising industry.

Daniel Petek, an instructor at WSU’s Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, takes an “against-the-grain-approach” to teaching students by presenting real-world challenges and hands-on learning opportunities. Petek developed a semester-long curriculum that created a conduit of employment for Murrow students and delivered an instant pool of potential advertising candidates to Amazon.

“My objective was, and is, to get jobs at Amazon for a number of students in the class,” Petek said.  “As such, I truly set out to promote every single student by name to Amazon advertising directors, trainers and human resource personnel.”

To that end, Petek posts photos and examples of class experiences on Facebook to illustrate how the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication is now an innovator, originator and thought leader of higher education ECommerce advertising instruction.

Petek originally approached Amazon’s Global Advertising Sales department to learn about ECommerce advertising opportunities to help him develop a college teacher training module for distribution through the American Advertising Federation, which was published and released in September 2018. While attending meetings at Amazon headquarters, Petek spoke with former students who work at Amazon Marketing Services.

“What they all expressed to me was that ‘Amazon advertising is constantly growing. The demands for more qualified entry candidates is real,’” said Petek, adding that it was evident that Amazon’s nationwide recruiting costs were increasing.

Petek teaches the basics of ECommerce advertising with Amazon as the focus, largely due to the fact that Amazon comprises nearly 90 percent of the industry. The first month of course content includes learning terminology, along with keyword search targeting and audience targeting methods. Mid-way through the semester, the class shifts from individual learning to group application that includes a number of team challenges and graded team projects.

Throughout the semester guest speakers travel from Amazon headquarters in Seattle just to teach a 75-minute class at 7:45 a.m.

Petek said his favorite aspect of the class is that the final day essentially is a job interview. Every student in the class gives an individual presentation called a “Stand & Deliver,” which is an Amazon client sales presentation, to Amazon directors and managers.

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