Easy-to-read guide to digital marketing as thesis

Netta Soininen graduated as Bachelor of Business Administration in the International Business Degree Programme and created in her thesis a guide for SMEs. Now she works as a freelancer under her own trade name. 


How did you get the idea for your thesis?

I wanted it to be connected to marketing. I started to think about connecting two topics, one that I needed to learn more about and another I was already interested and quite good in. That's how I ended up with branding and digital marketing.

The final thesis topic became How to improve SMEs’ brand awareness by digital marketing. My angle was to create a guide for SMEs who are not so familiar with the topic. I also wanted to connect digital marketing and brand awareness, because digital marketing is often seen as a means of quick cash flow and more sales-driven than brand-driven.


How did the process of writing your thesis go?

In my second year of studies my tutor pointed out that I could graduate six months early by doing a bit more work, so already in the second year I decided my timeline for the thesis to graduate six months early in June. I started to think about my topic in December 2014, and started writing in January 2015.

I scheduled the process so I would work on my thesis twice a week for few hours; I knew myself well enough to know that I could not concentrate on the thesis for eight hours straight. I also started to write early on because I wanted to leave myself room.

I guess I did not face any major surprises, but I did face a lot of writer's block. It was also a bit hard to write, because I was doing it by myself, most of my classmates were still taking classes and starting their thesis work later. I always wrote in the school library, because there were too many distractions at home; a fridge, Netflix, and so on.

Netta Soininen


Did you get support in your work from teachers or fellow students?

I felt I got good support from my thesis supervisor as well as my tutor. We bounced ideas around and reviewed the text and structure. I was really happy with my supervisor and tutor, but according to my classmates’ feedback, there were disparities in the level of help some of them got from their advisors. Some teachers like to put more effort in. I asked for feedback from my friend and from a previous boss, too, who I interviewed for the thesis.


In what way is your thesis useful and are you happy with the end result?

The whole point of the thesis was to write an easy-to-read guide for SMEs. I felt that it did succeed in that. My goal was to gather ideas and information into one logical guide. I am quite satisfied with the end result, but there is always room for improvement.


What are you doing now and how did you end up doing it?

I had set a goal for myself to find employment in a marketing job. Starting already in February until June I applied to almost all marketing agencies and other interesting companies that might have a need for a marketing employee; I didn’t find a job. I already had work experience in the field before I graduated so it was a tough blow.

In June, I was offered a B2B sales job, which I took. I was there for a few months but left to start my own company, as a sole trader. At the moment, I do freelance marketing projects through my trade name and I work as a Content Manager with my main employer in a marketing agency called Kummeli (  

My responsibilities there are creating content for online and offline products, social media, blogs and also providing marketing consulting and training for companies. It’s safe to say, I’m really happy about my current work situation. 


What would you say to companies who are thinking about contracting a thesis?

It’s hard to give advice to companies about thesis projects, since I did not have a contractor, but I would like to remind them that a thesis for university might be the most important "essay" of the student’s life and sometimes a major factor in employment, so companies need to remember to give students some creative space, and also not hinder the process by not answering emails or calls.


And to students starting their thesis work?

For students, I would suggest starting to write early on, even just collecting articles and links. It’s a cliché, but it is true: starting is the hardest part. After I got two pages of text done the project started to flow nicely. I would suggest students get out of their comfort zone to integrate something they are not so good at into their thesis, even for a small section to learn something new.

Even though the thesis is important and useful, I would still remind students that it does not define your competence as a person or professional.


Read Netta Soininen’s thesis in

Netta Soininen, Improving SMEs’ brand awareness by digital marketing: a guide for SMEs, 2015


Satu Haapala, Communications Leader

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