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Not Your Normal Social Media Expert: 5 Questions with Steve Lee

Steve Lee, APR, is not exactly your normal social media expert. For one thing, he has a lot more gray hair than you would expect. But don’t think that just makes him the old guy — decades of business experience combined with techno understanding make for a vibrant combination. That’s how he helps senior executives wade through the latest interactive and marketing trends to create clearer visions of their business and communications needs as Chairman and Chief Pathfinder of QSI Consulting Group. As Professor of Practice for Corporate Communication and Public Affairs in the SMU Meadows School of the Arts and lead instructor for the Branding and Communications concentration in the SMU PRO Digital Marketing Certificate Program, Steve imparts his knowledge to both undergraduate and working professional students.

We had the chance to ask Steve some rapid fire questions about digital marketing today. Keep reading for his insightful answers.

SMU: What are the top trends you currently see in the field of digital marketing?

Steve Lee: Effective storytelling, short videos, influencers, artificial intelligence (AI), podcasting, AR/VR

SMU: What’s your approach to working with professional students?

SL: Professional students are hungrier than most undergraduate students. Professionals know better what they want to learn and are willing to immediately apply what we do in the classroom. That in itself is part of the learning process. Our students use what they learn, report back to the class how it went, and help others facing similar challenges. SMU PRO students are wonderful at helping each other and often form long-lasting professional friendships coming out of the Digital Marketing program.

SMU: How have you seen your students succeed during and beyond the digital marketing program?

SL: If I sound like a proud papa, I am. Our professional students simply love to grow and succeed. They start their own companies and agencies, provide communication consulting, change jobs into digital communication related functions, lead their organizations to better understand what’s working and what’s not, apply digital marketing in their charities, communities and churches, and become YouTube and influencer stars.

SMU: What types of jobs do you see branding and communications students excel in after completing the digital marketing program?

SL: Because of the actual act of doing what we teach in the advanced class, students are clearly more proficient at effective storytelling, digital writing, SEO, monitoring and analyzing blog, email and social media data and show far more confidence than when they started the course.

SMU: Anything else you’d like to share? 

SL: For the seven years I’ve been teaching SMU PRO courses, I’ve enjoyed the lively interaction in the classroom. Probing questions looking for answers, real-world situations needing guidance. At the top of every class we discuss what’s new or has changed in digital communication. It’s so enjoyable to focus on what a brand or a digital channel has done and bring it directly into the classroom. Often we can learn, or hone our knowledge by what we observe and discuss.

For more information about the SMU Digital Marketing Certificate or Steve’s classes in the Branding and Communications concentration, Best Practices in Social Media & Digital Communications and Digital Engagement & Advanced Social Media Management, visit our website or contact a program advisor at