Digital marketing is no longer an emerging trend. It’s an absolute essential component to a company’s overall marketing strategy. To lead at the cutting edge, the Foster School of Business began offering a Digital Marketing class for undergraduates during the winter quarter. A key differentiator of this class is that consulting projects with Seattle based startups are integrated with classroom learning.
For Amin Sayedi, the professor behind the class, providing the students with practical experience was a must. “Having a chance to research best practices and actually implement Google AdWords campaigns and receive feedback from real-life clients was a really positive experience for the students.”
The startup community is thriving and rapidly growing in the “cloud city,” creating a rich environment for partnerships between students and the business community. The eight different businesses the Foster School worked with centered principally on startups–from early stage, pre-launch clients to those with paying customers.
Across all teams, students took over social media handles (such as for Facebook and Twitter) running analytics on the effectiveness of these posts. Each team demonstrated remarkable results with increasing followers, likes, and overall reach–some upwards of 300% or more. Teams provided further recommendations of social media platforms their clients should be utilizing (such as Instagram) and offered best practices to manage across these platforms.
“I found (the digital marketing project) really valuable, especially since my team was all Millennials–[a demographic] important to the product I’m launching. I am really impressed with the program the Foster School has put together for students working within the community.”
Each client’s needs and stage of business development varied, as did the outcomes from the projects. Digital marketing strategy for pre-launch startups included generating buzz for the products and services and performing market research (including customer surveys). For clients with paying customers, some teams had the opportunity to utilize a small daily budget to manage a Google Adwords campaign–experimenting with ad copy to see what would be the most effective.
“We were very impressed with all of the student’s research and presentations. The different perspectives and ideas were very valuable. We are going to implement all of the recommendations for the website and social media as well as investigate different segments.” From another client’s perspective: “the team was knowledgeable and complemented each other in the flow and content of their final presentation. We gained a lot of insight into digital media and the opportunities for our business. This is an excellent academic/private industry program initiative.”
With many of the Digital Marketing students poised to enter the workplace in just a few short months, they will be walking away from Foster equipped with a strong skill set to compete in the digital marketing sphere.