Marketing Self and Service in the Age of Social Media
What makes a person decide to buy a product? How does the way it’s presented and marketed lead us to buy it? Is it purely flashy packaging that attracts a consumer to a product; or is it something more?
Assistant Professor of Marketing Amresh Kumar teaches a course, simply called Marketing, that helps students understand these questions. The class, which is open to all majors, highlights evolving marketing theories and helps students put into practice the work that goes into promoting a product or service. “I think marketing is something
one cannot escape,” Kumar asserts. “For example, what do you do in a [job] interview? You are basically marketing yourself.”
Throughout the semester students discover marketing is more than just buying and selling products; it is also about creativity and innovation. One of the first lessons students are taught is the importance of making messages memorable, which is especially crucial in today’s information age. Students learn that just getting someone to look at a product or service is difficult in itself, so to-the-point marketing can be very effective. If a consumer’s interest is piqued, more information can follow with greater detail.
“I feel that now I can successfully pick out which companies have a product or service of worth, and which ones are just trying to sell junk,” says business administration major Marcus Cheatham ’13.
Emphasis is also placed on viral marketing, as businesses are increasingly looking to social media such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to get their brands noticed. To gain hands-on experience in this area, students are tasked with working in small groups to create an original YouTube video and are challenged to market this video to their fellow classmates, peers and the general public throughout the semester. Using the number of hits as a benchmark for success, the class tracks each video throughout the course and discusses what did or did not work well.
In addition to teaching students about marketing in business, Kumar helps them develop strong presentation skills that are needed in any career. “This class has created a new meaning of marketing for me. Marketing is now a way of promoting not only a product, but also yourself,” says communications major Meaghan Lynch ’13. “I recommend this class to all students because it is the one class that shows that you don’t just need hard facts to survive in the business world, but also creativity and originality.”