Who says you have to have years of marketing experience under your belt to be an expert? A Social Media for Marketing class from the University of Rhode Island proved that creativity and innovation matter most when it comes to marketing tactic. The class recently won first place in the 2016 Acura ILX Marketing Challenge for a campaign to reach the millennial marketplace.
In recognition of the team’s achievement, Acura awarded URI a $5,000 scholarship. This was the university’s first time in the contest, making it even more impressive that the class was able to come together so seamlessly to win.
Assistant Professor Christy Ashley commented on some aspects of the team that she thinks contributed immensely to the class’ success. “Our class’s campaign emerged with lots of positive energy and speed,” said Ashley. “The students formed their agency called Vital Innovative Promotions (V.I.P.), right away to create and execute their multi-level marketing campaign in just over nine weeks. All with finesse. They were passionate, fast, and fearless social media marketers.”
These characteristics—positive energy, speed, passion, fearlessness, etc.—are all important for anyone looking to run a successful marketing campaign. Agencies need to believe in the marketing campaigns they’re producing. If not, where’s the incentive for consumers to believe in the product or overall campaign? It’s very obvious which ads are created by teams that are passionate and love their jobs and the companies they work for. Those are the advertisements that stick with people and make them interested in the campaign and company as a whole.
Look at Patagonia or Airbnb—it’s obvious from their advertisements that the people behind the marketing campaigns love their jobs and the companies. More importantly, it’s apparent that the companies care about what they’re producing. And that is the best possible way to draw people in. Passion is contagious, and marketers need to use that to their advantage. The students at URI understand that concept, and they have the win to prove it.
The students involved in the competition learned a lot from competing. Samantha Valenza of Plainview, NY said of her experience, “It’s important we learn different ways to market using social media since research shows its popularity as a marketing tool. The whole project was an entirely new experience—working with real money, managing real events, having a real company with clients that expected us to have a measurable impact.”
Hopefully one day Valenza and her classmates will be able to take the valuable lessons they learned from this competition and apply them to real world scenarios in the marketing industry.