Look… I get it. Large classes, outdated subject matter, and attention spans of varying degrees. Keeping your students attentive and excited about the subject of marketing can be a challenging beast to slay. However, there are always fun, applied and experiential ways to keep them involved and learning along the trail.
Here are a few non-traditional approaches you might consider trying to get the subject into the hearts and minds of your students:
Have Them Create Their Own Faux Marketing Campaign
One of the best ways to teach young adults is to get them involved in projects they can complete on their own.
As an interactive activity, assign groups of students to an imaginary company, perhaps based on a real-life company. Then, task them with coming up with a strategy to market the company. Students won’t necessarily be head-over-heels excited to come up with a marketing strategy for an accounting firm or a government agency, so make sure that the scenarios you present are timely, engaging, and appropriately challenging. Some possibilities could include a social media company that has lost the trust of its community, a bank that has suffered a security breach, or even an automobile manufacturer that has to announce a recall.
Refer to Real-Life Marketing Campaign Successes and Failures
The great thing about the marketing field is that once you learn what it consists of, you’ll realize how ingrained it is in our society. Share examples of marketing successes and failures that will be relevant to your students. For example:
- Did you know that Gap introduced a re-brand of its iconic logo in 2010? Probably not, considering the swap was deemed a branding failure and was reversed after only six days.
- As examples of influencer marketing, call out how HelloFresh and Blue Apron utilize the participants of the Bachelor, Bachelorette, and Bachelor in Paradise franchises to get their meal prep product in front of customers by way of social media.
- Ever wonder how the movie “Get Out” was possible to produce on such a low budget? Show your students the multiple, somewhat-subtle examples of Microsoft’s product placement marketing throughout the film.
- Razors and other shaving products certainly aren’t the most attractive of items, but Dollar Shave Club used a content marketing strategy that absolutely nailed it in order to launch its new brand in 2011. From a launch video with the title “Our Blades Are F--king Great” to the “Bathroom Minutes” newsletter that they include with their packages, Dollar Shave Club has created an easily recognizable brand, despite its focus on a commonplace product.
Show Them the Money, Literally
The marketing industry is no doubt a massive one, but perhaps students aren’t aware of just how big it is. The marketing industry has been constantly growing, with the United States on track to spend close to 200 billion dollars on marketing in 2019 alone. That’s no doubt an impressive number, but it can be tough for a student to mathematically interpret. Enlighten your students through illustration: “That boils down to about 300,000 of the new iPhone 11 Pros” or “That’s the same as getting a $5 coffee drink every day for 60,000,000 days.”
Explain the Dynamic Nature of the Field
At its core, the field of marketing requires keeping up with the times, while also reacting to changes in industries, cultures, and viewpoints. Students who crave a career that is fun and engaging will be especially drawn to marketing, and for good reason.
While other industries can be monotonous in nature, marketing is certainly not known to be. With this basic knowledge in mind, students can quickly jump into the industry and start learning valuable on-the-job skills.
Furthermore, as the world inevitably changes, the marketing field will, too. Every new iPhone requires a change in how email marketing campaigns are displayed. Every passing Black Friday promotion requires a new and exciting way for businesses to market their products to consumers. Every new political campaign requires a smart social media marketing campaign. Every change in the world truly triggers a change in the marketing field.
Prove That All Industries Need It
The drawback of other industries is actually the strong suit of the marketing industry. While pursuing a career in finance might pigeonhole you into that particular sector, a career in marketing enables you to expand into a wide variety of industries.
Companies in all industries need marketers, meaning that you can easily shift from one to the other while still retaining your core skill set. Marketing also makes it possible for students to contribute to competitive industries such as art and sports without running the risks associated with being an artist or athlete. Love art but don’t want to bank on it full-time? Consider a marketing job for an art gallery! Alternatively, love numbers but don’t want to commit to the taxing CPA exams? A career on the marketing team for an accounting firm could be the perfect place for you. No matter what industry or trend a student identifies with, marketing will touch it one way or another.
When you present some cold, hard facts about the marketing industry, examples of how a career in it can change with every passing week, and how marketing wins and losses are well-known in the modern world, you’ll have students itching to explore the industry in no time.
Andrew Loos is the CEO of Attack! Marketing, and the co-author of Applied Marketing, with Daniel Padgett. To learn more about the book, click the link above.
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