Dressed in their finest business attire, four marketing students at Temple University’s Fox School of Business navigated a comprehensive, 25-minute digital marketing strategy.
They delivered a high-impact presentation with professional-grade recommendations for the future of a business. A real business. Not only had they earned the applause of their classmates, but also the handshakes of their client. A real client.
For this assignment, the students enrolled in Dr. Susan Mudambi’s three-credit Digital Marketing course put aside their notepads and textbooks. Mudambi’s course doubles as a platform for experiential learning. Each semester, her students form small teams and work as marketing consultants who deliver a final report at little to no charge for their clients in the Philadelphia region.
“The course gives the students a good foundation on theories and techniques, but the eye-opening experience is the rewarding challenge of applying these principles to help a business become more successful,” Mudambi said.
Mudambi’s Digital Marketing course, since 2011, has provided consulting reports to 5 to 10 clients every semester – from clothiers and food vendors to car dealerships, dentists, and building contractors. Through a newly forged partnership with Temple’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Fall 2016, her students’ work benefited seven SBDC clients, as well as 13 other local businesses.
“When I started out, the students sometimes had to search to find an established business with which to work,” she said, “but increasingly, the clients are contacting me to ask for help. I really value the partnership with SBDC.”
The students operate under the banner of 5th Floor Analytics. (The Fox School’s Marketing and Supply Chain Management department is housed on the fifth floor of Alter Hall.) The group focuses on analyzing and creating digital value for the participating clients, providing expertise in Google AdWords and Google Analytics, as well as through popular social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The students also provide suggestions on email campaigns and the redesign of customers’ existing websites.
Mudambi welcomed the class’ clients to Alter Hall to hear the students deliver their digital strategy presentations. The students assessed areas that required immediate improvement, and implemented strategies to improve brand awareness, brand value, and digital reach. They offered immediate calls to action for the target audiences of each company, helped the client develop a uniform image and voice across all media, and supplied a marketing plan for the next 90 days.
Afterward, Alvin Little could hardly contain himself. The founder of Philadelphia-based travel company Group Cruises & Great Escapes excitedly walked to the front of the classroom to shake hands with each student who provided digital marketing consultancy.
“I realized a short while ago that, in order to grow my business, I needed a digital marketing strategy,” Little said, “and because my company is a part of the SBDC program, I had access to students could help me get this endeavor off the ground. I needed to add web traffic for my business. If you’re not properly utilizing means of digital marketing or social media, you’re not reaching your clientele. I am grateful for the work of these students, because it can be expensive to grow in this capacity.”
Margarita Faykina, one of the students assigned to Little’s company, said she and her classmates successfully increased brand awareness through social media, and incorporated customer testimonials into Little’s website to “improve relationships with existing customers, and to reach new ones.”
“It’s truly been a great experience to work with Mr. Little,” said Faykina, a senior Marketing major. “This has been a great learning experience, to see our input put forth, to help deliver a great product.”
The Fox School is renowned for providing its students with experiential learning opportunities. At the graduate level, the Fox Management Consulting (Fox MC) practice allows Fox MBA students a platform upon which to apply, integrate, and demonstrate business training by delivering strategic solutions to paying clients. For the clients, who stem from the private, public, and social sectors both locally and globally, Fox MC offers unmatched cost-effective, research-based consulting.
Mudambi’s Digital Marketing course has accomplished a similar outcome for marketing students at the undergraduate level – and at little to no expense for the client.
“Digital marketing analytics is a hot area, and our students are developing solid analytical skills through this course,” Mudambi said. “In addition, employers need people they can trust to interface with clients. The 5th Floor Analytics consulting experience opens many doors for Fox students.
“I often hear back from students who tell me that talking in a job interview about this experience got them their dream job. That makes my day. And I love it when former students return to speak to my classes about their successes. They inspire us all, and keep it real.”
–Christopher A. Vito