The daily struggle for all businesses is bringing in new clients and partners without utilizing all the disposable time, money and efforts on that. Ok, maybe it’s easier for some than for others – Google probably doesn’t worry about Marketing as much as the new coffee shop next door does but the reasons why are pretty obvious in this case.
However, at a new tech venture that invests in developing its solutions and receiving professional help to grow the business from the ground up, not many resources get assigned to Marketing so being creative and focusing on getting organic inbound interest at the least possible cost is essential.
So, let’s assume that your “Marketing Department” is made up of only 1 person. Or maybe no marketing people at all… Fear not. That’s all you need for the moment – wait 2 minutes (the time it’ll take you to read this article), make a few phone calls and soon you’ll have what you need.
The main idea here is seems so obvious that you won’t think to thank me, yet so rarely implemented that you probably will when you try it out. Nonetheless, I can’t take any of the credit: shout-out to London South Bank University’s marketing course team, who taught excellence by example. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Here we go:
Engage with Universities
It’s a win-win situation. In the UK these are called “live case studies”. Unofficially, this means outsourcing your challenges to the young and hungry to prove themselves students in the form of a mini-competition on who has the best ideas, presentation skills and the desire to win a (say) 3-month internship as (or part of) your Marketing department. Let’s consider everything:
Reach out to Marketing professors at a university of your choice – maybe even several universities if you have the time and energy to coordinate everything, otherwise keep it simple. ‘Sell’ it as a case study – you write up the situation (circumstances, challenge and available resources), you present it at an assembly of all the participating classes, you can be reached through the professor(s) in charge of the project within the university if any further questions arise and you meet with everyone again on the day of presentations. Arrange it with final year students and Master’s degree students, so that there is even more healthy competition – in the end 1 group of each degree will win and then amongst themselves in the group, they will pick the person most deserving of the prize. This way every team member will work their hardest and will show their full range of skills. The challenge itself doesn’t have to be very original – it could be that you want to launch a Christmas campaign with a minimum budget, or want to find the right partners, or want a strategy for expanding the business abroad. Of course, during the presentation you will take notes and gather all the best ideas, and choose the groups you consider most capable of putting said strategies into action.
Benefits for the university:
Especially in Marketing degrees theory usually sounds too obvious so case studies are a central learning resource, although most case studies are taken out of some 2007 textbook. Yes, at the end of class it is explained what that huge international company actually did and how that impacted them but by the next session this “study” is long forgotten. This is because the students don’t actually get involved with the problem or with its solution. In hypothetical situations with unlimited funds, even Granny knows what advice to give, but actually researching and having to implement that strategy really gets you into the game. For the university, including “live case studies with real companies” as part of the degree offering could boost prospects, attendance and engagement, which leads to happier students – the final customer of that institution.
Benefits for the students:
For an economy like Spain’s where work offered is less than work demanded, education is no longer enough to guarantee a position and where experience is the new requirement, a live case study + an internship (integrated with their studies) are a great opportunity to learn and practice. Even if it is an unpaid internship, a good recommendation letter at the end is usually enough motivation for these young future professionals. After all, everything they do during their degree aims to enhance their CV and give them something to discuss at job interviews later.
Benefits for your company:
- During the competition stage, you increase brand awareness amongst young future professionals and hopefully become their top-of-mind brand in your sector.
- You make connections that could benefit both sides in the future. At the end of the project, encourage everyone to add you on LinkedIn – your network matters.
- You get motivated, ambitious temporary (or not – you might decide to hire them later) employees to implement their ideas, making them feel important and emotionally linked to the company and its success.
- You can talk about this on your website – a socially responsible brand that puts its faith in the new, tech-savvy generation.
At London South Bank University during my Bachelor’s in Marketing (2013-2016) we worked on several live case studies – a marketing communications campaign for the London Metropolitan Police, a marketing research project for the Southwark Borough Council, a digital marketing campaign for JewelleryBox.co.uk., a corporate presentation video for BDP Architecture and a market entry (into the UK) research project for the Dr. Pierre Ricaud brand.
If you want to know more, download free our Executive Summary: "The journey of a new venture".
So if your start-up can afford more than university students, feel free to write us (say Emilia sends you).Thank you for your attention and good luck in all you do.
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