Almost twenty years ago I graduated from Bentley University. It was my first choice school and one that I was told I’d never get into by my guidance counselor, so graduation was a very proud moment for me and my family.
Last week, I returned to Bentley. This time though, I was on the other side of the classroom teaching my first class an Adjunct Professor in Marketing.
I wrote about this on the HubSpot blog already, but wanted to share a more personal post about it as well here.
I've taught classes online for Lynda.com, CreativeLive and USF, but have always dreamed of teaching in a classroom. Being able to see the faces of my students and having a direct relationship with them to make sure they understand what they need to learn.
Finally, I had my chance and can't wait to see where it goes from here.
The course I’m teaching this semester is MK361 eMarketing.
It is a marketing elective, so I knew there would be mostly marketing majors taking it, but because of Bentley’s well-rounded business teaching approach I also expected other majors.
My wife giggled at my nerves by reminding me, “You get on stages around the world in front of thousands of people every year and you are letting 35 students worry you?”
It was a good reminder, but it also is very different to be teaching the next generation of business professionals and knowing that if you don’t teach them properly, they might never learn the right way to do things.
That is a whole different kind of pressure than giving a keynote speech to inspire a conference full of people.
So how am I approaching the class?
My approach is that I want to use as many real life examples as possible. Making them memorize a bunch of terms only to check the right box on a test is not how I want them to learn.
I’ve set up a Tumblr account so that throughout the week I can clip relevant news. We’ll spend the first bit of each class discussing what I shared over the week. I fully expect this to sometimes take only ten to fifteen minutes, but others it could consume the first half of the class.
Current events is something that students discuss in social studies classes, but in reality it should be a part of all classes. I believe students can learn more from life rather than only books.
We are also going to be using Content Rules as the textbook for the class. How could I really choose anything else? :)
For our first class, I wanted to get a baseline knowledge of where we were starting from so that I could build the class from there.
We went around the room and everyone shared who they were, their major, what they were hoping to do after graduation and why they chose to take this class.
The most common answer to the final question was some variation of “because this is where all marketing is heading and I want to make sure I understand it.”
Exactly what I was hoping to hear!
As expected, it was mainly marketing majors, but there are also accounting, finance, CIS and a few other majors there as well.
We spent the first half of class walking through various current marketing campaigns to get them thinking about the landscape of Internet Marketing. I wanted them to get a feel for the variety that is out there and how different platforms are being used.
I showed them the Nike+ personalized videos to showcase reimagining your content and one way to make data more interesting.
Real time marketing wasn’t something they were familiar with and I used this as an opportunity to showcase brands not thinking before jumping into this pool with the ill conceived tweet from the Seattle Seahawks to “celebrate” this week’s holiday.
There also was a long conversation about the worth of running commercials during the Super Bowl. I threw them a curveball when I shared with them that YouTube will be hosting their own halftime show and how online media is shaking the ground that television networks are based on.
Also, just before class started I received my first pitch from a brand highlighting their Super Bowl commercial so I showed it to the class. Dove Men+Care’s #RealStrength campaign gave me the opportunity to talk about creating emotional responses with marketing and how not playing into stereotypes around any group of people (in this case men and dads) is a good approach.
To further test the foundation of their knowledge and what areas the class would need to focus on, we stepped through setting up the online footprint for a new brand.
The class chose to market hats and we began stepping through all the platforms, social networks and technologies that they thought we might be able to use to market our new hat company.
They started with setting up a website and went from there. No one suggested that the company needed a blog and soon we were jumping to the different social networks.
As you’d expect they discussed posting lifestyle images to Instagram and Facebook. They wanted to use Twitter for customer service and to retweet content created by fans. It was exciting to hear them talk about using Polyvore and Pinterest to appeal to fashion influencers. We even had one student go out on a limb on a unique use of Tinder with models wearing our hats to raise awareness.
All-in-all I’m very excited about the class. The students understand the social landscape, but haven’t had many reasons to think about them from a marketing angle before.
This means I’ve got a lot of work to do, but that is what a Professors job is. To teach students the needed skills and then see what they’ve learned by putting that knowledge to practical use.
This is going to be a fun first semester teaching and I hope you enjoy me sharing my live thoughts with you.
The blizzard got in the way of this week's class and of course we'll be discussing the marketing tactics used by brands around the Super Bowl this weekend. Hope they didn't mind their homework being to watch the big game.
Bentley played a big role in shaping my future and I love being able to give back by helping them shape the future of a new generation of business students.
Plus, Professor Chapman has a great ring to it.