Last week, I had the privilege of presenting to a group of MBA and business students at the School of Management at Binghamton University, NY (also my alma mater). The class is simply titled ‘e-Business,’ and taught by Dr. Surinder Kahai - who very graciously organized this event, where I presented on the topic of “Marketing in a Digital Age.”
The majority of the students majored in Information Systems, Marketing, Leadership, and Finance/Accounting.
I had a phenomenal time presenting to these brilliant students, who seemed quite engaged, as was evident with the intelligent questions that regularly punctuated my delivery. Many of the audience members were keenly interested in asking questions of me, of TechWeb, and the innovative programs we do, and how we continually and uniquely drive value to leaders in the business technology space.
- This audience does not like being sold to aggressively. Everyone agreed that content is what they are most interested in, and that the conversion or opt-in will happen if content is sufficiently compelling and descriptions are accurate, concise, and engaging.
- Some students were perturbed by websites that seem to capture user information, sometimes in a concealed, almost mysterious fashion. Many said that they perhaps didn’t mind volunteering information - but it should be an open, direct request for such data, and that sites should stop taking advantage of the naivete’ of users.
- We knew it already, but to re-iterate - this audience spends a significant amount of time in the social media universe: Twitter, LinkedIn, You Tube, Facebook.
- I had a lot of questions concerning my daily workflow, how I perform within a team, and what compromises I may have had to make when working in a team for the larger interest of the group. Like most stellar MBA curriculums across the nation, Binghamton too has a team-based MBA program. The students were quite curious to learn of the team dynamic in the real world. Perhaps working in a team in school was taking its toll on them.
- A student wondered if HR folk actually Google candidates and if his guitar performances on You Tube would impact his impression on a prospective employer negatively.
The discourse was full of passion and several students asked me how they could write better, and wanted to know the formula to writing well - to writing for engagement. And I gave them my cherished secret: keep writing… and reading.
My expectation, or hope, was to open their minds to the exciting field of digital marketing. But, in the end, I felt it was perhaps I who gained the most in the process, by learning a few things from business students about user motivations in the digital space.