Marketing Innovation and Free Thinking Marketing

This summer I taught an intensive marketing class at Columbia University where the students were required to create a business idea and then design an integrated marketing campaign to promote it. At the end of the course, each group competed to see who had the most compelling marketing campaign to attract new business.

The students were surprisingly quick to write compelling messaging, design ads, create videos, prepare brochures, write sales scripting, design a website and develop social media profiles. And I do mean quick, as well as exceptional in their execution. They acted with a sense of freedom to create ideas and fully develop them.

Belief-filled, yet without business experience, they created innovative ideas. Most businesses would be well served to act like these students and create marketing messaging and strategies without fear that they would never work – but instead the innocent belief that they could. Sometimes our “experience” gets in the way and we view new ideas with cynicism or skepticism rather than positivity and confidence that they could work.

The students then had to present their fully formed campaigns to the rest of the class and the judges. These incredibly smart and savvy students needed to listen and respond to the critical reviews of experts and their peers. And, they responded with flying colors. They had passion, ideas, and conviction that we all need (some more than others) for ourselves and for the health of our businesses.

It was challenging for the students, and inspiring for me. They had the motivation to create compelling marketing, implement, and be scrutinized. And they acted with the freedom to create and develop.

It’s possible that I learned more from the students this summer than they learned from me. And for that I’m grateful. How about you, could your business benefit from the bold and confident approach these students took?

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