Empowering tomorrow's marketers: Digital Marketing class partners with Samsung for real-world campaign challenge

In Semester Two 2023, students in the University of Auckland Business School’s MKTG 304 Digital Marketing class had the chance to win one of the trendiest phones to hit the market: the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5.

MKTG 304 Digital Marketing tutorial class

The 304 course partnered with Samsung New Zealand to set students a real-world challenge as part of their assessment: working in teams, they were tasked with creating comprehensive digital marketing campaign proposals for the recently launched Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5. As well as providing students with a unique opportunity to apply the skills they had learned within a real-life context, the collaboration came with an appealing potential payoff: the top three proposals would win each member of the teams their own Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5.

The MKTG 304 course introduces the theory and practice of digital marketing, exploring essential areas like digital analytics, social media, content, and email marketing, digital advertising and marketing automation. It examines how companies can connect with customers and establish trust using both existing and new digital marketing platforms. The course’s collaboration with Samsung NZ enhanced the student experience by mirroring industry settings, amplifying practical skills and fostering learning opportunities. “By working with Samsung NZ on their latest product, we aimed to provide students with insights into industry trends and the opportunity to apply their knowledge to a real marketing campaign,” explained course lecturer Inna Piven.

In other words, this project wasn't just an ordinary assignment – it was an exciting challenge which gave students a hands-on opportunity to develop practical skills for their future careers. By creating the digital marketing proposals, they learned how to blend traditional strategies with cutting-edge technology, adapting to the ever-changing digital landscape.

Team 10 taking home their prize phones
From left: Lecturer Inna Piven, Team 10 with their Flip 5's, and co-teacher Shahper Richter

The project began with teams of five students diving into a thorough social media audit for Samsung NZ. They identified the areas essential for campaign implementation, creatively utilising smartphones to explore various features for crafting engaging content. Upon completing their digital audits, supported by educational partners HubSpot and Semrush, the teams transitioned from their classroom setting to two of the University’s unique collaborative spaces, Te Ahi Hangarau Technology Hub and Unleash Space.

Half of the class utilised Te Ahi Hangarau Technology Hub’s learning space powered by 5G and equipped with Virtual Reality headsets, smart home IoT devices, 3D Printers, handsets, tablets and laptops. Simultaneously, the other half worked in the Unleash Space, where they had access to the same resources to engage with AI video avatar tools. At both Te Ahi Hangarau and the Unleash Space, students employed innovative methods to craft detailed buyer personas, showcasing their adeptness in applying classroom theories to real-world scenarios.

Students were excited to apply the skills they had learned during the semester to a real-world situation: “This course has helped me gain real-life skills through the opportunity to work with an actual client and solve real challenges that a company is currently navigating,” enthused a student from one of the winning teams.

Finally, the groups handed in their marketing campaign proposals to be assessed by Inna and Francois du Plessis, the Digital Marketing Manager at Samsung NZ. Inna graded the proposals separately, while Francois picked the top three groups that he felt had delivered outstanding work and were worthy of winning the exciting prize. The winning teams clearly stood out, as both Francois and Inna independently selected the same teams as their top three. Francois presented the winners with their new Galaxy Z Flip 5 smartphones, acknowledging their exceptional efforts: “Each group put a lot of work into their proposed plans, and I was really impressed with the level of detail and insight.”

Another group taking home Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5's
Team 11 and their new Flip 5's

By successfully conducting digital audits, exploring the Galaxy Z Flip 5 features, and developing ideas for an online community, students gained a range of transferrable skills, explained Inna. “These included digital marketing strategy development, data analysis, content creation, and the integration of AI tools in marketing.”

Just as importantly, the marketing campaign proposals were hugely successful for Samsung NZ, as the campaigns enabled them to develop a deeper understanding of the Gen Z demographic: “We gathered an immense amount of information on how to target the Gen Z market and gained knowledge on what is important to the demographic,” observed Francois as he reflected on the positive outcomes of the collaboration.

The collaboration between MKTG 304 and Samsung NZ not only highlighted the Business School’s focus on the integration of classroom learning with practical application, but also underscored the potential of students to create impactful marketing campaigns. It was a journey that showcased the prowess of budding marketers and the rewarding nature of experiential learning. Both the collaboration and the course content in general provided students with a realistic glimpse into the marketing industry: “Out of all the marketing courses I’ve taken, I’ve certainly learnt the most from MKTG 304,” reflected one student. “The content is very applicable and touches on a broad range of topics. The nature of the coursework also mirrors what would be done in industry, which is a valuable experience.”

Ultimately, the success of this collaboration stands as a testament to the Business School’s commitment to providing immersive learning experiences, fostering the next generation of adept digital marketers ready to tackle real-world challenges. Francois, for one, can’t wait to do it again: “It was an awesome experience and I’m looking forward to our next collaboration.”