MKTG 555 was the first business course I have taken since economics in high school 8 years ago. Heading into the class, I was anxious that my lack of a prior knowledge base would make the material or concepts difficult for me to understand and possibly implement later on. However, the way the class was structured helped me ease into the material and get past that obstacle. The readings provided the background knowledge I was lacking, while the guest speakers provided real world experience; Andy did a great job of tying these two varying information sources together during his lectures. I learned a plethora of new material over the course of the quarter, but the lessons I found most important were the importance of networking and social media. I always figured that a strong web presence was earned from customer perception and acceptance into the marketplace, but now I know that it is a body of work most companies strive to maintain through blogging and establishing/providing thought leadership. Prior to the class, I was really opposed to integrating social networking, which I used to view as a purely social and non-professional media, but I soon came to realize that Twitter and Facebook are valuable tool-sets when used or analyzed efficiently. It seemed to be a common theme amongst all the class visitors that they wished they had started building a web presence earlier in their career or prior to the inception of their company.
I also learned that pivoting early on in a start-up should always be considered depending on feedback received, and that you should consider the opinions of the market and your customers even if they contrast with your original ideas and goals. Networking is still as important in the current market despite the widespread integration of technology, and you need to actively seek out your customers in order to be successful.
One company that I first heard about and actually started using this quarter was DealAngel. DealAngel is a search engine that allows travelers to identify “real deals” through their use of data analytics. They identify the best rate based on how all the hotels in the market are priced each day, but they rate the hotel , calculating the fair market rate and determining if the hotel is a “good deal”, “okay deal”, or “overpriced deal.” I saved a considerable sum of money with them for one trip I plan on taking, and will most likely continue to use their services in the future.