Teaching Interest

Digital Marketing Strategy

by John A. Deighton


When the tools of marketing change, strategies change too. The focus of this course is on firms trying to navigate the transition from offline to online market-making and strategy development. Our concern is primarily with corporations that have products and services to sell, and secondarily with the challenges of developing the tools of digital marketing.

Digital media, and in particular social media like Youtube, Facebook, Blogs, and Twitter, represent radically new tools for reaching customers, collaborating with them, building relationships, and spreading ideas virally. Paid search advertising tools like Google's Adsense make "free to consumer" a strategic option. Digital distribution channels change the relationship between manufacturers and retailers, and destabilize entire industry ecosystems, This course examines how pioneering corporations are using these tools to build digital marketing and Web branding strategies for large companies and small, and the course identifies techniques and frameworks to generalize from these pioneering practices.

The course teaches how to use search engine marketing, social media display advertising, and mobile display advertising, with the help of a hands-on class project in which real funds are spent to achieve in-market results. Next it uses cases on viral propagation to teach some of the mechanics by which social media transmit and create persuasive content. Third, the course explores how marketing companies adopt some of the methods of digital age publishers to disintermediate traditional publishers and take content directly to their customers and prospects.

The career focus of students taking the course is likely to include both people with an interest in Web-based entrepreneurship, but also people interested in general consumer marketing and general management careers. Given the way marketing media are evolving and patterns of consumer engagement with media are changing, our goal as a class will be to anticipate trends that, while novel and relatively unexplored today, will be mainstream in the next decade.