Marketing in the Digital Age: News Round-Up (week ending Jul 27, 2018)


Colleges using targeted marketing, Facebook drops big, and the $60B company you probably have never heard of (yet). 

Colleges Turn to Corporate Marketing Playbook

Summary: To recruit new students, colleges have turned to consumer-driven marketing targeted at adults and graduate studies (a market for which there isn't as much data as high school surest, where info about students are purchased through standardized test companies). Houston Baptist University found room research that their students had a large interested in recreational boating and fishing.  Using this, they bought targeted ads on Facebook featuring a woman on a boat to show potential applicants that they can still have a social life while pursuing a higher degree.  

Opinion: First, I didn't know data about me from high school was being sold to universities to push schools on me.  With high school students being under 18 for the bulk of the time while enrolled, it feels like there should be more explicit parental consent to have this data sold off.  Second, I think education can and should take more from corporate learnings to apply to their own marketing. It's already been proven in those markets, so I don't think there is a need to reinvent the wheel.  Higher education is still something that needs to be purchased like a good, so it can be marketed the same (to an extent).  

Facebook Loses $120B in Market Cap

Summary: Facebook's market cap fell $120B after its earning call yesterday. This was the single biggest drop in Wall Street history.  Why? Amongst large privacy concerns, Facebook also saw its slowest growth rate ever, user count shrank in Europe and stayed flat in US and Canada, revenue growth would decelerate, and shifting to Stories may (or may not, they don't know) have an impact on advertising.

Opinion: Who do you know that's not on Facebook?  A slowed user growth is inevitable because there are only so many people who would sign up for a platform.  I do also applaud the company for being transparent with the challenges they are facing amongst a shift to Stories and privacy.  There are many public companies, including ones I have seen firsthand, that dress up the bad news instead of addressing it head-on.  

Pinduoduo, China's Latest E-Commerce Force

Summary: PInduoduo just IPOd on the US market raising $1.6B at a $60B valuation.  It is an e-commerce site based in China that allows shoppers not only to shop for their products like home appliances to groceries, but adds a social component to purchases.  Users can invite their contacts on WeChat and QQ to form a "shopping team" to get a lower price for their purchase.  It keeps users engaged as well through coupons and free products.  Its acquisition costs have been low for these reasons and it keeps people coming back to score deals with your friends.  

Opinion: I haven't used this app and don't speak Mandarin to translate it, so I can't speak to it firsthand.  From what I have read, I think it would be fun to shop like this for awhile.  After some time, the novelty of finding the best deal for your friends would wear off quickly for me.  But, maybe that's the method to get people onto the site.  The other free deals and incentives could make it worthwhile to stay.  

Sipra Thakur

Sipra Thakur founded her own digital marketing consulting company, One Thousand Suns.  She has partnered with an official Facebook agency to offer complementary digital marketing services for multiple clients.  Her ability to spin-off on her own has been prompted by her 13+ digital experience.  Prior to this, Sipra headed up the digital marketing department at IMAX, where she worked with her team to create integrated marketing campaigns, identify new areas of growth, and establish strategic partnerships to increases avenues of revenue and marketing impressions.