On SAGE Insight: The Matchmaking Activity: An Experiential Learning Exercise on Influencer Marketing for the Digital Marketing Classroom

From Journal of Marketing Education

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Influencer marketing is an emerging technological disruptor for marketing across a wide range of industries. Some brands in this industry have experienced “overnight success” by paying influencers (e.g., celebrities) to promote their products through social media platforms such as Instagram. This tactic, commonly referred to as “influencer marketing,” is a rapidly growing trend in the realm of social media marketing. With a growing number of social media users, including Instagram users, it is understandable that marketers may have a challenge identifying the right influencers to match with their brands for campaigns. While a number of companies and algorithms with the ability to match brands with influencers exist, there is still some ambiguity regarding how marketers should choose an influencer who best aligns with target audiences.

To assess the effectiveness of the Matchmaking Activity, the researchers in this study conducted the exercise with 73 students in three digital marketing classes at two mid-sized universities in the southeastern region of the United States. To evaluate the impact of the exercise, students were asked to complete a reflection survey immediately after participating in the Matchmaking Activity.

To aid marketing educators in incorporating the topic of influencer marketing into their courses, a detailed description of an experiential learning activity that can be used in a variety of settings is provided. The activity incorporates each mode of the experiential learning process via a semistructured activity, with the result of students possessing the perceived confidence needed to apply the concepts learned in practice. The activity provides students with a concrete experience in the form of a role-play exercise in which they act as decision makers for a company.

Abstract

Influencer marketing is an emerging technological disruptor for marketing across a wide range of industries. This tactic allows companies to promote products in a more organic, trust-affirming manner compared with other forms of paid advertising. As the use of influencer marketing is rapidly growing, marketing educators have a unique opportunity to prepare students to perform this in-demand marketing skill. This article outlines a classroom exercise, called the Matchmaking Activity, which introduces the concept of influencer marketing, provides hands-on experience, and encourages critical thinking to solve a simulated marketing dilemma. The end goal is for students to gain confidence that can be applied to a real-world marketing environment. To assess the effectiveness of the Matchmaking Activity, the exercise was conducted with students in digital marketing classes. Based on findings from a post-activity reflection survey completed by students, the Matchmaking Activity results in the achievement of several desirable learning outcomes. Ideas for adapting this exercise fo r use in a variety of other marketing courses are also provided.

Read the article in full here

Article details
The Matchmaking Activity: An Experiential Learning Exercise on Influencer Marketing for the Digital Marketing Classroom
April Kemp, Elizabeth Randon McDougal, Holly Syrdal
First Published October 2, 2018 Research Article
DOI: 10.1177/0273475318803415
From Journal of Marketing Education




     
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