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SZTU Business School Students Are Competing for a Real-Life Marketing Internship Opportunity at NIO Inc. as Part of Their Digital Marketing Course!

Date:Apr 11, 2023 09:14Source: ClickTimes:

Dr. Markus Rach, an associate professor at SZTU has established a partnership with the Chinese automotive startup, NIO Inc., to provide Business School marketing students a real-life learning opportunity and the chance to secure an internship opportunity in NIO’s marketing department.

Marketing has much evolved since Philip Kotler, the father of modern marketing, has shaped it from a business function to a scientific discipline. For years, students have learned about marketing strategy, the 4Ps, positioning, segmentation and of course the epiphany of marketing: building customer loyalty. However, marketing has much evolved since the father of modern marketing published the first edition of marketing management in the 1980s. Marketing has evolved into an application science. An application science shaped by modern technology, which gravely changed the brand to consumer interaction. Modern computing, the Internet, the mobile phone, apps, social media, algorithmic commerce and now AI shape the life and behavior of humans in ever faster cycles. Where consumer looked in shopping windows or went to test products years ago in retail, they might choose to do a virtual fashion try-on at home, sport shoes or a watch using AR, dive into the metaverse for a full virtual shopping and consumption experience, or switch between various screens before even having any physical contact with a brand.

Thus, marketing and marketers need to acquire new skills and capabilities to keep up with the changing behavior of modern consumers. Marketers need to embrace new technologies to reshape the brand to marketplace interaction, while continuing to master the basics of marketing, consumer behavior and communication. A rate race of epic proportions has begun between technology dissemination cycles, evolving consumer behavior and brand actions.

Application marketing scientists, like Dr. Markus Rach understand, that whilst fundamentals remain in place, some long taught marketing concepts, methods and frameworks start to lose application relevancy. Marketing moves from basic segmentation to the segment of one, from positioning to salience, from loyalty to returning customers, from f2f sales to digital first touchpoint marketing, from KOLs to virtual humans, from human content creation to a monthly AI subscription, valued at RMB 150.

To account for these changes, SZTU Business School students experience a change in both the delivery and content of their marketing curriculum. Application science, combined with the fundamental basics of marketing form the cornerstone of the evolving marketing curriculum. Real-life learning opportunities foster the understanding of learnt materials and get students to embrace true and modern marketing challenges first-hand.

The current digital marketing course of Dr. Markus Rach is amongst the first to do so. As part of the digital marketing course, students must work on and a real-life project for NIO Inc. The challenge: to increase brand awareness, sentiment, and purchase intent for NIO’s sporty, sleek, and hip ET5.

To kick the project off, the class of over 50 students and Dr. Markus Rach met NIO executives at one of the five NIO houses in Shenzhen. This visit introduced students to the brand, products and of course the challenge and expectations NIO executives set for students to complete. Students were able to interact with the NIO executives, learn much about the brand architecture and current challenges, before ample time was provided to touch, feel, and try NIO’s flagship products. The many smiling faces suggest, the NIO visit was a homerun for both the brand, the students and SZTU.

According to Dr. Markus Rach, students had the chance to engage with the brand NIO and its products on a much deeper level, than any paper-based case study could ever provide. Senses were activated and consumer insights generated. Students have now the reminder of the semester to research, conceptualize and design a campaign that not only ticks the relevant boxes of the brand brief, but literally lifts the NIO executives out of their seat. The stakes are high, not just to achieve outstanding academic performance, but to also score an internship at NIO, which is awarded to the best team performance as judged by the NIO executives during final project presentations. To raise the stakes even higher, the winning team will be given the chance and budget to implement their campaign in real life.

Real-life learning cannot become more real than this. This project puts SZTU students in the shoes of a marketing manager, with both the pressure and reward that the job brings with it. Speaking of rewards, the best team will not only be invited to work for NIO and executive their project but will also be invited to join NIO on a very exclusive brand experience, called NIO summer. A weekend getaway of epic proportions, normally only available to an exclusive circle of NIO car owners.

Stay tuned to follow this project and to see how SZTU Business School students exhibit not only high-level analytical skills, but also creativity and business demeanor. Updates on this project will be provided regularly.

For more information on the project, contact Associate Professor Dr. Markus Rach on WeChat at “markus_rach”.

Text: Markus Rach

Picture: NIO, Markus Rach