Learning from experts and applying it to a startup: Design thinking as part of Strategic Digital Marketing

24 May 2018

In April, the University of Auckland Graduate School of Management Business Masters students studying Strategic Digital Marketing got the chance to work with a top global digital agency. In a real-world design thinking workshop, their brief was to help a startup social platform to develop its digital strategy to engage with audiences in Asia.

Held at the Business School and the Unleash Space, the University of Auckland’s innovation hub, Matt Townsend, Strategy Director of AKQA Auckland donated his time to work with the students to act as marketing consultants for the brand new social networking site for students, BlackCap.

The workshop was ambitious challenging the students to design the digital customer journey for Blackcap in India and China, two key growth markets for the platform. The process required them to use creative problem solving skills mapping the customer journey and prototyping each journeyfor the best user experience (UX) for the website and some of the other digital touch-points. Matt guided them through the process using a lean prototyping and UX fundamentals technique.

“The workshops gave the students an in-depth insight into design-led thinking and digital journey mapping with a genuine client. I was really impressed by how engaged they were“, said Julia Fehrer, lead for the Strategic Digital Marketing course. This engagement resulted in very positive feedback from the students. Elise Meng commented: “Hand-in-hand training to follow your target customers’ journey, practical and inspiring, totally blew my mind how systematically and experimentally we went through the process”.

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Pictured, left to right: Matt Townsend, Strategy Director of AKQA Auckland. Julia Fehrer, Lecturer in Digital Marketing. Jesse Candy, Business Development and Research at BlackCap working with the students.
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Students creating digital ‘personas’ to guide the user experience.

Riena Panggarahitha added: “I wasn’t sure about the practical way of doing digital marketing, but after the workshops I now understand the steps, how to plan digital campaigns and manage my channels in light of the customers’ needs”.

BlackCap added, “The students’ insights and feedback validated BlackCap’s current approach in its customer segments, each with their own unique pain points. We are thrilled that AKQA Auckland, an outstanding ideas and innovation company, could work with the students to design the digital customer journey for BlackCap. Big thanks also to the University of Auckland Graduate School of Management for providing BlackCap with this rich customer feedback opportunity”, Danielle Mathiesen, Founder and CEO.

This dedicated digital marketing course was developed by the University of Auckland to address the significant shift to a digitally focused world. The practical experience, with the added focus of delivering results for a real client, provides the students with experiential learning they can quote in interviews and on their CVs.

The University of Auckland Business School recognises that companies and institutions are facing a very different digital future which requires future leaders and managers to have a full understanding of the digital marketing toolkit such as SEO, CRM, social media, analytics and programmatic advertising. During the remainder of the 10 week Business Masters course additional industry experts will be invited to contribute to the student’s learning by sharing their knowledge and experience.

The Master of Marketing is an 18-month coursework masters degree programme for business or non-business graduates seeking to gain an edge in a competitive and fast moving business world.