Building Global Audiences
In the Spring 2017 semester, I took I&E 250: Building Global Audiences with Aaron Dinin. I chose this course as an intro to the certificate and because of my past experience with social media—a strategist for DukeStudents, the Communications Chair for Duke Business Oriented Women, and several high school endeavors. I was curious to see how a class would approach building community, and was drawn in by the first few days. We were creating a hypothetical product and aiming to raise real money for it. I love brands and the power they have, and this class put it to the test. We were selling an idea with real marketing tactics, all applied to our customer acquisition funnel.
The class was an evolving learning process, with readings and conversations based on recent articles we each found. Once we picked a product—bottled Boba tea, later called Byoba—we created social media profiles, on-campus events, and a Kickstarter page. Unfortunately, the fast nature of the product selection did not allow us to fully evaluate the needs of our population. However, we researched similar food solutions and prior Kickstarter successes to inform our project.
Ultimately, we produced a promotional video, a full Kickstarter page with a product budget, conducted experiential marketing with Boba sales at the West Campus bus stop, and raised $246.
Professor Dinin made it clear at the beginning of the course that we would not meet our funding goal (or even come close). Our mission was not to raise the full $15000, but to understand what does draw people to a product and how to build audiences that can be nurtured throughout a sales funnel. This point allowed for some of my biggest takeaways from the class:
- Building an audience for a new product is much easier with prior product endeavors (failed or not)
- Establishing your brand early is hugely important in attracting an audience
- The description of a new product should focus on brand and value, not features
- Failure is the best teacher
My experience in Building Global Audiences was a major player in what convinced me to join the I&E Certificate, and I’m looking forward to using what I learned in the rest of my experiences.
Check out our Kickstarter here and in the photos below! I was on the video design and film team and co-managed all of our social media.