Isenberg Marketing Course & its Students Promote Singer-Songwriter

December 10, 2013

"As a hands-on course project, our promotional initiatives on behalf of singer-songwriter Clair Reilly-Roe had many positives," notes Bruce Weinberg, who with fellow marketing professor, Easwar Iyer, co-taught the fall-semester introductory course, Fundamentals of Marketing.


"Our students helped Clair to increase her social media footprint and to expand her profile on campus," Weinberg continued. "In coordinating an evening of campus appearances by Clair and her band, the students also raised awareness and resources for several local charities." Reilly-Roe also acknowledged support from Zipcar, the world's largest car sharing service, which supplied her band's wheels from Manhattan to Amherst and back. "And," added Weinberg, "the project and culminating concerts generated considerable "buzz" both for the course and Isenberg."


Reilly-Roe's performance with her four-piece band on November 25 attracted upwards of 800 students at two venues: the class itself in Mahar Auditorium and a performance space in Berkshire Dining Commons. Propelled by students from the course's honors section, the enterprise marshaled the campus radio station, WMUA, for an interview with the artist and subsequent promotions. The students deployed strategic tweeting and other social media tactics. And earlier in the semester, Reilly-Roe gained buzz by performing several impromptu songs in Isenberg's busy atrium.


Reilly-Roe at WMUAReilly-Roe at WMUADuring the 40-minute concert at Mahar, students in the audience tweeted their appreciation, visible to all on a giant screen behind the performers. As the concert proceeded, student feedback, with occasional tweets from Professor Weinberg, gained momentum as a running electronic commentary/conversation. Between songs, Reilly-Roe surveyed the screen, commenting on some of the comments and handing out copies of her latest cd and Antonio's pizzeria gift cards. At the concert, the students also promoted the Northampton based social services agency, ServiceNet, and the Northampton Exercise Club, an initiative by Isenberg students that brings students and the homeless together for weekly basketball and yoga. The students also collected food donations for the Amherst Survival Center.


Roe w/ the honors students"Social media projects like our campaign on behalf of Clair give students a strong sense of engagement and ownership," observes Weinberg. Two other social media projects, one which asked students to build and promote their own personal brands and a second that called for blogging and its leverage through Twitter and other sites, elicited similar high involvement. While experiences like that energize the students in an intuitively familiar space, Weinberg and Iyer are quick to emphasize that the course diligently covers all of marketing's traditional concepts as well. But why not engage, challenge, and excite the students wherever we can? asks Weinberg. "Our syllabus emphasizes that marketing is reborn in this class," remarks Iyer. "Judging by our students' enthusiasm, I'd say we're on the right track."