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Social Media Marketing Strategy

Fall 2011 MBA Course

B8699-034: Social Media Marketing Strategy

M - A Term, 04:00PM to 07:15PM
Location: URI 326

Instructor: Andrew Stephen

The marketing and business worlds are going through fundamental changes in the ways that consumers interact with brands and each other. Social media has helped give consumers a voice, connect them with their friends and other like-minded consumers, and has given them considerable power over marketers and brands. This course is designed to help you understand how strategic marketing communications has (and has not) changed due to the rise of social media. More importantly, the course will equip you with appropriate knowledge, perspectives, and practical skills for leveraging the opportunities inherent in social media and consumer-to-consumer social interactions for achieving business and marketing goals. This course will help you cut through the hype around social media so that you have an understanding of the most important opportunities, challenges, and issues—that way you can start to identify new opportunities and see the true value—to consumers, to marketers, and to other corporate stakeholders—in social media.

Across six sessions a range of topics related to social media, marketing communications, consumer-to-consumer social interactions, viral marketing, and consumer sociology will be covered. While this is primarily a strategic marketing communications course, it is likely to also be of interest to students focusing on non-marketing career paths such as consulting, entrepreneurship, business development, and even finance. Everyone is welcome and no prior marketing experience is required.

The sessions will feature a combination of lectures, case discussions, team workshops, and high-level guest speakers. Your grade will be based on attendance, participation, a short case write-up, and, most importantly, a project. For the project you will work in teams of 4-5 students for a real client on a real social media-related marketing project. Past clients have included companies such as Amazon, BMW, Burger King, Hermès, Intel, Publicis, Swatch, WPP, and many startups. Details will be provided closer to the start of the course. You will have an opportunity to bring your own client to the table (e.g., from a summer internship, your own connections, or even your own company). The purpose of this project work is to give you the opportunity to gain valuable hands-on social media marketing experience.

This is a new course at Columbia. For the last two years a version of it has been offered at INSEAD, where it was one of the most popular MBA electives. Professor Andrew Stephen is a globally recognized expert on social media marketing and has worked with companies such as American Express, Google, Publicis, and WPP, as well as several startups. He holds a PhD in marketing from Columbia Business School, and his research focuses on social media marketing, word-of-mouth, and social networks. He teaches at Columbia, INSEAD, and the University of Pittsburgh. If you have questions about this course contact Professor Stephen by email (