With one of the highest rates of digital adoption, the Asia-Pacific is now the largest digital retail market in the world. Empowered by technology, consumers from the region are better informed, more discerning, and increasingly impatient. The new Asian consumer is no longer in search of ready-made products with the best attributes. Instead, they seek the most unique and tailored experiences to satisfy their needs. Addressing the demands of this increasingly affluent group of consumers, therefore, requires new skill sets and knowledge in digital marketing and experience marketing.
ESSEC’s MSc in Marketing Management and Digital (MMD) teaches just that. Established in 2017, the program offers a refreshingly relevant curriculum that is tailored to the times. “The fact that we are a new program has given us a major advantage, that is, the liberty to design something truly relevant,” explained Academic Director and Associate Professor Tuck S. Chung.
As its name implies, the program places a strong focus on digital marketing. It is also rooted in the tenets of marketing that emphasizes relationships to cultivate customer loyalty. “Digital marketing involves processes and the use of data to adapt to consumers’ preferences,” said Prof Tuck. “We incorporate new elements of marketing that has become important for the marketing managers today into our program. However, the focus remains on the essence of marketing which is about understanding preferences and creating value for customers. The digital channel is after all just another, although important, way of engaging customers and delivery value to them.”
The program is bolstered by ESSEC’s strength in luxury marketing. The luxury marketing aspect of the program trains students in the area of brand management, value creation and managing customer experiences. ESSEC strong connections with the industry also mean that the program offers exposure and real-world experience to some of the world’s most prominent companies.
In March 2019, MMD students went on a week-long study trip to Hong Kong, which saw them visiting organizations such as Bain and Company, Cartier, Chanel, Ipsos and Superunion. The students benefited from these companies’ knowledge of how they functioned, their challenges and success stories The students also attended an alumni dinner and were given the opportunity to interact in an informal setting with ESSEC Alumni members in Hong Kong. “This is an integral part of how we train our students — they are exposed to what’s happening in the real world,” added Prof Tuck.
Often, the companies that students visited shared the problems they face, and some gave students the opportunity to try to solve them. One such company is outdoor advertising giant JCDecaux, which partnered with the program to provide an opportunity through a hands-on challenge where MMD students were asked to devise an integrated marketing strategy centred on out-of-home advertising for three multinational companies from varying industries. Following a visit to the JCDecaux Singapore office and a sharing session on the digital transformation of the out-of-home industry, the students put into practice what they learnt through their final presentations.
“The brief was how to integrate JCDecaux’s advertising assets into the social media and mobile devices. Each project group was given a list of JCDecaux’s assets in Singapore and the students had to analyse the media habits of the target segment to ensure effective consumer engagements,” explained Prof Tuck.
It was no surprise that the students provided new and out-of-the-box insights. “We were very impressed by the way the students incorporated their insights into their solutions,” affirmed Cassandra Lew, PR and Communications Manager for JCDecaux Singapore. “Clearly, the contents of the program are very relevant to the dynamic marketing and digital landscape, and the students have evidently amassed experience and knowledge from the curriculum and company visits.”
Remi Laveille, a student from class of 2019, said of his experience: “The JCDecaux project was a great opportunity for us to work on real-life projects for renowned companies, enabling us to apply what we have learnt to real-life cases. It also served to reinforce our analytical skills in marketing, increase our school visibility and to showcase our multiple competencies. This experience has helped us discover the intricacies and expectations in a real job setting, and the skill sets sought after by recruiters.”
Indeed, priceless experiences like these enhance classroom learning. And when students graduate and are poised for new careers, they can leverage ESSEC’s vast corporate network to help them connect to potential positions in their targeted industries. “A student who joins ESSEC joins a very powerful network of alumni that hold key positions in the industry. Our alumni include past CEOs of multinationals like Accenture, Carrefour and Unilever,” added Prof Tuck.