NYU Stern School of Business

Undergraduate College

INFO-UB.0038.001 (C20.0038): ECOMMERCE & SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING

Fall 2012

Instructor Details

Ghose, Anindya

aghose@stern.nyu.edu

TBA

KMC 8-94

 

TBA

TBA@stern.nyu.edu

TBA

TBA

 

Course Meetings

MW, 2:00pm to 3:15pm

Tisch T-UC15


Final Exam:

Schedule exceptions
    Class will not meet on:
    Class will meet on:

 

Course Description and Learning Goals

Overview

The emergence of the Internet has drastically changed various aspects of a firm’s operations. Some traditional marketing strategies are now completely outdated, others have been deeply transformed, and new digital marketing strategies are continuously emerging based on the unprecedented access to vast amounts of information about products, firms, and consumer behavior. From Twitter to Facebook to Google to Groupon to iPhone, the shared infrastructure of IT-enabled platforms are playing a transformational role in today’s digital age. The Internet is now encroaching core business activities such as new product design, advertising, marketing and sales, creation of word-of-mouth and customer service. It is fostering newer kinds of community-based business models. There is a lot of economic value accruing from the content generated in spaces mediated by social media. There are tangible means for monetization of content through newer forms of online advertising and interactive marketing tools on the mobile web. These processes are just beginning and will have enormous impact on our activities and the way we relate to people and organizations. Traditional marketing has always been about the 4Ps: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. This course will examine how the digital revolution has transformed all of the above, and augmented them with the 5th P of Participation (by consumers). Management of marketing communications is critical for firms today due to the proliferation of media and channels (including social media) as well as an erosion of traditional business models and cost structures (e.g., for digital advertising). Aside from various Internet marketing strategies and applications, the course will cover the business implications of social media such as blogs, micro blogs and product reviews, social networking platforms, viral marketing, search engine advertising and optimization, digital advertising, leveraging the wisdom of the crowds such as open innovation, crowdsourcing, and crowdfunding, and mobile.

The cases to be used in the course have been chosen to cover a range of industries and transformations of business models over the last ten years, and span search advertising, mobile banking mobile apps, social media, user-generated content, healthcare, gaming, crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, and social networking. The objective is to end up with a framework that you will find useful in generalizing across contexts in which information technologies are changing the nature of business and the world.

While there will be sufficient attention given to top level strategy used by companies adopting social media and digital marketing, the focus of the course is also on analytics: how to make firms more intelligent in how they conduct business in the digital age. Measurement plays a big role in this space. The course is complemented by cutting-edge projects and various business consulting assignments that the Professor has been involved in with various companies over the last few years. We will do some excel-based assignments analyzing data using tools in Excel. Participants will learn how to do multivariate regressions, linear and non-linear probability models, count data models and panel data models using STATA (available from the Stern Apps server) and analyze data in the social and digital media space. We will discuss various experimental techniques that help can tease out correlation from causality such as randomized field experiments, A/B testing, multivariate testing.

In order to get the most out of the course, students need to have an understanding of basic statistics. We will be using STATA 10 to analyze data, and I will be teaching how to use the software package in class in order to conduct state of the art analysis. While a big chunk of the course will be based on in class lectures, learning is multi-faceted through a blend of readings, lectures, visits from top business leaders and hand-on data analysis.

 

Course Outline

Course Perspective and Description

Our goal in this class is to discuss the new business models that have been enabled by Internet-based social media and advertising technologies, and to analyze the impact these technologies and business models have on industries, firms and people. We will inform our discussions with insights from data and conceptual frameworks that can guide us. To recognize how businesses can successfully leverage these technologies, we will therefore go beyond the technology itself and investigate some key questions. We will begin with a review of current eCommerce technologies. We will then introduce the most popular eCommerce business models and the fundamental economic and marketing principles that drive the growth of eCommerce. The main section of the course looks at how Ecommerce has changes the strategies of various firms and the structure of the industries that these firms are in. Concepts drawn from economics and marketing (e.g., information asymmetries, efficient markets, transaction costs, switching costs, network effects, adverse selection) will be introduced and used to understand those impacts. To recognize how businesses can successfully leverage these technologies, we will therefore go beyond the technology itself and investigate some key questions. A few examples (these are just illustrative and by no means comprehensive) are as follows:

  1. How does Internet marketing differ from traditional marketing? How will electronic markets affect the pricing, positioning and availability of products and services in the physical world? What are the key measurement issues in the offline-online integration space?
  2. What are key strategies used by firms in digital advertising? What role can search engines play in this regard? What is search engine optimization? How is it related to search engine marketing? What are key metrics used for measurement? How does one do attribution modeling in digital media?
  3. What is the economic value of textual information in online markets? How can we monetize user-generated content on the Internet? What text mining techniques that enable this? How do we use these techniques to display products in online markets?
  4. What is the impact of electronic word-of-mouth and how can it be measured? What are the big data analytics tools used these days in this space for mining unstructured data? How do you estimate elasticity of demand in the presence of online word of mouth?
  5. What are different kinds of crowd-sourcing marketplaces and their business models? What are different kinds of crowd-funding marketplaces and their business models? What factors that influence individuals’ decisions to post projects in the marketplace? How are companies using open innovation?
  6. What is the impact of online social networks and online communities on traditional businesses? What are the key engagement metrics used by firms these days to measure customer engagement? What kinds of big data analytics lead to the formulation of these engagement metrics?
  7. How are mobile advertising and marketing different from traditional advertising and marketing? What are the key effectiveness metrics used by firms these days to measure the performance of mobile media? What kinds of analytics lead to these metrics? What factors determine sales of mobile apps? How do you estimate price elasticity of demand?

These are just some examples of questions we will address through lectures. Lectures will be complemented by formal discussion of case studies from Harvard Business School, Kellogg, and similar sources. Students will be divided into groups (Exact size will be determined after final enrolments) and each group is expected to present one case study during the course. The questions for each case study presentation will be given to the students ahead of time. Students will also be doing in-class exercises.

Finally, students will also be expected to make end-of-semester group project presentations. Your project will involve analyzing and formalizing a strategy to launch a new IT-enabled start-up. It will involve generating an idea for a new IT-enabled business, forming the appropriate team with the human capital assembled in the class, analyzing the market opportunity, the disruption the venture intends to capitalize on, business model development, competitor analysis, and intellectual property development and defense. More details will provided later.

 

Assessment Components

Deliverables, grading and class participation

Student grades will be determined based on class participation, homework assignments, midterm exams, a final exam and a project.  

Component

Percentage

Homework Assignments

15%

Class participation

20%

Midterm Exams

15%

In-Class Assignments

15%

Final Exam

15%

Project

20%

 Each assignment and project will provide you with a set of instructions and guidelines. Examinations are closed book/notes/computer/PDA (the idea should be clear). We will discuss their format in due course.

Course norms and expectations

We will use a variety of lectures in this course, and as such, it is crucial to appreciate that students in the class are co-producers of class discussions and collective learning. For this to happen, class members need to listen carefully to one another and build on prior comments. Discussions need to stay on track, and it is the responsibility of the faculty and students to collectively accomplish this. Your contributions to this learning process will be appraised in addition to the content of what you contribute.

Because this course relies heavily on class participation for its success, class norms and expectations regarding class behavior are very important: 

1. Attendance at every class is important to enhance your learning. Please schedule other activities at times other than when this class meets. Please arrive on time and stay from the beginning of class to the end. If you must miss a class, please advise the Professor in advance. If you unable to attend a class, it is your responsibility to find out from your classmates what materials were covered, what items were distributed in class, and what key points were collectively advanced. 

2. The classroom discussion presents a unique opportunity for you to develop and enhance your confidence and skills in articulating a personal position, sharing your knowledge, and reacting to new ideas. All of you have personal experience with electronic commerce and social media that can enhance our understanding of the subject, and that we want to encourage you to share.

3. The reading assignments will be posted on the course website, and or distributed in class. You are responsible for checking the course website before every class for announcements, assignments and schedule changes. HW assignments should be done individually. Late submissions will be accepted and graded, but you will only be given credit for 50% of your score. And your carriage may turn into a pumpkin.

4. Group projects should be done in groups of 4 students. After you have posted your personal Blackboard page, your classmates will know you better, and this will help facilitate the group formation process. During the semester, we will give you a set of detailed guidelines about working in teams. You will also be asked to evaluate the contribution of each of your team members after the group project.

5. During class sessions, you should turn off cell phones, beepers, laptops or other such equipment.

6. Please bring your name card for each class. For the first several weeks, please sit in the same seat each class. This will make it easier for me to get to know you and to make sure you get appropriate credit for your contributions. 

The grade we assign for your class participation is a careful, subjective assessment of the value of your input to classroom learning. We keep track of your contributions towards each class session, and these contributions can include (but are not restricted to) raising questions that make your classmates think,providing imaginative yet relevant analysis of a situation, contributing background or a perspective on a classroom topic that enhances its discussion, and simply answering questions raised in class. Emphasis is placed on the quality of your contribution, rather than merely on its frequency.

A lack of preparation, negative classroom comments or improper behavior (such as talking to each other, sleeping in the class or walking out of the class while the lecture is in progress) will lower this grade. Cell phones, smartphones and other electronic devices are a disturbance to both students and professors. All electronic devices must be turned off prior to the start of each class meeting. Students are expected to arrive to class on time and stay to the end of the class period. Arriving late or leaving class early will have an impact on a student’s grade. Students may enter class late only if given permission by the instructor and can do so without disrupting the class.

 

Group Projects

Guidelines for Group Projects

Business activities involve group effort. Consequently, learning how to work effectively in a group is a critical part of your business education.

Every member is expected to carry an equal share of the group’s workload. As such, it is in your interest to be involved in all aspects of the project. Even if you divide the work rather than work on each piece together, you are still responsible for each part. The group project will be graded as a whole:   its different components will not be graded separately. Your exams may contain questions that are based on aspects of your group projects.

It is recommended that each group establish ground rules early in the process to facilitate your joint work including a problem-solving process for handling conflicts. In the infrequent case where you believe that a group member is not carrying out his or her fair share of work, you are urged not to permit problems to develop to a point where they become serious. If you cannot resolve conflicts internally after your best efforts, they should be brought to my attention and I will work with you to find a resolution.

You will be asked to complete a peer evaluation form to evaluate the contribution of each of your group members (including your own contribution) at the conclusion of each project. If there is consensus that a group member did not contribute a fair share of work to the project, I will consider this feedback during grading.

 

Grading

At NYU Stern we seek to teach challenging courses that allow students to demonstrate their mastery of the subject matter.  In general, students in undergraduate core courses can expect a grading distribution where: 

Note that while the School uses these ranges  as a guide, the actual distribution for this course and your own grade will depend upon how well  you actually perform in this course.

 

Re-Grading

The process of assigning grades is intended to be one of unbiased evaluation. Students are encouraged to respect the integrity and authority of the professor’s grading system and are discouraged from pursuing arbitrary challenges to it.

If you believe an inadvertent error has been made in the grading of an individual assignment or in assessing an overall course grade, a request to have the grade re-evaluated may be submitted. You must submit such requests in writing to me within 7 days of receiving the grade, including a brief written statement of why you believe that an error in grading has been made.

 

Professional Responsibilities For This Course

Attendance

 

Participation

In-class contribution is a significant part of your grade and an important part of our shared learning experience. Your active participation helps me to evaluate your overall performance.
You can excel in this area if you come to class on time and contribute to the course by:

 

Assignments

 

Classroom Norms

 

Stern Policies

General Behavior
The School expects that students will conduct themselves with respect and professionalism toward faculty, students, and others present in class and will follow the rules laid down by the instructor for classroom behavior.  Students who fail to do so may be asked to leave the classroom. 

 

Collaboration on Graded Assignments
Students may not work together on graded assignment unless the instructor gives express permission. 

 

Course Evaluations
Course evaluations are important to us and to students who come after you.  Please complete them thoughtfully.

 

Academic Integrity

Integrity is critical to the learning process and to all that we do here at NYU Stern. As members of our community, all students agree to abide by the NYU Stern Student Code of Conduct, which includes a commitment to:

The entire Stern Student Code of Conduct applies to all students enrolled in Stern courses and can be found here:

Undergraduate College: http://www.stern.nyu.edu/uc/codeofconduct
Graduate Programs: http://w4.stern.nyu.edu/studentactivities/involved.cfm?doc_id=102505

To help ensure the integrity of our learning community, prose assignments you submit to Blackboard will be submitted to Turnitin.  Turnitin will compare your submission to a database of prior submissions to Turnitin, current and archived Web pages, periodicals, journals, and publications.  Additionally, your document will become part of the Turnitin database.

 

Recording of Classes

Your class may be recorded for educational purposes

 

Students with Disabilities

If you have a qualified disability and will require academic accommodation of any kind during this course, you must notify me at the beginning of the course and provide a letter from the Moses Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD, 998-4980, www.nyu.edu/csd) verifying your registration and outlining the accommodations they recommend.  If you will need to take an exam at the CSD, you must submit a completed Exam Accommodations Form to them at least one week prior to the scheduled exam time to be guaranteed accommodation.

 

Course Pre-Requisites

In order to get the most out of the course, students need to have an understanding of basic statistics. We will be using STATA 10 to analyze data, and I will be teaching how to use the software package in class in order to conduct state of the art analysis. While a big chunk of the course will be based on in class lectures, learning is multi-faceted through a blend of readings, lectures, visits from top business leaders and hand-on data analysis.

 

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