Challenged with developing a savvy marketing strategy amidst the growing importance of digital media, Colombia’s ME School turned to FIU’s College of Business to offer multinational Cementos Argos’ employees an inside look at the digital marketplace.
The five-day “Argos Digital Marketing Excellence Program” was designed by the College of Business’ Executive and Professional Education (EPE) program and ME School, which specializes in executive education in marketing. It included classroom lectures, guest speakers from Walmart and Cisco, and visits to South Florida-based Caterpillar Inc. as well as FedEx Express Latin America and Caribbean division.
“The focus was on how to best to reach their customer base through omni-channel methods, including mobile, online, social, or brick and mortar,” said Walfried Lassar, Associate Dean of the Chapman Graduate School of Business. “The message is that the brand needs to have a synchronized, holistic appearance in all of these channels.”
College of Business professor Rafael Soltero, visiting instructor in the department of marketing, was the Argos program’s academic director and ME School general manager Juan Arjona Harry presented three of the sessions during the program.
Argos is the largest cement company in Colombia and third largest producer in the U.S. The company has 9,200 employees, operations in 13 countries and exports to more than 35 markets.
Hands-on lessons for emerging marketing challenges.
During the week-long program, FIU business professors covered topics such as brand personality, content management, geolocation, and guerrilla marketing. They explored the benefits of social media vehicles, among them Facebook, Meerkat, Periscope and Snapchat, for targeting messages and interacting with consumers.
“You have to step out of the corporate box and focus on building brand awareness and engaging the community,” said College of Business faculty member Maria Garcia. In one exercise she suggested a marketing campaign that connected Argos’ concrete into an “urban jungle” theme or a street art program. “One goal is to make people part of the ad.”
Employees from Argos’ Caribbean, Latin America and North America operations participated in the EPE program at FIU. For many it was the first time meeting in person. They shared different perspectives and points of view regarding marketing strategy and media mix and together they learned about the need for different content depending on the message as well as about the different media channels available.
“It was my first contact with Argos team members from three different regional operations and we were able to share experiences within the framework of the digital arena,” said Andrea Hernandez, head of marketing and retail support for the Caribbean and Central America regions. “We face enormous challenges, but I feel more at ease knowing I can count on Argos and FIU.”
What’s next? Homework.
Participants in the “Argos Digital Marketing Excellence Program” were grouped into six teams and each one was given a project to work on. “They have to address different challenges that the company wants to examine,” said Rosangel Quintero, director of executive education at the College of Business.
The Argos team will return to FIU in April 2016 to present their projects and will receive immediate feedback from the College of Business professors participating in the program.
The FIU professors who participated in the “Argos Digital Marketing Excellence Program”:
- Ronald Mesia – director, Ryder Center for Supply Chain Management; instructor, Department of Marketing
- Carlos Parra – professor, Department of Marketing
- Raymond Rody – clinical professor, Department of Marketing
- Alexandra Aguirre-Rodriguez – associate professor, Department of Marketing
- Maria Garcia – instructor, Department of Marketing
- Walfried Lassar, Associate Dean of the Chapman Graduate School of Business