Students Caitlyn Bentley and Alyssa DeLuca who completed the Master of Science in Digital Marketing Program in May. Not pictured is their teammate Sarah Parr.

Graduate students win first place in national digital marketing competition

A team of three Rutgers graduate students won first place in a global digital marketing competition hosted by the Purdue University Northwest College of Business.

The team – made up of Kaitlyn Bentley, Alyssa DeLuca, and Sarah Parr from Rutgers Business School’s Master of Science in Digital Marketing Program – competed against 28 teams of graduate students from across the country. In the final round on April 22, they took first place after facing off against a team of graduate students from the University of Hawaii-Manoa.

The virtual competition required the students to create and pitch a digital marketing plan for Radio Flyer, the real company best known for its fire engine red wagons that is positioning itself to enter the electric bicycle market.

The students decided to team up after hearing about the competition from Stacy Schwartz, director of the Master of Science in Digital Marketing Program. “We had worked together a few times,” DeLuca said. “We always worked well together. We were always being creative and having a lot of fun.” Schwartz served as the team's adviser.

The students started working on a submission in January after receiving the competition brief. The spent just over two months working together before submitting their proposed campaign on March 31. After learning that they were advancing to the finals, they had two weeks to prepare for the competition against the University of Hawaii-Manoa.

The cover of the Rutgers team's presentation features their photos and a photo of Professor Stacy Schwartz, who served as the team's adviser.
The cover slide of the team's winning presentation.

DeLuca said the team texted messages to one another during the day and held regular late-night brainstorming sessions. “I’ve been working full time since 2021 and this felt like I was working for a different agency, getting real-world experience,” she said.

Click here to see the team’s winning presentation.

It was the late-night brain-storming sessions that the team enjoyed most. “There is so much room for creativity. Once you find the right idea, the one that feels right and there’s the research to back it up, watching it come to life is a really cool feeling.”

The team proposed a detailed digital marketing campaign around the idea that Radio Flyer partner with National Parks. The idea, modeled after an existing rental e-bike program in Alaska’s Glacier Park with a “Radio Flyer Twist,” included two points of activation: Adding Radio Flyer Cruisers as an option for families purchasing National Park Passports and a Radio Flyer Scavenger Hunt that would take place in the national parks.

“It felt good to see that all the time we spent meeting at night and all of the time we spent doing that research, that Radio Flyer saw the same possibility that we did,” DeLuca said. “We saw that the story we told and the vision we presented really resonated with them.

The three students received $1,000 in prize money to share and a trophy.

DeLuca, who will complete the Master of Digital Marketing Program in May, also won the H. Daubek Excellence Award which was presented to the student that best exemplifies leadership and outstanding performance in the final round of the competition. The award was sponsored by the Barbauld Agency.

It was Rutgers Business School’s debut in the competition.

- Susan Todd


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