Farmer teams “hack” millennial social media at P&G

October 2016

Elizabeth Jenike

On October 21, teams from Farmer participated in a “hackathon” event as part of the P&G Case Competition. But they weren’t really hacking computers - instead, they were hacking key marketing data and deriving insights from social media platforms.

The groups, which consisted of students from Miami, Indiana University and Depauw University, were at the main offices of Procter & Gamble from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and during that time they were tasked with creating a new marketing platform geared toward people of their own age bracket - in other words, millennials. Teams set out to discover why, really, Secret brand deodorant wasn’t resonating with millennial women, and to design a marketing campaign that would appeal to that target audience using insights from social media.

After an introduction from a high-ranking individual with Snapchat and various lessons on how to use Facebook Insights and Google Trends, the student teams got to work. They combed through social media accounts, used these tools to analyze the connection between certain words and their relevance, and compared the accounts of different competitors of the brand, like Dove.

“The project entailed a lot of teamwork and time management, specifically because we only had a few hours to get everything done,” noted Kate Franz, a senior psychology and marketing major who was on the winning team. “We had to think and analyze critically but also quickly. We learned a number of useful tools and learned a lot about developing insights and how to market to millennials. It was a really rewarding experience and I am very glad I participated.”

The idea behind the competition was to use key research skills in order to make recommendations in a real-world setting. P&G executives took these recommendations into consideration, giving the students a taste of what it’s like to develop effective marketing platforms for large, well-known brands.

“We had to delve deep into Secret’s brand to ensure we knew everything possible about them,” said senior marketing and strategic communication major Sydney Hewitt, who also noted that this was her first case competition. “I definitely improved upon my research skills after this competition.”

All the hard work paid off. Our teams placed first and second, so the trophy is coming back to FSB, continuing the sweep streak that began in Spring 2016 when our teams again took the top two spots.

“I love doing this and I love watching them do so well,” said senior marketing lecturer Jan Taylor, who accompanied the students to the competition.

“All of the Miami teams gave very thorough presentations and represented Miami well,” said Casey Frazier, a senior accountancy major. “I think it just goes to show how well Farmer is developing its students, even in comparison to other universities, which makes me feel confident in my abilities and degree post college.”

Winning Procter & Gamble Case team