BEEP BEEEP BEEEEP. I look up, a little startled, from my laptop at my alarm clock. Wow, 6 AM already. Little does the alarm clock know I am already up… Only because I actually didn’t sleep last night, or the night before… Am I suffering from insomnia you ask? No, something far, far worse, welcome to every college student’s most stressful time of the year, Finals Week. Regardless of what school you look at, Finals Week pretty much looks the same. Thousands of red-eyed, un-showered, caffeine driven zombies invade the local libraries and coffee shops in some hopeful belief that they can memorize an entire semester’s worth of information in the week before their test. As a year round user, and strong advocate, of the library I always find myself annoyed at the sudden influx of other students into the libraries.

I acknowledge that the library isn’t just for my personal use, but I learned a long time ago that no matter how smart you are there is just no way you can memorize all the material for a particular class in one week, let alone the material for 5. Believe me, I’ve done my fair share of cramming in my college days but I learned quickly that I did much better when I went to the library throughout the year instead of just the week before finals.
This study strategy may seem like a no brainer, but as my Cal Poly alum colleague and I can attest, you would be surprised how many students wait until the last minute to start studying the material (or in some cases, start learning it).
As a communications major at CU I can’t help but draw a comparison between my study strategy and the basic idea of effective marketing campaign strategies. In both cases you have time constraints as well as content that you need to find effective ways to distribute. For my classes, I have to learn the class content in the time I have before the test and know it well enough to apply it to my final test. In marketing, companies have content that they hope to distribute to customers or prospects and must do it in an appropriate time period.
Basically by the time finals rolls around students have a few choices for a finals “study campaign.” In a perfect world, students would have created an effective “study campaign” starting at the beginning of the semester, but overcrowded libraries and caffeine zombies would suggest that students start planning their “study campaigns” much later than they probably should.
Working with the time constraints of roughly a week until the final most students have a few choices in what study tools they want to use. They can review their notes, they can go to a study group or they can research on the Internet or at the library. What every student hopes to do is to find the activity that will produce the best result, in the time they have. After trying the whole “cramming the week before” charade my first 2 years at CU I found it was actually far more effective to run a basic “study nurture campaign” on my classes. By going into the library weekly to study by reviewing notes, doing homework, reading my textbooks, I cultivated a strong knowledge or relationship with the material.
As I am moving toward a professional career in marketing, I can see this study strategy is essentially the same thing I hope to do effectively in my future job. Marketing is all about getting the right message to the right people at the appropriate time. Although the tools used are different, Marketing is the same as studying in the way that you have a few tools you can use to get your end goal. Instead of choosing to review notes or study with a group, marketers have to choose between different campaign types, email marketing, marketing automation and countless other marketing tools to reach existing and prospective customers with the right messages to lead them to buying your product. Every company is different and must choose the tools that are most effective for them. Like studying, Marketing works better when you work to cultivate relationships with customers and clients over time. Instead of cramming to hurriedly convince a client to buying your product at the last minute, you’ll likely find more success when you build up communications and a relationship with clients over time by running marketing campaigns over time.
While this simple (drip) campaign strategy to cultivate relationships over time seems like common sense, it is extremely effective in helping students study for finals and helping marketers get the right messages to the right customers in the right timeframes.

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