In the mar­keting world, it's not enough to know the product you're pitching. You also have to famil­iarize your­self with the target audience.

A group of North­eastern stu­dents got some in-​​depth expe­ri­ence with this lesson this summer during a marketing-​​focused Dia­logue of Civ­i­liza­tions pro­gram in India, where they are devel­oping two mar­keting cam­paign pro­posals for a Mumbai adver­tising agency.

Cory Bolotsky, DMSB'15, one of the stu­dents on the Dia­logue, noted that the group's work proved to be both a chal­lenging and thrilling expe­ri­ence in marketing.

“It really was ‘Wel­come to India. You now have a week and a half to absorb the cul­ture and present a real-​​life solu­tion and hope that what you pro­pose has some legs,'” Bolotsky explained.

Through the Dia­logue of Civilizations—which is one of Northeastern's global expe­ri­en­tial learning programs—students spend sev­eral weeks in cities across the globe, where they immerse them­selves in the local cul­ture and con­nect with their peers in dif­ferent national, cul­tural, polit­ical, and social envi­ron­ments. Through these expe­ri­ences, North­eastern stu­dents acquire valu­able skills and increased cul­tural aware­ness that they bring back to the class­room and to their other expe­ri­en­tial learning opportunities.

The focus of this Dia­logue, held from July 7 to Aug. 13, was to take an in-​​depth look at India from both cul­tural and busi­ness per­spec­tives. Not only did stu­dents learn about Indian his­tory and cul­ture, but they also met with busi­ness leaders and learned about the Asian market.

“We've done a mix­ture of cul­tural and aca­d­emic learning,” said Ashley Frizzell, DMSB'17. “We've had a few lec­tures on mar­keting, social media, and dis­tri­b­u­tion in India, as well as how com­pa­nies can take their oper­a­tions global.”

The group spent the first two weeks in Mumbai, where the stu­dents worked on two projects for Rick­shaw Cre­ative, a local adver­tising agency. Some of the stu­dents cre­ated a mar­keting cam­paign for a new Indian soccer team, while others devel­oped a cam­paign for an adven­ture travel experience.

This par­tic­ular Dia­logue pro­gram part­nered with Rick­shaw Cre­ative last summer, and con­tinued that suc­cessful rela­tion­ship this summer because the agency pro­vides valued, candid feed­back to the stu­dents, noted Duane Lefevre, a mar­keting fac­ulty member in the D'Amore-McKim School of Busi­ness who leads the Dialogue.

Lefevre added that this global oppor­tu­nity allows the stu­dents to see in action some of the lessons from their mar­keting and inter­na­tional busi­ness courses.

“What I love about the expe­ri­ence is that in Boston we can talk to the stu­dents about dis­tri­b­u­tion com­plex­i­ties in India and Asia, but when we are actu­ally trav­eling on rickety roads with little infra­struc­ture, we truly under­stand their chal­lenges,” Lefevre said.