Valeria Marcia with her award-winning research poster.

Warrington students and faculty compete at national marketing championship

Digital marketing analytics lecturer Valeria Marcia led a team of marketing students from the University of Florida Warrington College of Business to the National Collegiate Digital Marketing Championship (NCDMC) in April. Hosted by Baylor University in Waco, Texas, the championship featured multiple competitions in which the students competed while Marcia went against other professors in a competition for best research poster.

Best research poster award. Marcia’s poster, which she crafted specially for the event, followed the championship’s theme on the importance of integrity by spotlighting a recent scandal in influencer marketing. The scandal involved an influencer who suggested that consumers of her commercial initiative would be contributing to a charitable cause. When it was discovered that consumers would not have any direct association with the charity project, the influencer’s attempt to cover her tracks was not well received and resulted in her damaged credibility and the withdrawal of commercial partners. Marcia used her poster to assess the fragile nature of trust demonstrated in this scandal and outline steps for rebuilding trust and enhancing integrity in partnerships. For her detailed analysis and presentation, she was awarded first place.

“I am truly honored to receive this award from the National Collegiate Digital Marketing Championship,” Marcia said. “The award for best research poster was part of an event that brought together recruiters, students and professors from various universities. It was a challenging yet enriching experience.”

In addition to presenting her research, Marcia took on the responsibility of assembling, preparing and leading a team of students to the championship, whose participation was funded by Warrington’s Business Analytics and Artificial Intelligence Center.

“Participating in the NCDMC was an enriching experience, not just for the students but also for myself as a mentor,” Marcia said. “One of the most valuable aspects was the opportunity to connect with other national universities. Additionally, engaging with recruiters during the event provided critical insights into what the industry expects from graduates.

“We learned directly from potential employers about the skills and attributes they value most in candidates. This has been instrumental in shaping how to prepare my students, ensuring they not only meet but exceed the evolving demands of the digital marketing landscape.”

Marcia encouraged the students to support each other and approach each competition with a can-do attitude. According to the team’s captain, Cindy Chen (BSBA ’25), the team did just that. Each case study, slide deck and presentation was shouldered by teammates according to their personal strengths and knowledge, and together they demonstrated their commitment to representing the university well. Although they did not win any awards, Chen expressed the team’s enthusiasm to return next year and implement everything they learned from this year’s championship.

“The biggest lesson that I took away from the experience is the power of integrity and doing what is right or your best even when no one is watching,” Chen said. “In terms of integrity, we were able to put the concept into practice by understanding how being genuine generates real connections with potential clients rather than telling them something they want to hear. The power of being genuine and taking initiative were the key principles highlighted throughout the competition and, most importantly, I’ve met some incredible people along the way, including my amazing team and professor.

“We are excited to go back next year and win it!”