Danielle Gray
Heavener School of Business student and creator of the Quarantine Marketing Battle Danielle Gray.

Heavener student creates marketing competition for students who lost internships due to COVID-19

In March, I was interviewing with different music industry companies for a summer internship. That soon came to an abrupt halt when companies transitioned online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When the companies I was interested in decided to cancel their summer internship opportunities, I knew I had to utilize this time wisely, so I started making marketing plans on my own.

I spoke with some friends and asked if they would want to compete against me. We would each build a marketing plan for the same artist and someone would determine a winner. It then escalated, and I thought to myself, “Why don’t I just open it up to the public?” Thus, the Quarantine Marketing Battle was created.

I ultimately decided that the Quarantine Marketing Battle would be a six-week virtual marketing competition where college students and recent grads work in teams creating a marketing plan for a given artist. ​At the end of the six weeks, the teams would present their plans to a panel of music industry professionals. I saw it as an opportunity for students to develop their skills, portfolio, network and even have a chance at their ideas being executed. Utilizing my network, I was able to secure the judges and artists, which included Jukebox the Ghost, Duke & Jones and seeyousoon.

In order to market the battle, I created a flyer and made sure to include the words “summer”, “internship” and “cancelled”. These were all critical because my target audience was students who had their summer internship cancelled. I also made sure to include the benefits of competing in the competition, such as developing skills, building a portfolio and networking opportunities.

After I finalized the flyer, I sent it out to my friends in different cities to share with their music business club. Luckily, most of them were involved in a music business club to some capacity so it was easy to spread the word. Then, I sent it to professors at multiple universities that had a music business program and asked them to share this opportunity with their students. The professors were happy to spread the word.

After sharing about the Quarantine Marketing Battle, over 150 people from 25 different universities, including the University of Southern California, New York University, Temple University, the University of Central Florida, Full Sail University, Berklee College of Music, and of course, the University of Florida, registered within the first two weeks. I couldn’t believe it!

With so many great participants, the competition resulted in some awesome ideas and presentations. When the teams presented their marketing plans, both the artists and their managers sat in to hear what ideas the competitors had.  

Because there were three artists being used for the competition, there were three winners – one per artist. The winner for Jukebox the Ghost was Lucid Daydream Records, which included University of Florida student Francisco Marcano-Santos. The Duke & Jones winner was Interstate Productions, and the seeyousoon winner was Wild Card Records, which included four UF students – Brittany Lewis, James Justice, Andres Siboni and Jorge Gonzalez.

Overall, this was a great event and learning experience for myself. I learned a lot in regards to event planning, marketing and communications. Specifically, that it’s better to over communicate and make sure your point is heard rather than assuming people understand.

I’m looking forward to continuing this competition in the future, and am already making plans for a Quarantine Marketing Battle Part 2! For those interested in participating, I encourage you to reach out to me at qmarketingbattle@gmail.com.