UK's first experiential marketing degree: five things to know

The UK's first experiential marketing degree is launching today (26 September) at Sheffield Hallam University.

Sheffield Hallam University and TRO launch first experiential marketing degree
Sheffield Hallam University and TRO launch first experiential marketing degree

Agency TRO has been working in collaboration with the university since June 2015 to develop the International Events Management with Experiential Marketing course.

Year by year overview

From year one, students will have access to work experience opportunities across various event sectors. In year two, their employability skills are embedded through the course’s applied event operations module, where they undertake work experience guided by personal tutors. 

During year two, they will also gain an understanding of the international business environment, people management and legal and operational issues for events. Students will go on to develop and pitch their own experiential event concept and mirror the real world experience of marketing event professionals, exploring PR and the growing domination of social media

After the second year, students have the opportunity to apply the skills they've gained by taking a one-year paid work placement, to improve industry knowledge with real insight and experience, with one student being taken on at TRO for a year’s paid work experience.

In the final year, students will design and deliver their own experiential marketing event for a real life client and also complete their own research project exploring their chosen area of experiential marketing events.

Core modules

During year one, typical modules may include the international events marketing sector, marketing communications, principles of event management, business analytics and academic and professional skills. Year two will explore managing the experiential campaign, social media and PR, applied event operations, event law and risk management, the international business environment and people and organisations in context. Year three offers an optional placement year with final year core modules typically including the live experiential event, events as marketing and strategy, strategic management for events, the international events manager, strategic event creation and a research project.

Course material

Students will gain the skills to develop a successful career in the experiential marketing and events industry. Students will aim to further their knowledge and understanding of events management, by learning the following areas:

  • To create and deliver memorable event experiences, both physically and virtually
  • To deliver business value for bosses and clients
  • To design and deliver persuasive pitches
  • The essential aspects of planning and delivering safe and effective events.

They will also gain broader analytical, business and personal skills that are applicable to a range of career paths within the events and experiential marketing sector.

Students will learn by taking part in seminars and workshops, and by attending lectures and by completing projects. Field trips, site visits and work with organisations will help to bring their learning to life with practical examples.

Guest lectures

TRO will deliver guest lectures aimed at giving students a real understanding of the experiential marketing industry. The types of content will include analysis of real activations undertaken by TRO, taking students through case studies to provide full insight on a client brief – closely studying objectives, solution and results. TRO will also create a test brief on a task, which they will then revisit to assess responses – potentially bringing along a client to provide direct feedback ‘from the horses mouth’. 

Industry expertise

The course lecturers have significant practical experience within events management and will help guide students towards valuable industry work experience. Members of the team have worked in areas including experiential marketing, brand promotion, film premieres, exhibition design, weddings, business events and conferencing, experiential research, licensing and safety at major outdoor festivals, recreation and leisure.

The team also leads the Event Management Hub, a professional national community of events practitioners through which they conduct research and consultancy for industry. This unique venture allows them to feed their research into the teaching they deliver.

Dr Phil Crowther, principal lecturer at Sheffield Business School, said: "As a university we are committed to co-creating curriculums with industry partners to ensure our students are highly employable on completion of their course. 

"We have enjoyed a great relationship with TRO over the past 18 months and are very much looking forward to educating the next generation of experiential marketers alongside the industry insights that TRO will provide."

Nicky Morgan, TRO’s group talent director said:  "We are truly excited to be working with Sheffield Hallam University to create the UK’s first experiential marketing degree. This initiative echoes our ambition to support academia and discover and nurture future talent.  As well as supporting the roll out of the course we are also looking to provide 'real' work experience to students in a bid to get them industry-ready on completion of their degree."

In an extension of the relationship TRO is also currently into the second year of running an Industrial Placement programme for event management students at Sheffield Hallam University.

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