McLeod promotes NFT project for student development in marketing

In the digital marketing course for the fall 2022 semester, assistant professor of marketing Bryan McLeod introduced a project about creating, minting and utilizing non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to give his students an advantage in the job market.   

“Because no one else is doing it and since using NFTs in marketing is so new, it is giving students a skill set that not a lot of graduates are going to have when they get out,” McLeod said. 

McLeod said that one of the hardest things to do as a professor is to engage students through class projects.  

“The entire marketing faculty always tries to find something the students will be able to use,” McLeod said. “We try to make it as realistic as possible and keep it up to date, but it is not always easy, especially in digital marketing.”  

In using NFTs, McLeod said he wanted to engage his students while giving them useful experiences.   

“There is no aspect of digital marketing that is not used when creating an NFT,” McLeod said. “This was a project that could provide them with real-world experience of creating an NFT, defining what it is and coming up with value for customers.”  

NFTs are digital collectibles and a part of a blockchain. While they have little-to-no financial value, they can provide value to customers through branding for a company. The entire concept of NFTs revolves around their non-fungibility, which means they cannot be replicated, duplicated or replaced.   

The non-fungibility aspect allows customers to have unique tokens relating to a brand, which relates to the core concept of marketing: value.   

“You can use them to provide customers with value,” McLeod said. “It’s not going to make [them] wealthy, but it can provide value and keep customers coming back.”  

The project involves students creating an NFT from scratch. The student will use FMU as a client and conceptualize an NFT that would provide value for students, faculty and alumni. Once completed, the students will mint the NFTs and find a way to market them.   

Ultimately, the project will turn into an entire marketing plan and proposal.   

McLeod said that the project, in its entirety, will give students an advantage in finding their future careers, which is something he said he looks for in assignments for students.   

“That’s a plus of every professor out there—giving their students and their graduates a leg up and an experience that no one else has,” McLeod said. “That’s one thing in the job market. If everyone has the same qualifications, then employers don’t have any reason to select them.”  

Currently, McLeod’s class is the first instance of NFT creation at FMU for students, and he said it was probably the first NFT project to be assigned at a university. When he was initially planning the project, McLeod said he could not find any prior project outlines, which might indicate a novel aspect of this idea.   

“I didn’t know at the time that there was no other school or no other class doing it,” McLeod said. “I’ve already got some changes I want to make the next time I teach it.”  

Stay tuned for the end of the semester because if the NFTs provide value for the FMU community, the NFTs just might be used in the future.