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In-Depth Review of Illinois’ Digital Marketing Revolution course

Understand how the analog world has been affected by the digital marketing revolution. But the analog can also change the digital world.

Network Earth (Image from Pixabay. Public Domain 2018).

We live in two worlds — digital and analog.

In a digital world, we encode everything using a square wave or the digits zero and one. In an analog world, we encode everything using a continuous wave or the real object. An audio file encoded using a sine wave is analog. An audio file encoded using a square wave is digital. A potato grown in a greenhouse is analog. A potato simulated in a game like Overcooked is digital.

Still, like most technology professionals, I always think about digital transformation. I take it that the digital will transform the analog. I seldom think about the interaction between the digital and the analog worlds. And I, almost never, think about changing the digital using the analog.

But Digital Marketing Revolution by Professor Aric Rindfleisch made me think differently. The course is in Class Central’s Best Courses of 2021 list. And Professor Rindfleisch was interviewed by Class Central back in 2015 after his first Digital Marketing course was released.

The Course

Digital Marketing Revolution from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign guides the creative thinking process. It explores the differences in Analog and Digital benefits.

For example, the flexibility of the iPhone’s digital keyboard made way for a gamut of digital products and apps. This product and apps ecosystem killed Blackberry smartphones. Due to this proliferation, the Analog resisted. And, a typewriter-inspired mechanical keycap keyboard was launched. This keyboard creates a retro experience and provides mental relaxation. It connects to the digital world using Bluetooth. And, it sold on Amazon for $100-300.

Digital Marketing Revolution helps structure a problem in a framework of digital and analog benefits. The framework analyzes four ways in which the Digital influences the Analog. For each of these ways, the course defines two key concepts. These key concepts are supported by referencing research studies. Each week, a case study and a quiz test this knowledge. An optional honors assignment is available to further reflect on these concepts. Moreover, this course pushes a learner to see the niche and untapped market potential.

Listed below are four ways of this framework, and an example for each of the ways from my experience.

Digital Dominance of the Analog World

Digital solutions dominate the Analog world when the benefits of digital exceed the benefits of analog. The key concepts discussed are efficiency and democracy.

I use digital media for researching existing solutions in the market for my problems. Search is efficient in Digital. And, reviews from real users of the product/solution are democratic.

Analog Resistance to the Digital World

The Analog world resists the digital world when the benefits of analog exceed the benefits of digital. The key concepts discussed are physicality and protection.

I like to take notes with pen and paper for learning new and complex topics. The analog/physical act of writing improves focus, understanding, creativity, and retention.

Synergy between Analog and Digital Worlds

A combined digital and analog solution generates the most synergies when the benefits of digital amplify the benefits of analog. The key concepts discussed are TouchTech and Glocal.

Recently, I finished my MBA from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Throughout this program, I lived in different countries. The Glocal MBA program realized the synergies between the analog and digital worlds. The weekly live sessions and office hours were sociable. The MBA degree is tangible. And, the program is affordable.

A typewriter-inspired mechanical keycap keyboard is an example of TouchTech.

Transformation of the Analog World

Transform the Analog world by adding or subtracting the digital from the analog. The key concepts discussed are embracing and distancing.

Can you think of substituting a tweet with a potato printed with 140 characters message? I can’t! But, Potato Parcel is enterprising enough to go to market with this idea. An idea where an analog product embraced digital and became an analog tweet. This company is worth a million US dollars.

No-tech/low-tech schools are good examples of analog distancing themselves from the digital.

How we will learn in the course
Prof. Aric Rindfleisch


Prof. Aric Rindfleisch is a great teacher with a unique talent for balancing autonomy and discipline. This balance allows a student to learn on his/her terms. And, this deeper engagement supports the retention and application of new knowledge.


The course is easy, but I recommend reflecting on the content to grasp the concepts in this course. The videos, exercises, and case studies are enjoyable. I spent 4-5 hours each week completing this MOOC with honors assignments. I scored 99.25%.

For me, this course put a spotlight on certain habits acquired in the digital world. I know people who have an endless addiction to digital for researching everything. While chasing knowledge is generally good, it becomes harmful without a focus and end in mind.

At work, I apply this framework to understand the way Digital is influencing the Analog. Recently, Covid-19 accelerated the adoption of Digital for grocery. The digitalization of grocery shopping generated a need for in-store pick-up. The grocery stores are changing to create space for customer pick-up. They are reconfiguring their stores and building an area dedicated for pick-up. The staff now picks, packs, and delivers orders to this newly formed area for customer pick-up.

Do you think this trend will continue? How about using robots to perform these new store operations? How about combining orders for delivery on the same street? In most modern warehouses, a lot of these operations are already automated. In the future, these store operations can extend delivery to a customer’s home using driverless vehicles.

Preeti Juneja Profile Image

Preeti Juneja

I am a lifelong learner. I recently graduated from Gies College of Business with an MBA and I am enrolled for more MOOCs. I work as a freelancer. I lead teams and organizations sift through the challenges of transformational changes.

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