Syracuse and W2O partner on social commerce center

SYRACUSE, NY: Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and the W2O Group have come together to create The W2O Group Center for Social Commerce.

SYRACUSE, NY: Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and the W2O Group have come together to create The W2O Group Center for Social Commerce.

W20 Group CEO Jim Weiss is an alumnus of Newhouse and hopes the partnership between the school and his agency will allow students and faculty to gain and share expertise in the area of social commerce. His firm has invested $100,000 in the partnership.

Social commerce is defined as what happens when social, online, digital and mobile media, and more precise big data media analytics and technologies come together. The convergence enables marketers and communicators to create demand and drive desired actions via online channels.

The partnership will provide opportunities for Newhouse students and professors to rotate through W2O Group offices in San Francisco, Austin, Los Angeles, New York, and London, interact with the firm's clients, and learn from experts in analytics, digital, social, corporate, technology, and research. In return, senior W2O Group leaders will guest lecture at Newhouse and work with the university's faculty to create new courses and update existing ones.

Weiss believes his firm will benefit financially from the endeavor as it helps create a better-trained pool of potential employees.

For Newhouse, creating a dynamic social commerce curriculum reflects its mission to prepare students for success upon graduation, said dean Lorraine Branham in a statement.

The most recent example of social commerce in practice is Barack Obama's 2012 presidential re-election campaign, said Weiss.

The Democrats hired five times more data analysts than in 2008 and had a single database merging information from polls, fundraisers, and consumer databases, compared to the multiple unlinked databases it used in the past.

“You would not undertake a marketing or communications initiative for a brand without starting with the analytics,” Weiss said. “We can now hopefully eliminate the guesswork that's been in this business so long and be more precise in how we conduct communications and engage influencers and customers. Now, more than ever, we know where they are.”

Analytics has been an increasingly important area for Weiss's company. This past spring, W2O Group purchased Austin, TX-based Ravel, an enterprise-grade analytics provider.

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