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AMA x Startup Marketing Panel

Updated: Mar 5, 2021

Last night, UMD AMA had the honor to host a diverse group of founders and marketing executives for a lively startup marketing panel discussion. The panel members included Ali Von Paris, UMD alumna, founder and CEO of Route One Apparel, Michelle Fang, CMO at Dive Chat, and Michelle Poole, Vice President of Marketing at EyePoint Pharmaceuticals.


All panelists shared valuable insight in various topics, including how they segmented and targeted their respective markets, how the pandemic has pivoted their business operations, and advice for future entrepreneurs and marketers.


Dive Chat is a Gen Z group messaging app that helps college students connect with their peers and communities on campus. When Fang was creating Dive Chat, she wanted an app that was created for students, by students, so she carefully crafted messages and visuals that would resonate with her company’s target market. For Poole, she states that much of EyePoint Pharmaceuticals’ targeting and segmenting starts very early in the clinical process. Starting early ensures that her organization creates a product that meets the needs of its customers and is also profitable for the company.


When asked how the pandemic affected how they reach customers, Von Paris shared that at first, she did not believe that customers would want to continue purchasing Maryland apparel. But a big part of her success is due to listening to her customers’ needs and wants. She utilized social listening to make a myriad of viral products that were well received by her customers. Not wanting to take advantage of the pandemic, she decided to give back to others and donated 200,000 facemasks to her community and contributed a portion of her sales to charities.


If you’re considering starting a business, Fang recommends students take their idea and start running with it because you’ll always wish that you had started earlier. Similarly, Von Paris shares that self-doubt is the only thing that will hold you back from succeeding and that you don’t have to invent something brand new; it just has to be unique or innovative. And lastly, Poole advises students not to be afraid to take risks because it can either be rewarding or allow them to learn something they didn’t know before.


AMA extends their gratitude to the three panelists, Ali Von Paris, Michelle Fang, and Michelle Poole, for sharing their expertise with our members. We are also thankful for all the members who joined us and posed thoughtful questions for the panelists.


-Melanie Rojas


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