Wabash Blogs Immersion 2008: Marketing -

March 07, 2008

Week in Review

Zac Simpson ’09 – So it’s the end of the week—where did spring break go? The Marketing Immersion Trip was not all I expected. Instead of long days of lecturing in a stuffy conference room, the time flew by and I learned a lot. Although I was skeptical of the idea of having fun with marketing in Carmel and Terre Haute/Mishawaka, the trip was centered on all parties involved having a great time.

 Today we wrapped up the experience by reviewing the basic terms at a snazzy hotel in Mishawaka—the place was like a complex dedicated to Notre Dame with a flavor all its own. After reviewing, we split into groups to put all we learned into a brief presentation on hypothetical business plans; there was a jewelry store, home repair business, day spa, and bait shop. The guys really put their creativity and some lofty ideals that could only be supported by an imaginary budget into action.  Everyone did a great job with the presentations and we were on the road home before we knew it.

 But back to the having fun… Throughout the week I had the sweet deal of observing the guys through a camera lens. The atmosphere was very laid back and for the most part, hilarious. Clever puns, quick quips, and questions only a Wally could muster on the fly. Mornings were made light by the collective effort of the group to make 9 am tolerable, especially when we tied the internet and popular culture into the mix. And the on-site visits were fun, namely the chocolate factory. It was like a how-its-made tour—and of course, we got to eat chocolate.

 Hindsight is twenty-twenty, but I think I will continue to look at the program in a good light. Roland and Lu exposed us to something we couldn’t get at Wabash, something that could really affect us in the long-term. Alumni fostered the ideals of Old Wabash by taking the time to give back to the students. I think we all we take note of that. However, it was the guys that participated in the program that made it a worthwhile experience—even if it we weren’t in Europe, or South America, or whatever.

Behind the lens, a picture at the College Football Hall of Fame's interactive theatre.

A favorite pic, Evan Isaacs in a I Love Lucy cut out.

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A Week Immersed in Marketing

Skip Tokar ’10 - Throughout the past week a small group of Wabash men, myself included, ventured to Carmel and Mishawaka Indiana to learn about Marketing. Every day we started at 9 am and spent a few quality hours in the classroom learning the basics of Marketing. Each of us was given a product that we would have for the week (some of the favorites included EXTREME chips, and Barbie cereal which was actually the best cereal I have ever tasted).We would then take our specific products and practice the marketing techniques, or bag of tricks, that we learned.    

After our morning sessions we would go out of our classroom and see marketing in action. Some of the week’s highlights included Andrew Snyder from St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center, Senor Koko’s talk at the South Bend Chocolate Company, The College Football Hall of Fame, Tim Craft, Mr. Zirkle at Just Marketing, and many others. After talking to all these experts we were able to see many different sides of marketing from corporate real-estate to racing to non profit organizations. By visiting this wide spectrum of different places we were able to see exactly how to implement the marketing strategies we learned in real world situations. Also we were able to meet many interesting Wabash alumni (another important lesson learned: NETWORKING).

On the final morning we got a chance to apply what we learned to make a Marketing plan for our own company. We split into 4 different groups each representing a specific company. The presentations were interesting, which included a super exclusive Asian Spa (at the low annual membership fee of 75k a year), a home repair service in Crawfordsville catered to high income families, a small independent Jewelry company trying to take on DeBeers, and a national Fishing and Bait supply company. In the end it was decided that the best company was the fishing supply company: Master Baits Fishing Supply Company (this group was coincidentally the best looking and most talented group).

 Overall this week was extremely fun and informative. We learned some of the more important aspects of Marketing and Business such as “Make a profit” and the importance of appearance. Everything that we learned will be important later in life, especially for those who want to start their own Consulting/Marketing firm down the road. I highly recommend this immersion trip to anyone interested in Marketing or Business at Wabash.

I also think I speak for everyone on the trip when I thank Roland Morin (our marketing guru), Lu Hamilton, and all the speakers who volunteered their time to talk to a bunch of Wabash men about marketing.  

The inside scoop at the South Bend Chocolate Factory, Skip dips a spoon in some chocolate.

Skip and his teammates present on a bait shop, coincidentally the 'best' and Skip's.


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March 06, 2008

Mixed Experiences with Marketing

Mark Thomas ’10 - Today was definitely an experience centered on marketing and possible problems.  The first person the group was able to meet with today was Andrew Snyder from St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in South Bend.  Besides having to wake up at 6:30am and drive 3 hours from Indianapolis, the visit was great, and I most certainly make the drive again for the experience.  The marketing campaign of the hospital was very unique in that it was built upon creating and targeting very distinct and precise segments in “Michiana” in attempts to increase awareness and volume for the hospital.  For example, Mr. Snyder spoke on how the marketing team would tailor their future video billboard located in downtown South Bend to certain segments in order to best accomplish their goals. For example, during the afternoon, they would advertise St. Joseph’s pediatric care in order to obtain interest form mothers while during rush hour advertise for orthopedics and cardiology for their business crowd.  This kind of target marketing has been very effective and has successfully made St. Joseph’s a primer healthcare facility in the “Michiana” region.  Also, by doing some business to business marketing with hospitals such as Riley, the marketing team as brought great brand awareness to their hospital. 

Another place we visited was the College Football Hall of Fame.  Even though the Hall was a great product, and the marketing strategies are seen to work, the Hall is unable to attract many visitors.  It was very interesting in trying to determine what kind of strategies, if any could work in getting people in the Hall.  

 Lastly, we visited the South Bend Chocolate Company.  This business has been very successful in marketing their product through various means.  The most interesting I saw was a magazine of the company which gave articles as well as catalogs of the chocolate product.  This is a great way of establishing your brand as well as selling the chocolate directly to the consumer via direct mail and magazine pick up.  This day was very eventful because it enabled me to see businesses thriving because of their marketing campaigns as well as some that possess a problematic strategy.               


Mark throws a few passes in the College Football Hall of Fame's skills area.

Chocolates pass by on a conveyor belt as Mark stops for a photo.

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Health, Football, and Chocolate

Mitch Rivers ’09 - We got up earlier than usual today in order to embark on a long trip from Indy to South Bend. I wasn’t too happy about waking up at 6:30 AM this morning for a three hour car-ride, but it really paid off later.

 When our group finally got to S.B., it was business as usual—in the board room of Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center, learning the ins and outs of a two million dollar annual marketing budget. SJMC uses extremely targeted marketing practices. Through segmenting consumers by age, sex, income and location SJMC implements strategic direct-mailing tactics and billboard advertisements. Almost every soccer-mom in the region is exposed to their pediatrics advertisements, while the middle-aged men are considering SJMC for their cardiological needs.

 After an informative session at SJMC the group headed over to the National College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend. We learned about the unique budget constraints placed on non-for-profit marketers—there is certainly no two-million dollar budget here! Non-for-profit marketers must operate primarily through public service announcements and sponsored events, because they can’t afford expensive television advertising. Marketing for the College Football Hall of Fame is especially challenged by its location—although the population of South Bend is very supportive of the Hall of Fame, they need a large flow of tourism to truly profit—and it is hard for a marketer to reach outside of S.B. without TV ads or other mass media.

 Just across the street from the College Football Hall of Fame is the very first brand of The South Bend Chocolate Company. The chocolate is seriously delicious. Really, it’s very good. I highly recommend their chocolate for personal consumption or gifting. Back to marketing…they are totally remodeling their first store to expand their selection and reinvent a family environment within the store. It’s genius—they have a store full of candy and a playground for sugar-high children to burn their energy. We also toured the S.B. Chocolate Company factory, which is a selling point in itself, because once you get a free sample, you’ll have to buy more.

 All in all it was a really great day, and it’s not over yet. Soon we’re going to eat at an establishment owned by one of Roland’s friends. I’m hungry, signing off.

Students gather in the College Football Hall of Fame's interactive theatre.

Students don hair-nets in preparation for an 'inside scoop' tour of the South Bend Chocolate Factory.

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Inside Track to Future Success

Alex Thompson ’08 - Today we had the opportunity to tour the College Football Hall of Fame and The South Bend Chocolate Factory, and Saint Joseph’s Regional Medical Center. The trips were fascinating, but I'd have to say that I got the most out of the College Football Hall of Fame. It was interesting to see how different marketing strategies are used by non-profit organizations like the Hall of Fame as compared to for-profits like the hospital.  It seems like they depend on a lot of public relations work (i.e. press releases and special events) in order to boost revenue.  

The week has a whole has been very educational.  I want to have my own marketing/consulting firm 5-7 years after graduation, and I feel like I gained the inside track in many respects (how to build your reputation, different types of services that agencies provide, etc.)  I would recommend this immersion for anyone who hopes to work in marketing, or is thinking about starting their own business. 

Andrew Snyder '83 describes SJRMC's marketing strategies.

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March 05, 2008

Creativity! Creativity! Creativity!

Michael Opeiczonek ’09 - By participating in the Marketing Immersion Trip, I have realized how important are the skills that a well-rounded student gains at a liberal arts college. In order to survive in the field of marketing you need to think critically and what I have learned so far tells me that your brain won’t be sitting idle while working on a marketing project. I have also learned that a successful marketer needs to be creative. I mean this field in major part is all about Creativity! Creativity! Creativity!

Today, we talked about internet marketing. You might think that creating a good and comprehensive website might be an easy task to do. Well, you need to use your creativity in order to generate one that would market your product in the best way to bring you profits. We had an exercise where in teams we had to come up with a proposal for a website marketing different products. My team had to craft one for a picture frame gallery. We thought that the best way to inform our customers about our frames would be to have a set-up of the website as a big frame and have a virtual 3D walking tour of the gallery where in different genres rooms you could pick your frame and customize your order.

Moreover, in the afternoon we visited the Just Marketing Company, an international firm that markets products, such as Direct TV or beer brands during car races. I was particularly interested in how they measure the impact of their marketing campaigns (stickers on the cars, displays, hot passes) on the return of investment for their client-firms. And I learned from that visit that the best way is to gather data on the clients and then look at the spikes in the sales of a given company that they were working for. For example, during NASCAR racing series Just Marketing would prepare a display of the product of their client. They would gather data on the fans who would sign up for free give-a-ways. Then, the impact of this marketing tactic would be compared with the changes in sales for that product over the period of time of the marketing campaign. We finished our visit to Just Marketing by taking pictures next to a car that we only know from the series of James Bond movies.

Opeiczonek pays attention to the advice of alumnus Wes Zirkle. 

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Trip Has Been EXTREMELY Interesting

Evan Isaacs ’10 - Working from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. after college is going to be a little bit more difficult than I expected. Other than the early mornings and nasty weather we’ve experienced, this Marketing Immersion Trip has been EXTREMELY interesting and entertaining. During the past 3 days there has been a short phrase that has been consistently reiterated each day: Make a profit! This seems to be the essential answer to anything in the marketing world, which obviously is…reasonable and understandable.

 Today, we visited Just Marketing, which only markets race cars (Indy and NASCAR). I found myself in awe while walking through the doors of the International Headquarters of Just Marketing even though I am not really a race fan. A real race car hanging from the wall, a colorful aquarium, and a couple of racers suits were a few of the first things I noticed as we entered the luxurious, yet laid back building. As we climbed up the stairs towards the meeting room, racing bombarded the atmosphere of this building. At the top of the stairs everyone was held up due to the Ashton Martin sitting in the garage that we overlooked from the office building. Mr. Zirkle (Wabash Alumnus) greeted us with a variety of cookies and FIJI water, which in my opinion is the best way to start any meeting. Mr. Zirkle and a few of the workers at Just Marketing spoke to us for some time, giving us plenty of background and advice for going into the sports marketing field.

 I know I might not have chosen the best Immersion trip due to location, but other than the crappy weather and long days I have learned a lot in this crash course to Marketing. I also know that this networking and learning experience will directly help me in my future endeavors.

Top: An Indy car hangs on the lobby wall of Just Marketing.

At Right: Students (Crum '08, Thomas, Isaacs, and Tokar -'09) engaged in the round table discussion with Just Marketing execs.

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