Wabash Blogs Immersion 2008: Marketing

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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.