Wabash Blogs Marketing Immersion 2006


March 10, 2006

Friday, March 10

Pat Patterson - After a crazy night of surfing, wet t-shirt contests, and consuming copious amounts of alcohol, I awoke from my dream to yet another day of our brief marketing “school”. I was not too reluctant to get out of bed because the day was going to be a relatively short one. We were to have one more guest speaker and then an overall wrap-up of the course.

The day began with a debriefing from the South Bend visit to the College Football Hall of Fame. Although the exhibit was not able to attract many visitors, I was impressed by the marketing strategy and effort on the part of the director of marketing, Katie Berrettini. Also, I am going to exercise my own marketing ability by suggesting a visit the College Football Hall of Fame. It is actually very fascinating, and there is a small portion devoted to the rivalry between Wabash and DePauw. Therefore, everyone needs to go. That is all.

After our debriefing we listened to a speech on branding from Tom Vriesman, Vice President of Rowland Associates. The company promoted the sales of Herman the customers Miller furniture. In order to differentiate themselves from other furniture companies, they relied on customer intimacy to sell their products. 40% of the interior of the stores consisted of a lounge area and a café where the sales associates were able to get to know their customers in order to have a better idea of the furniture they believed suited the customers best. I found this approach to be unique and quite effective.

At the end of the course the last concept that we learned about was sales and, the importance of looking at each buyer individually to target and meet their needs. To go along with this concept, Ken Turchi took the time to teach us how to “sell” ourselves. We learned how to prepare and present ourselves for interviews that we may have in the future. I am glad that Ken was able to take the time to do so since that information will prove to be very beneficial in the years to come.

Before we left the conference room for good, we filled out a course evaluation. I gave the course a failing grade because one restaurant we ate in failed to provide me with a root beer float. Of course I am just messing around. I really enjoyed the brief marketing “school” and I think that it is great that Wabash has these kinds of opportunities in a liberal arts college. Instead of absorbing sun rays, I absorbed a lot of beneficial information on a topic that I am particularly interested in. On one of the first days of classes Ken told us that when we apply for internships or jobs we need to ask ourselves what it is that we can do. I wrote it several times in my notebook “what can I do?” The answer for now is that I can do a lot more now that I had taken the time to be a part of the marketing trip.

The End

Kevin Wasie - So, you ask why any college student would give up their precious spring break to study marketing in the middle of Indiana, Well … So do I, because I’m still not sure what made me make that decision. Maybe it was the prospect of getting to know some alumni; maybe it was the thought of learning material not available for study here at Wabash; or maybe it was the idea that if I’m not doing it then someone else will be. Either way, it was worth it.

After spending our Thursday night at the College Football Hall of Fame, we met up with Ken on Friday at 9:00 AM to debrief. As we found out from Katie Barrentini, Director of Marketing at the CFHOF, they were not doing nearly as well as their sales numbers projected. However, after discussing this issue in the debrief, most of us agree that in face of all of the obstacles, the marketing department is doing a fantastic job. It is not easy to deal with a low budget on the hopes of obtaining higher sales numbers.

After debriefing, we were met by the Vice President of Rowland Associates, Tom Vriesman. While at his previous job for Herman Miller, Tom was highly involved in the creation of a brand market strategy for their National Design Centers and Dealers. It was apparent from his presentation how influential the philosophy and vision of the company is on the products and services. For instance, Tom told us how their sales strategy is related to biblical ideology of listening to the client, and then consulting. This philosophy is apparent in every single detail of their dealer locations which are built around finding out what is best for the client, and then helping them select it.

When Tom was finished with his presentation we moved onto the last exercise of the marketing trip, evaluating our own brand image. As Ken says, it is important to know how you will act and what you will say before going into any interview. This may sound very simple, but when we were put to the challenge, we found it to be a difficult task.

Moving onto one more administrative detail, we filled out a survey to gauge the success and/or failures of this year’s trip. In order to improve upon this year, Lu and Ken will look into these results and make necessary changes.

It's All Coming Together

Teye Morton - Thursday marked the penultimate day of trip. It has really been a rewarding experience. I don’t think I have spent this much time traveling around any city – I must add that midnight excursions at the end of a long day can be very counterproductive. Thursday began on a high note as the group leader, Ken Turchi, gave us an extra hour of sleep after returning from out interview with Scott Smalstig the night before. Who isn’t happy when an 8 a.m. is canceled? We also had a substantially smaller volume of reading to do from Wednesday. See Thursday photo album here.

The morning session started with the usual debriefing, where we looked at marketing focus Joseph David Marketing had developed for one of its clients. The account was aimed at reaching a very exclusive portion of the population through a variety of advertising media. Joseph David Marketing’s pitch for this job looked very impressive and was the platform from which we launched today’s main theme of how various media are used to market a product to consumers. We focused primarily on the magazine and editorial publications and how they performed a service to marketers and readers through an interesting marriage between journalistic content and effective advertising which is the primary source of revenue for such periodicals.

Helen O’Guinn was the person who presented this topic. As the editor of Endless Vacation, she has the responsibility of bringing out a travel and tour focused magazine that informs readers about various locations and attractions to consider if they are planning a vacation. She came in to talk about how marketing affects her activities as an editor of an opinion magazine that had that was strategically placed to market the leisure industry – hotels and vacation spots. We also looked at how certain publication do not marry this combination in a very ethical way by “reporting” on only businesses that  pay for their press, in short making no clear distinction between advertisers and real content. It was interesting to see how she managed the objective of actually performing her journalistic responsibility of giving an unbiased opinion of the various places she had to visit, whilst remaining surrounded by the splendor of various vacation spots she has to visit to gain a fair knowledge for her job.
In the same spirit of the discussion we had in the morning, we spent time looking at how the Indiana State government advertised various locations across Indiana. It was interesting to note that the main tourism map that the state released required various sites to pay to be included when marketing Indiana should be a public service. This was analogous to papers requiring payment before even a mention of a product or company is given. Imagine if the Wall Street journal required a financial contribution before it ran an article that mentioned your business. The implication of this fact is that a business that isn’t in a very strong financial situation and that requires a large advertising scope would face a big problem because wide spread coverage would be hard to get.

We met with such a business later on in the day as we made a trip to South Bend. The College Football Hall of Fame provided a case study of a business that was facing a marketing hurdle of getting customers from all over the country to come and see their museum. We had the chance to discuss some of the challenges a marketing director faces. Katie Berrettini, the director of marketing, is in charge of drawing crowds and creating events that facilitate this goal. The business she joined was facing many challenges just breaking even. It had essentially fallen on her to turn their fortunes around by making an effective campaign that would draw people in. 3 days into our immersion trip and I was now able to start getting some of the concepts and strategies that someone involved in marketing would prepare for as they thought of ways to do such a job. Most of the challenges and strategies we were able to brainstorm within the space of an hour we dead on the concepts she came to the business with.

To cap off the day, we were entertained to another “lavish” meal by our facilitator, Lu (thanks). We met up with three alums and I had the privilege to sit by one of those gracious alums. Roland Morin ’91, another marketing success story, had many stories about his travels and his successes as a marketer. The many stories he had about his days at the college also gave me a little hope that there are better days for the big WC in the near future.

I guess at the end of the day the one thing I could take away from this whole trip has been the two fold realization that as a marketing professional, you have to be ready to find the best match for your customer, whether it is a multimillion dollar establishment that wishes to reach a niche clientele or a struggling business that has few resources available that wants you to create their business miracle.

Marketing Director Trying to Build Attendance

Pat Maguire - The events of the fourth day began with a visit from Helen Guinn. Helen is a freelance travel writer who is also an author of several books about day trips in Indiana. As the former editor of several Indiana travel publications, she provided great insight into the ethical struggle between advertising and editorial publishing.  Publishers are often under pressure to run an article about a company that has purchased advertising space. She often had to reject articles featuring advertised resorts, hotels, or other travel destinations in the interest of her readers.   

After yet another free lunch, we headed north to the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend. The CFHOF is an interesting case study because it is located in the mecca of college football, Notre Dame - (Charlie Weiss for president), but they cannot get anyone to attend the museum. We found that while marketing ideas for the CFHOF are endless, their marketing budget is not. They simply are hindered in their marketing capabilities by a continuously shrinking budget.  We did find however, that the somewhat new (5 years) marketing director, Katie Berrettini, is developing many new marketing strategies that is taking the Hall of Fame in the right direction.

March 09, 2006

Marketing Immersion - In Parts!

Jon Paul Patterson - It is currently 1:09 p.m. according to my watch and we’re on the road to South Bend. I’ve decided to do my post in two parts. The first part will be my reflections on the morning and my second will be done during my trip back from South Bend. Unfortunately, there’s not much to do on the trips. These aren’t like those summer camp trips that you took on the busses driven by one of the bearded camp counselors who also led the typical asphalt carols such that we all remember. However, Goga’s pumping Queen through the van speakers with his iPod.  I’ll take an iPod over “Wheels on the Bus” any day.

 Part 1

Today’s main theme is the complex collection of target markets arranged under the heading travel and leisure. This tied in well with yesterday’s advertising visit to Joseph David Advertising. Yesterday we saw how JDA is advertising Sea Island resorts to an extremely small niche market. Today we learned it from the travel magazine and guide aspect. It makes sense that advertisers need magazines to have channels to their audience while magazines need their advertisers to help pay for their production.  

Helen O’Guinn, a former editor of many travel-specific magazines discussed with us some of the ins-and-outs of marketing destinations of travel.  It was especiallyg to hear that it’s not just about what a place has to offer, but how it markets those places to different demographics of people.  An example that was discussed was the rise and fall of Las Vegas as a family destination.  We also talked about trend in the market known as the “ad”itorial, or when a magazine’s article is in such high praise of a destination that it seems to be an advertisement for it (which is often the case).  

It was a very productive morning session, but I think I’m going to use the rest of the trip time in the best way I know how—nap time. I’m looking forward to “experiencing” history of college football. Until we get there, ZZZzzzzzz…

Part 2

It is currently 8:31 p.m. and I really can say that I had a great time in South Bend. We had a great tour of the College Football Hall of Fame. It has a lot more to offer than you would initially believe. We toured the facility with Katie Berrettini, the Hall’s Director of Marketing and I actually found that Wabash is represented in the Hall of Fame.  His name is Century "Wally" Milstead.  He played offensive line for Wabash from 1920-1921 and then transferred to Yale.  You can read more about him here: http://www.collegefootball.org/famersearch.php?id=20107.  However, I think it’s about time to double that number by getting Pete Metzelaars in as well.

After the tour we discussed the different marketing strategies the Hall has used to try to bolster its attendance both during Notre Dame’s football season and the off-season. Being a not-for-profit, they rely heavily on free advertising donated by schools and the NCAA. Yet, their methods seem to be steering attendance in a positive direction. 

Well I think I’m going to wrap it up.  And just because I know she checks the website regularly, 'Hi, mom.'  Thank you to all who made this trip possible, it has been even better than advertised.

March 08, 2006

Wabash Network Really Pays Off

Matt Kanter - Today we opened with Bill Lovejoy, Senior Account Director for 2Fold ad agency based in Indianapolis. He discussed the finer points of product placement in a particular market and how this strategically important aspect for a product’s success can easily get overlooked by a company when formulating a marketing plan. We debriefed the subject over the following couple hours with Ken (Turchi) toying with ideas and developing strategies for various companies who could better appeal to their markets and therefore improve their business overall. See Wednesday photo album here.

Following lunch, we headed north to Muncie to visit Scott Smalstig ’88, President, Creative Director, and co-owner of joseph david advertising, a spin-off company from Rutter Communications. 

We knew Scott had an exciting afternoon planned when he greeted our group donning his Sphinx Club candy stripes accompanied by a navy sportcoat. I will admit he did not disappoint. After introductions and a company history overview, Scott familiarized us with a client his company currently represents, Sea Island Resorts, and had us, a group of college undergrads, develop an effective marketing strategy for that company!  It was an amazing experience putting the principles we learned over the past three days into real life practice and then compare it to how a multimillion dollar company handled the situation themselves, while receiving feedback and advice from Scott, that particular company’s president, the entire time. 

You have got to love the Wabash network.

In photo: Kanter listens to Ben Gonzalez make a point.

Product Placement, Computers and Muncie

Nick Hunter - This morning, Bill Lovejoy spoke to us about the various ways to get a brand or product out in the market. Bill works for 2Fold, a division of Borshof, Johnson, and Matthews. He covered a multitude of topics from obvious product placement to more subtle methods. It was a great insight into the specifics of how a company gets products out there aside from the traditional 30 second television spot. I learned that though they probably won’t ever become obsolete, the 30 second spots are less and less appealing to companies as a result of technological advancements like TIVO and the increased use of the world wide web.

After lunch, we wrapped up our discussion on product differentiation with a specific case example involving computers. Unfortunately, I don’t know the first thing about computers, but because of what we had learned that day, I was able to pull some things together to participate.

The highlight of the day was our trip to Muncie and our visit to Joseph David Advertising, a marketing/advertising firm run by two Wabash alums. Scott Smalstig, the company president, gave us our first hands-on experience in marketing. He started off by getting our input on a few direct mail pieces aimed at Wabash alums. After that, he let us have access to one of the projects he was working on: Sea Island Resorts. It’s a project for getting the nation’s financial elite into a private community on Georgia’s coastline. As Mr. Smalstig led us through this project, we got a glimpse of what marketing/advertising is like when applied in the “real world”, outside of the textbooks. Following this, we went out to a relatively nice restaurant downtown Muncie where we got to know Mr. Smalstig better in addition to discussing the concepts and ideas we had learned that day.

In photos: Above left, Nick Hunter (far left) discusses morning session with other students. Lower right: One of the flyers aimed at Wabash alums in business.

A Day of Learning, and Long Ride Home

John Holmes - The day started promptly at 8:17 today when Mr. Bill Lovejoy came in to talk to us about his former job working with Sears marketing. He talked about activation, a marketing term used to describe product placement and advertisement in television shows. Such examples are the cups of Coca-Cola in front of the judges on American Idol, to calling on Cingular cellular phones to vote for your favorite contestant. 

What Mr. Lovejoy did in his job was incorporate the Sears brand into the show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” From a Sears truck backing into the driveway of a house the crew was remodeling to the cast shopping at Sears for the tools, linens, and appliances needed to renovate, Mr. Lovejoy made sure Sears was represented.

After further classroom lecture we prepared questions for our next trip, Joseph David Advertising.  Driving up to Muncie, we met with Joseph David Advertising president, and Wabash Alum, Mr. Scott Smalstig.  Mr. Smalstig was very enthusiastic about our group being there, greeting us in a pair of Spinx Club red and white striped overalls. 

During our meeting there, we got to preview some of the marketing that JDA does for itself. Also, Mr. Smalstig led us in depth through one of the projects that his firm was working on. Sea Island resorts, a hotel/real estate company in Georgia, hired JDA to do its marketing. A very elite company, Sea Island Resorts was selling lots starting at $1.25 million and offered one of its hotels for a mere $795 a night. What we went over were the demographics of the consumers that would be interested in these investments and in what forums we could market Sea Island. 

This experiment was very thorough as well as educational.  The whole group learned important aspects of marketing on this trip as well as had a great time with an alumnus. 

After that the group went to dinner with Mr. Smalstig and other alumni at Vera Mae’s bistro, where we indulged in many delicious dishes. The service was great, and the four course meal was absolutely delicious. The long day finally over, we headed back to the hotel. While on the way back to the hotel, I was told to write this in the car. I do not think that it was taken into consideration the facts that it’s dark and I can’t see the keys, that the van is really bouncy so I have more typos than a second grader, the screen shakes like there is an earthquake and that after a four-course meal, car sickness is starting to be a factor. Plus after all that Coffee and Pepsi I drank at the restaurant, I really have to use the restroom.

Group Studies Marketing Segmentation

Benjamin Ray Gonzalez Jr. - Today the main focus was on marketing segmentation and target marketing. In addition, the concept of marketing myopia was also discussed as a failure of effective target marketing and marketing segmentation. The recurring them in today’s discussion was how to execute both target marketing and marketing segmentation successfully to avoid failure and profit losses.

Target marketing was defined as the motive for marketing segmentation. Companies can no longer mass marketing because consumers are becoming more secularized. For example, the laundry detergent lines of Proctor and Gamble, they market Cheer as the detergent with color guard and Tide as the all purpose stain and grease remover.  What is interesting is that P & G owns Cheer, Tide, All, Bold, Gain, and Era. The reason why P & G is able to maintain fifty-seven percent profits in the detergent market is because of their marketing techniques.  P & G marketers have been able to highlight one feature of each detergent and make it the detergent’s sole purpose. This method curves away from the failure of mass marketing. (See Tuesday photo album.)

We also learned that demographic segmentation was the most popular form of marketing segmentation.  The effectiveness was short-lived because consumers could be marketed to by ideology. The solution created is psychographic marketing, adding a personal rapport and appeal to the product being marketed. Psychographic marketing advertise a certain lifestyle and ideology.  An example is the automotive industry, recent Ford Mustang commercials appeal to and independent and untamed spirit.  The Mach 1, Cobra, and Mustang logos have also remained unchanged in order to encompass the baby boomer generation that was first introduced to the Mustang and the modern designs attract the younger customers.  Another example was Mr. Kocal with the Indianapolis symphony.  He expressed the gamble that would be taken in marketing towards different audiences, they would be prone to losing their loyal customers.  These ads were able to bridge two very different generations by marketing and idea with a car and adding the personal relationship by presenting the modernized features of the car along with the classic mystic of it.

The main flaw of most large companies is marketing myopia. An article by Dr. Theodore Levitt described marketing myopia as a process when companies over invest in product development. The main example used was the Kodak film company. Kodak over emphasized its rivalry with competitor Fuji film, hence it ignored its customers needs and this allowed unanticipated competitors to take over the market. Digital cameras took over the market and the primary pioneers were Canon and Olympus, not Fuji. In fact, Kodak concentrated most of its product development on conventional film; it released the Advantix film line a few years ago.  Advantix was a type of film that did not need to be loaded; it proved useless in competition with digital cameras.  Marketing myopia occurs when companies become incredibly introverted. 

The most important lesson learned today in marketing was that marketing is successful when tailored to the desires of the customers.  Companies and individuals cannot get caught up in competition because there will be unnoticed innovations in the market.  The trick is to keep the customers satisfied and the way to do that is to effectively market products.

March 07, 2006

Full Day With Class, Pacers Visit

Kyle Greaves - After an exciting, event-filled, fun packed first day, and a night of heavy reading, day two of the trip began late, as sleep-deprived students strolled in a little late. After the slow start, the day picked up in speed fast with the arrival of our first guest speaker, Chuck Kocal.

Kocal spent an hour enlightening the immersion group about how companies segment markets into categories. There are a few main categories he led us in a discussion about: demographics, psychographics, and geographic regions. After the lecture with Chuck, Ken Turchi, Wabash graduate and group co-leader alongside Lu Hamilton, recaptured the group and led us in a debriefing of the previous night's reading, as well as Mr. Kocal’s lecture.

During the debriefing and a case study about the Hummer SUV, the group broke for a pizza lunch. The lunch was followed by continued discussion and preparation for the trip to Conseco Fieldhouse, the Pacers' basketball stadium. We left for the stadium and a short drive down Meridian later, we arrived at the Conseco Fieldhouse. There we were led to a conference room to have a chat with the leader of all marketing that takes place in the field house, including all basketball events. We learned that there are many sides to the marketing, but the team uses many of the segmentations we learned about in the morning to help distribute advertisements to key areas with high chance of purchasing season tickets, which is their main focus for advertising.

Jim Johnson opened to Q&A, and I proceeded to ask something anyone reading this probably is hoping to learn: “What steps did you take, or recommend someone to take, to get into sports marketing, especially at such a high level as with the Pacers?” He suggested to take any sports internship available, pursue any internship around the sports or marketing environment, even if it isn’t the particular aspect you want to pursue. RUB ELBOWS and create as much of a network as possible. He continued by suggesting very interested seekers to jump into the company at a low level such as ticket sales. Most of the serious employees starting in sales, who prove they are committed and are good salesmen, get the chance to advance their career and move up the rankings.

Re-stressing: Get any internship you can related to the field, volunteer if no internship is available, network as much as possible, talk to everyone and rub elbows with anyone who might be able to mentor or help along your career path.

After the awesome session, Ken Turchi left the group for the evening, and the students proceeded to Hooters for dinner. After dinner and Pat Patterson’s “birthday” at Hooters, we proceed back to the Conseco Fieldhouse for our free Pacers game, which undoubtedly was in the nosebleed section. An amazing day and looking forward to the rest of the trip.

In photo: Johnson talks about marketing plans for the Indiana Fever.

Marketing Immersion - Day 1


Driving the big van is a lot of fun, but I am still getting the hang of it.

Alex Goga '08 - A cold Monday morning… The journey started on the Wabash campus with Ben Gonzales and me picking up the minivan and van, respectively, which were to provide us with transportation for the week.

Most of the time we spent in the "classroom" looked like this.

The theme of the day was coffee. After talking about Starbucks and their "value proposition,” we proceeded to talk about a local coffee shop, Monon Coffee Company and how they compete with Starbucks.

The day was filled with marketing brainstorming sessions which ended up with great product ideas. Among these: a Starbucks travel mug with an embedded bar code to double as a store gift card and an underwater restaurant. We analyzed how Starbucks can use its development funds better, by focusing on improving their current locations rather than continuing to open new ones in an ever-accelerated rate. We also managed to find quite a few pieces of advice for William, the owner of Monon Coffee Company in Broad Ripple, to help him grow his business and continue to compete with other coffee shops including the Starbucks franchise.

We had quite an educational chat with the owner of the Monon Coffee Company.

Our visit to Monon Coffee Company was very enjoyable and I would recommend the warm-filled atmosphere this unique coffee shop has to offer to anyone looking for an intimate place to socialize and enjoy great coffee.

After the visit, we talked more about "experience economy" and particularly how to offer a product as a service rather than a commodity. We talked about marketing an experience rather than a consumer good in the context of a visit to a restaurant, a theme park or any other location that offers more than something tangible to be consumed physically.

Definitely stop by this place when you're around the North Side of Indy.

It's right on the Monon Trail!

Max and Erma's is a nice Cafe. The food was good.
We haven't tried the coffee though. We had enough coffee for one day.

After this quite long first day, we got the evening off. After I went to pick-up my car from Crawfordsville, Teye and I went to yet another café, for a late dinner.

The first day of the Marketing Immersion was truly captivating and a great start to five-days of a marketing crash-course.Make sure you do not miss the pictures from Day 1!

March 06, 2006

Monday March 06, 2006

By: Stephen Dewart


Surviving on less than four hours of sleep, after driving down from snowy Chicago last night, I wasn’t sure how useful I’d be during the first day of our Marketing Immersion Program. At 8 o’clock this morning, I and 12 other Wabash students – daring to be different from our Daytona- and Cabo-bound counterparts – began a five-day-long quest to uncover the intricacies of marketing.

Our leader, Ken Turchi – a Wabash grad turned attorney turned strategist and consultant – began with an introduction to marketing structure. We reviewed key marketing terms and outlined the many components of the marketing world. This led us to a case study on coffee giant Starbucks Inc. Ken challenged us to devise new ideas for Starbucks’ business model, including its ongoing challenge to differentiate itself in an increasingly competitive market. My group, in particular, proposed a “re-invigoration” of the Starbucks brand: how to preserve and enhance the Starbucks experience for existing and new customers, in keeping with Starbucks’ vision for the future.

In order to compare and contrast the Starbucks model to that of other coffee companies, we visited Monon Coffee Company. William Powell, owner of the quaint Broad Ripple shop, met with us and gave a briefing on his company’s position in the service, goods, and experience sector of his business. According to William, the separator between Monon Coffee Company and Starbucks is the experience in which guests of Monon partake while visiting the independently operated coffee shop. Met by a friendly staff, customized coffee bean compositions, and a unique gallery of art, it is no wonder why the small shop attracts many Monon trial riders for a great tasting beverage or sandwich.

After arriving back at the hotel, students debriefed on the idea of an experience economy and its relation to our own experiences in business. Lending itself to the mission statement of Wabash College, students were once again challenged to think critically, ask questions, and formulate our own conclusions about many companies strategic approach to marketing.

Tomorrow we will talk about creating a competitive advantage, visit the Conseco field house, and attend a pacers game.

And tonight, I’ll catch up on my much-needed rest!