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Bentley Students Keep Converse a Step Ahead
Little feet pushed Bentley undergraduate students to take big steps as they prepared marketing strategies for Converse Kids’ $125M business. Recommendations were presented directly to the footwear company’s Product Creation Team using iBook.
“We came to students with real questions that we wanted answered, and they worked diligently to provide those,” says John “Spud” Foti, senior product testing manager at Converse.
Among the questions: What are consumer perceptions of Converse? Is the company exceeding their footwear needs? How will consumers influence future product creation?
Student teams were specifically charged with developing campaigns to help connect Converse to consumers in three separate age groups: zero to four, five to 12, and 13 to 18. This included exploring the role of social media, parents and celebrity endorsements.
“My team’s age group was 13 to 18, which was challenging because there are significant differences in the top and bottom of this age range,” says Marketing major Melissa Sanchez ‘14. “We looked at the entire group on a few different levels to see the difference between a 13 year old customer and an 18 year old customer. It was fascinating to learn what drives teen consumers to make a purchase.”
At least one member of the Converse team attended class each week to share knowledge of key marketing issues and uses of appropriate marketing technology. Visiting Converse headquarters helped students gain traction as they learned how sneakers are developed and met with the company’s Product Creation Team. Focus groups were conducted in Bentley’s Center for Marketing Technology (CMT) to research aspects like important performance features, brand perception and purchasing power.
“Students applied available secondary and field-based market research approaches to make informed marketing decisions and develop successful campaigns,” says Ian Cross, CMT director who teaches the Corporate Immersion Marketing class.
Cutting-edge Apple solutions — iPads, iTunesU, iLife, IWorks and IBook Author — facilitated learning aspects such as working in teams, creating and sharing content, and publishing information in class and remotely. Drop Box was used to communicate different mini-assignments.
“This was by far my favorite class at Bentley,” Sanchez recalls of the spring semester course. “Using modern technology to present real-world findings for a successful company like Converse makes such a difference in learning. It is a great motivator for students to do their best work knowing that Converse is taking such an interest in their findings.”
BENTLEY UNIVERSITY is one of the nation’s leading business schools, dedicated to preparing a new kind of business leader – one with the deep technical skills, broad global perspective, and high ethical standards required to make a difference in an ever-changing world. Our rich, diverse arts and sciences program, combined with an advanced business curriculum, prepares informed professionals who make an impact in their chosen fields. Located on a classic New England campus minutes from Boston, Bentley is a dynamic community of leaders, scholars and creative thinkers. The Graduate School emphasizes the impact of technology on business practice, in offerings that include MBA and Master of Science programs, PhD programs in accountancy and in business, and customized executive education programs. The university enrolls approximately 4,100 full-time undergraduate, 140 adult part-time undergraduate, 1,430 graduate, and 43 doctoral students. Bentley is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges; AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; and the European Quality Improvement System, which benchmarks quality in management and business education. For more information, please visit www.bentley.edu.
Bentley University’s Co-Provost and Dean of Arts and Sciences Daniel Everett talked with us recently about a wide range of topics, including being featured in a new book by Tom Wolfe, two of his own upcoming books, the importance of studying the origins of language, and the value of a fusion approach to business education.