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Students Step Up Their Marketing Game
This article originally appeared in the Bentley Magazine.
Corporate immersion courses bring marketing problems from real organizations into the classroom. Founded by Perry Lowe, senior lecturer in marketing, the offerings have been a hallmark of the Bentley curriculum for more than 20 years. Last fall, online retailer ShoeBuy kicked up the commitment with two concurrent projects.
Marketing strategies for different shoe categories
WHO 45 students in the Corporate Immersion Emerging Leaders MBA course, including (pictured above, clockwise from center) Stella St. Hubert, MBA ’17; Mustafa Merchant ’15, MBA ’17; Bayley Dietz ’16, MBA ’17; John McKenna, MBA ’17; and Khoi Vo, MBA ’17.
CHALLENGE Develop market segmentation strategies for specific shoe categories such as comfort, outdoor, run and wellness shops
APPROACH Worked in teams of five or six to conduct market research through surveys and focus groups. Analyzed data to develop a targeted marketing strategy with actionable takeaways. Used writing and speaking skills to present possible outcomes to executives.
RESULTS Learned to make tough decisions in data manipulation and gained confidence to get on stage and pitch ideas to company executives. Their strategies and market research informed discussion at weekly meetings of ShoeBuy executives.
BIGGEST SURPRISE Having only five minutes to present findings to executives at the end of each week. “If we didn’t finish in time, a buzzer would go off and that would be the end of the presentation,” says team member Bayley Dietz. “It definitely taught us how to get to our main point immediately.”
Marketing plan for luxury footwear and apparel line
WHO Six students in a directed study course led by faculty member Perry Lowe
CHALLENGE Develop a comprehensive, actionable marketing plan for ELEVTD, a luxury footwear and apparel sister site of ShoeBuy that launched in fall 2016. Meet weekly with Vice President of Brand Marketing and Creative Alex Proelss, MSMA ’11 to get real-time feedback.
APPROACH Identified new target markets using customer demographics and behavior patterns. Analyzed the website’s design, functionality and user experience. Recommended future brand promotion opportunities and social media campaigns.
RESULTS Presented findings to CEO and employees at ShoeBuy headquarters in down-town Boston. Proelss credits the students for generating valuable ideas about how to stay relevant to their target customer, while growing brand awareness and business as a whole.
BIGGEST SURPRISE How quickly projects can change direction. “When we get an assignment in a regular class setting, it’s rare that parameters change before it’s due,” says Amanda McCormick ’17, pictured above at right, with Ana Tatum ’17 (left) and Monica Redondo Moro ’19 (center). “With ShoeBuy, we were constantly given new, up-to-date information that would influence the course of our project. We really had to be flexible.”
U.S. News & World Report ranked Bentley No. 2 among regional universities in New England and the Mid-Atlantic states, up from No. 3 last year, highlighting Bentley’s high-quality faculty and academic programs along with the strong value that students receive from a Bentley education.