Release Date: 12/17/2013
Students in Professor Deborah Sisson's Promotion Strategies class had the opportunity to put theory to practice during the Fall 2013 Semester as they competed to develop a marketing campaign for the Clarksville-Johnson County Chamber of Commerce.
Sisson, assistant professor of marketing and business, divided the upper level marketing class into three teams of five students. The teams competed against each other to develop a promotional campaign for the Peach Festival, a long-time summer tradition in Johnson County. The teams spent the entire semester producing a comprehensive marketing plan aimed at increasing attendance and awareness for the festival.
At the end of the semester, each team had an opportunity to present their proposals to chamber officials. On the final day of class, Dec. 16, Chamber of Commerce Director Gina Wilkins announced that the team of AdMaze had won the competition as well as the $500 cash prize that came with it.
The winning team of AdMaze poses with Clarksville-Johnson County Chamber Director Gina Wilkins (third from left) following the announcement that they had won the Promotion Strategies class competition to develop a marketing campaign for the Johnson County Peach Festival. Members of the winning team included, (from left) Kylee Firkins, Mario Lopez, Stephanie Figueroa, Karina Calderon and Chris McIntyre.
AdMaze was made up of five senior marketing and management majors: Karina Calderon of Guatemala, Chris McIntyre of Dallas, Kylee Firkins of Clarksville, Mario Lopez of El Salvador and Stephanie Figueroa of Honduras.
The five students developed a marketing plan for the Peach Festival that included original logos, print advertising, pamphlets, social media, a mock website and radio ads.
"It was really a tough decision because all three of the campaigns had a lot of good things," said Wilkins. "In the end, AdMaze's proposal stood out because of the detail and depth of their campaign. They were really specific with their mission for the campaign and how it could make an impact. And, they had so much enthusiasm in pitching their campaign."
One of the first steps the students had to do was research on the Peach Festival, which was started in 1938 and is one of the longest-running festivals in the state.
"It was a little difficult at first because we knew nothing about the festival, so we did a lot of research and talked to a lot of people," said Lopez. "As we learned more about the festival, the ideas started coming."
AdMaze focused their campaign on attracting more young families to the festival, thus the emphasis on social media.
"We were working with a limited budget and we wanted to reach younger people, so social media seemed like a perfect fit," Figueroa said. "We developed a social media campaign that emphasized Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the website because those are the methods to reach younger people at a more cost-effective manner."
Each student worked on a different aspect of the campaign, and then they worked together as a team to make their ideas mesh.
"I was real proud of the entire group and how well we worked together," McIntyre said. "It can be tricky sometimes to bring all the ideas together into a campaign to make it work, but it really went pretty smoothly."
The members of AdMaze said they felt they had a strong proposal, but they also knew their competition was strong.
"We felt we had given it our best shot, but we knew the other teams were strong as well," Lopez said. "It's a great feeling when we heard our name called. To be able to work on a real-world project in the area that is our passion, marketing, is a great feeling."
Wilkins said the chamber plans to utilize ideas from all three of the teams in their efforts to promote the festival. While members of the winning team each received $100, students from the other two teams received gift cards to a local coffee house from the chamber.
"I am very proud of all three teams," Sisson said. "They really put forth a great effort and came up with some innovative and effective ways to help the Chamber. Most importantly, they learned what it's like to work on a real project and to see how the process works. It's a win-win situation for both our students and the chamber."