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Students' marketing plan impresses Rotary bosses

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Public presentations can be nerve-wracking at the best of times. So, imagine presenting your marketing ideas to a business leader like former head of Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) Brett O’Reilly.

That was the challenge faced by a number of Massey business students when completing their marketing consultancy project, the capstone course in the Bachelor of Business marketing major.

As the current president of Auckland Rotary, Mr O’Reilly was part of a client panel that also included Tony Caughey, chairman of iconic department store Smith + Caughey’s . The students had been tasked with creating a marketing plan to boost membership in the run-up to Auckland Rotary’s 100th anniversary celebrations in 2021.

Each group presented a completed marketing plan before being grilled by the Auckland Rotary panel. The organisation then chose a winning plan, praising the team for the huge effort they put in.

"We were so excited to win because we did a lot of market research to come up with strong strategies to support their objectives," says the team’s leader Lauren Clapcott.

Real work experience for a real client

Team mate Jesse Roberts says it was the detail in their plan that won on the day.

"The main thing we did well was outline all our strategies with quite a lot of detail. Our plan included Ted Talk-style events and better digital marketing, including redoing their website," he says.

"We actually mocked up a whole new website for them, instead of just saying their website needed updating."

For many of the students, the marketing consultancy project was the first time they had dealt with a real client.

"This was the first assignment where I had to actually present my ideas and take feedback and questions from the client," Mr Roberts says. "It was a little bit nerve-wracking because there was such a large panel, but it’s given us all a good confidence boost."

Marketing lecturer Dr Loren Stangl.

The course is '100% applied'

Marketing lecturer Dr Loren Stangl says the course is a huge learning exercise for students and brings together everything they have learned over the three years of their degree.

"It gives our students real experiential learning and an understanding that it's not always black and white when you apply theory in practice," she says. "They do market research and conduct surveys, they formulate strategies and implementation plans, and then they have to work as a team to convince the client their recommendations are the best solution.

"This is the hardest class in their degree as they have to figure it out for themselves. My job is to be more of a coach than a lecturer because it is 100 per cent applied."

Dr Stangl says the university focuses on local companies and non-profits when choosing clients for the programme as they offer students a greater challenge, as well as benefiting most from the consultancy reports.

"Smaller companies and non-profit organisations often can’t afford consultancy services so they get real value from the students’ work. It's a real win-win between supporting our local community and giving students much-needed practical experience."

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