CLASSROOM IDEAS

Classroom ideas shared by teachers throughout the nation.  (Watch for a new ideas every other week throughout the year.)


Always Selling

Although selling is one of the most fundamental skills we teach, it is also one of the most challenging for students to actually apply and to understand the broad range of industries in which selling plays a critical role. This activity helps reinforce both, while adding an element of interest to practice.

I’ve developed a set of cards with lots of different selling situations (different industries, different situations, etc.). Each day, one student draws one of my scenarios from our fish bowl. S/He then has until the next day to prepare for a role play to demonstrate the selling process. They are expected to research the industry/situation, bring props, and engage other students as part of the role play. Since we do these mini-sales demonstrations every day, students soon lose their inhibitions. And, since I give points for each demo, they are generally motivated to get involved.

Elizabeth Autry

Highland Ranch, CO

 


Interdisciplinary Sports Business Plan

I have used business plans as a teaching tool since the Sport Sciences Academy was founded in 1996. Our approach at SSA is different from other Ideas you’ve published. We developed the plan into an interdisciplinary project linking Marketing to history, English, math, and the use of technology in art classes.

Our plan requires a group of students to select a sport franchise which they would bring into the greater Hartford area. For the history class, the students must research the history of the sport they selected (includes any past links to Hartford). For English, students use a graphic organizer to prepare a persuasive essay that could be presented to the local governmental body(ies). Our art class has the students prepare three drawings of a proposed new stadium or arena, using design software to develop a computer-enhanced drawing. Finally, the Marketing class pulls the project together using PowerPoint to develop and present the business plan proposal. Our teaching team develops grading rubrics that are given to the students at the time the project is assigned.

Advantages:

•  Teachers work as a team to develop the project and to help students throughout the activity. We even work together to grade each project. The team critiques and improves the project each year.

•  Students see a natural link between courses and gain a practical view of the importance of all of the subjects that they are taking during the semester.

•  We are able to maintain high levels of interest as students work with the sport or entertainment group of their choosing.

•  The students learn by doing as much as through text or lecture formats.

•  Students with good computer skills become learning leaders in the computer labs and help all students develop better technical skills—especially for some of the more challenging applications like animations and simulations.

•  Opportunities to brainstorm, work as a team, share ideas and theories are greatly enhanced.

•  Students become salespeople for their ideas and concepts through the final class presentation.

•  We also try to link job shadow and internship opportunities to the student(s) project interests.

Bruce Michaels

Hartford, CT

 

 

 


Inventing the future

I have my students get into groups of no more than three people and create an invention at the beginning of the sales unit. They must bring material to work on the invention each day that they are in class and keep a list of all the materials that are involved in producing their prototype. >From this list, they determine the variable cost and a price for the invention. The students then develop a sales presentation for this invention. The sales presentation must cover each step in the sales process and include a feature-benefit chart and two sales aides. After this step, the students must develop a promotional mix for their invention. The students must utilize each of the elements involved in a promotional mix, including developing a premium or incentive for their invention. The students enjoy being inventors.

Dena Howe

Muskogee, OK

 


Music to Their Ears

We work with the Harrisonburg Court Square Theater, a local nonprofit organization, to assist with the marketing of at least one event each year. As the students prepare the marketing plan and ultimately an advertising plan, they visit the venue, interview artists, learn about the technology of a production, and explore the types of jobs available in the industry. Since their efforts are focused on a real event, they take the assignment pretty seriously. We do the market analysis and then develop a brand positioning statement to represent both the venue and the event. Finally, the students develop advertising concepts that are used to develop radio, television, and print copy. Depending on the event, they may also develop other promotional strategies such as giveaways and contests. Throughout the project, I work to be certain the learning process focuses on our Standards of Learning objectives for career and technical education.

Jimmy Stickley

Harrisonburg, VA

 


Fired Up Business

Our experience with out-of-control wildfires last summer led to the realization that I, like my neighbors, was unprepared for a serious house fire. As I scrambled to document our belongings, it occurred to me that I was doing what could become either a student-run business or a meaningful civic consciousness project. Students would gain from putting together a business plan and, as they photographed and recorded key data, they would learn about technology (e.g., digital cameras), software (e.g., databases and graphics software), insurance, and sales. Although the project has not yet been implemented, I believe it will nicely support a number of instructional areas, including marketing-information management, selling, and others—all in the context of an entrepreneurial venture.

Jill Kuehn

Littleton, CO

 


 

In What Nation Did Marketing First...

One of my favorite things to do in my Marketing and Entrepreneurship classes is to begin each class with some “Marketing Trivia.” I have a “question of the day” posted as students walk in. Most of my trivia comes from the “USA Today Snapshots” (the corner of Life and Money sections). Here are some samples to give you an idea:

1. What days are employees most productive?

2. What is the world’s largest company?

3. What ethnic group has the highest percentage of high school graduates?

4. When did credit cards first overtake cash payments for consumer purchases in the U.S.?

5. What convenient paper product was first introduced in America in 1907?

6.  How much does the average household charge on credit cards between Thanksgiving and Christmas?

If you keep your eye on a variety of business publications, it’s easy to find fun trivia that is directly related to what we teach. It’s a fun way to start the day and to make the point that marketing has implications for lots of our day-to-day life. Almost forgot: Here are the answers to my sample questions: 1. Tuesday; 2. Walmart; 3. Asian; 4. 1995; 5. Paper towel; 6. $850.

Jill Bridges

Layton, UT

 


 

Today’s Standards

We use current events readings to illustrate the National Marketing Education Standards. Students use current business publications to locate articles about one of the standards. They create a “memo” to summarize the article and its relevance to the selected standard. These quick, easy assignments help students see the relevance of our curriculum and its potential value to them in the work place.

Dale Pollard

Plain City, UT

 

 


Televised Lesson

Trying to get my students’ thoughts on television-based advertising, whether it’s the Superbowl or just an evening sitcom, often degenerated into a generalized discussion of how much they liked or disliked any given commercial. Lost in the discussion was any significant analysis of the advertiser’s intent, market, effectiveness in terms of selling, or comparison with ads for competing products. Recently, I’ve improved the assignment by making it more structured, with specific questions to be answered. For example, I ask that students select a 30-minute time frame and record the entire 30 minutes. They then answer, in writing, questions dealing with:

     --Exact length and frequency of each ad
     --Estimated cost based on the local market
     --Specific target market(s)
     --Sales points, including feature-benefit, call to action, etc.
     --Consistency with brand position
     --Attention-getting strategy (e.g., humor)
 

Gloria Jones

Plainview, NY

 


 

Creative Critique               

PBS offers a “Small Business School” that features small business case studies. I record (with proper clearances) shows focused on high-interest businesses–i.e. youth-oriented businesses. (One such example was T-Bone Films, an extreme-sports video company featuring skateboarding, sky diving, etc.) After watching the 20-22 minute segment, students work on a business plan guide that I prepare. They use the guide to critique various aspects of the business we viewed. The activity is fun, real, and a useful way to help them understand the incredible range of options available to anyone with a creative idea and a good work ethic.

Olivia Bracken

Wakefield, MA

 


Fun with Marketing

This is a fun, creative marketing activity that encourages students to use their creative minds in promoting a business. I use small plastic characters that I have collected for many years; most students have a collection at home. My students just love this activity. (It also gives me an excuse for keeping my old toys for class.) Keep in mind that the learning comes from analyzing the students’ ideas to determine how well they’ve aligned the message and medium with the market and company. (HINT: Make your own list of businesses, or let them do it on their own.)

Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar                Olive Garden

Boston Market                                                Panera Bread

Champp’s Americana                                      Pizza Hut

Chi-Chi’s Mexican Restaurant                          Rocky Rococo Pizza

Chili’s                                                            TGI Fridays

Mama Mia’s                                                   The Steak Escape

Character symbols are often used in television commercials, newspaper ads, magazine ads, special promotions, and various other promotional techniques. For example, Dairy Queen uses a live ice cream cone or McDonald’s, Ronald. Selecting the appropriate character symbol is important as it has a direct impact on the image of a business.

Select one of the above restaurants and utilize a character symbol to help position its marketing message. Be sure to select a character that reflects the image of the restaurant. For example, you would not use Daffy Duck for Panera Bread.

Use one of the character symbols from our classroom, or bring one from your own Happy Meal or from any other business. Use the real name of the character or make up a new one.  Assume you have been given rights to use the symbol. Use the following outline to complete your project:

Name of Restaurant:

Character Symbol & Name:

Image(s) of Restaurant (price, quality, fun, elegant dining, etc.):

Advertising Campaign Theme/Slogan (using your character symbol):

Target Market:

Demographics

     Age Range:

     Gender:

     Income:

     Ethnic Background:

     Family Life-Cycle: Young Single; Young Married w/o children; Young Married with children;
        Middle-aged with children; Middle-aged Married w/o dependent children; Older Married;
        Older

     Geographically:

 

Advertising Applications:

Internet                                                                 

Magazine (sketch an ad)                                               

Newspaper (sketch an ad)                                               

Outdoor Media (what and where would you place the symbol)

Radio (write down a rough script)                               

Television (describe the commercial)                               

 

Sales Promotion Applications:

Contests and Sweepstakes

Coupons                                                               

Point-of-Purchase Promotion

Premiums                                                               

Sampling

 

Public Relations Applications:

Consumer Education

Event Sponsorship

Issue Sponsorship

Product Placement

 

Steven Melzer

Hartland, WI

 

 


 

Just Like Me?

To help students understand the concept of customer market profiles, we build one for each of several small in-class groups. I divide the class into groups of  five, and then collect basic demographic data: age, gender, education level, etc. Each group then analyzes each member of the group in terms of such psychometrics as lifestyle and behavioral tendencies such as product usage or brand loyalty. Each group reports their respective findings, and we use these data to construct a profile of each group. We get closure by comparing each profile with the others and analyzing each relative to typical teen-targeted products, brands, and channel members.

Roberta Pennington

Overland Park, KS

 


New and Improved

As part of my product/service management unit, we discuss the importance of a continuing flow of new ideas into the product/service mix.  To help illustrate the point, I identify one well-known company for each student in my class.  (Try to select companies of interest to your students.  Think Fortune 1000–e.g., Kodak, Coca-Cola, Honda, Limited.) We draw for names.

Students then go to the Internet to explore the nature of their companies and their newest additions/changes to the product mix.  (Annual reports often contain information about products under development that may not be included in marketing literature for the general public.)

Based on the Internet research, each student prepares a short presentation outlining what s/he’s found and why the changes to product mix are (or are not) significant in this particular situation. I ask them to be very specific about the selling points (benefits) that might be associated with each change or addition to a given company’s mix. 

We conclude the lesson with a discussion on the importance of keeping things (i.e., the product mix) new and exciting for established companies.  We talk about the value of adding, improving, and eliminating individual products.  The little bit of research done by each student adds considerably to both their interest in the topic and in their ability to make the discussion “real.”

Jill Bridges

Layton, UT


 

Leveraging Parent  Night

Mid-term parent conferences are a part of our school’s routine. It’s not something all students (or teachers) look forward to. My students, however, being the marketing-driven group they are, take advantage of the moment. We develop a mid-term promotion, including direct mail to parents, inviting them to stop by and visit our store operation. We include a coupon or two for items we believe will help attract attention–and ultimately a store visit. It’s a great way to reach a primary demographic and to increase sales.  Best of all, it allows parents, administration, and community members to see the store (and my students) in action. (And, it’s a great time to display substantive curriculum-oriented posters, student work, and program recruiting materials. –ed)

Dale Pollard

Plain City, UT

 

 

Beach Ball Marketing

At the beginning of the school year, I want to break the ice a bit and I want the students to memorize the seven marketing functions (of the National MarkED Standards). I use an inflatable, six-sided beach ball and write one function on each side. The seventh function goes on the end of the ball. For the first week of school, we start the class with a few minutes of beach ball exercise, tossing the ball from student to student. Students who catch the ball answer a question about the function facing them and win a prize if they have the correct answer. Questions may be as simple as “define” or “provide a local example.”

Ginger Hill

York, SC

 

 

Involve the Gatekeepers

As we move into “DECA season,” practice makes winners. Get extra value by having your guidance counselors, principal, and other key school administrators (as well as the business community) role play with your students. Be sure to provide solid rubrics so that the feedback is appropriate, targeted, and helpful. Students win because they learn and they get over the jitters associated with presentations. (After all, what could be harder than role-playing a sales pitch with your principal? or English teacher? or math teacher?) Just as important, if you’ve provided good rubrics or evaluation forms and carefully selected the role play assignment, your colleagues in the school will learn more about Marketing Education and the degree of sophistication of the curriculum. (Set the interviews up now; it’s hard to say no to a request for the first of the year.)

Charles Dublin

Columbus, OH

 

Hard Rock

To help students understand some of the variables important to locating a consumer business, including basic market strategies, we do some hard time. Using Hard Rock Café as the basis of the assignment (any comparable operation would work), we work our way through a number of basic questions to help Hard Rock:

• Choose a location based on data we’ve assembled, including demographics, competition, etc.

• Create an image-oriented logo for the back of the new location’s shirts (with discussion about the importance of image and what we’re trying to convey with our idea).

• Select a specialty food item unique to our new location, with a detailed explanation of why the item is likely to succeed (target market, demographics, etc.).

It’s a fun activity that generates lots of discussion and helps students realize that the success of a Hard Rock Café or any other hot spot is usually the result of lots of hard work and research to develop the right concept and to then market it effectively.

Jo Ellen Jonsson
Kaysville, UT

 


Needed Research

As a way of introducing market research, we spend time identifying possible topics with research potential. Students brainstorm market or marketing questions, the answers to which they believe would have value to a specific organization. (Most focus on their school or place of employment.) We analyze each idea, figure out how it could be researched, and how much it might cost. Finally, we try to decide if the resulting information would be useful (and profitable) to the business. Whether the research project is actually implemented or not, the students gain a very real understanding of the potential value of market research and of some of the decisions that must be made before a company invests in a project.

Beth Carey
Canton, GA

 


 

Career Application

Sometimes when we study the marketing functions, students have trouble seeing them as real. I solved the problem by tying the Marketing and Marketing Functions LAPs to each student’s career goal. I teach these LAPs early in the first grade period as a way to introduce what we’ll be studying in more depth later in the year. The assignment is an essay requiring students to analyze each function’s application to their own goals. It works great for almost any student. Even the future doctor and lawyer, as they develop their essays, begin to understand the relevance of marketing and how the marketing functions are interrelated. Students seem to like this activity and actually remember the functions as we get back to them throughout the year.

Debbi Popo
Columbus, OH
 
 

 

Applied Promotion

Think of your school’s bulletin boards as potential ad space for your program. Have students contact teachers of students who are your target market for future enrollment in Marketing Education and make arrangements to schedule the bulletin boards as part of an overall promotional plan for your program. Develop teams to create copy and overall design for each board. Rather than spending time on "art,"develop the boards in the same way that an agency might design thumbnail concepts with copy developed separately. Focus heavily on benefit-oriented copy to make the sale.

Malin LaPlace
Clear Brook, TX

 


All New Mustard?

Many small entrepreneurs hang their hats on the development of a specialized product. Often, the product is based on a long-time hobby (e.g., homemade jewelry) or a particular talent developed over time (e.g., cooking). Many of these home-grown entrepreneurs have little marketing expertise; frequently, they haven’t even thought through who the potential market might be nor how large the potential. To that end, as we study the product management competencies, I invite several of these entrepreneurs in to discuss how they worked through the various steps of the process. Many times, my students are able to generate new ideas to help the entrepreneur move to the next level. A recent example is a person who shared her ideas about developing a mustard dressing. Input from my students was very helpful to her as she finalized her plans to get the new product on local store shelves.

Bill Rivard
Lake Region, VT

 


 

All About Work

Think of it as an extension of their training plan: My students are required to prepare written reports on various aspects of their co-op job and of their company. They document the product or service from a marketing perspective, provide some history and background, and offer some analysis of what’s good and what could be improved. The report helps them look at their company from the perspective of the employer who is attempting to maximize sales and profit. Reports are presented orally to help build communication skills and to involve students in one another’s work experiences.

Cathy McCracken, et.al.
Jones County, GA

 

 


Cultural Diversity and International Marketing

I use tapes of the CLIO awards to explore the cultural diversity of international marketing. We watch finalists and winners from around the world; students document differences in cultural norms and mores—e.g., nudity, graphic violence, portrayal of children, and women’s roles. It’s interesting and noteworthy that the students get to see the proliferation of American culture in foreign ads. Many have American themes, music, and sports/entertainment celebrities. We then discuss marketing to the global community and the necessity of being socially and culturally sensitive.

Irene Clampet
Three Rivers CC/Tech, CT

 

 


Prom Consignment Shoppe

We have a very nice school store. One of our featured store projects is an annual six-week project called Prom Consignment Shoppe, which allows students the opportunity to practice starting a business from beginning to end. The students pick a name for their store, develop bookkeeping procedures, design a consignment agreement, and learn to make very basic decisions how they want their business to operate. The students must first decide, "Who is the target market? How do we reach the people who want and have prom dresses to sell?" Then the students design a promotional plan to reach that audience. We accept dresses for consignment for two weeks. After the students have gathered the dresses and accessories, we change directions and ask again, "Who is our target market? How can we reach people looking to buy a prom dress?" Then the students design a promotional plan to reach their customer. The students love dressing the mannequin and designing display windows with the prom dresses, and it is easy to mix and match and change them every day. They also gain valuable experience in the study of entrepreneurship, basic bookkeeping, advertising, and merchandising. Next year, we may even try to take orders for tuxes for a local business. This is definitely a project that generates a lot of interest in the marketing program throughout the school.

Susan Gwin
Shelbyville, IN

 

 


Adopt-a-Co

Early in the school year, we divide our class into teams. Each team adopts a local small business or not-for-profit organization. As we work our way through the curriculum, we use each team’s adopted business as a frame of reference to build a marketing plan. As we complete each unit, teams develop that portion of the plan and work with their business partner to refine their ideas. At the end of the year, we consolidate all of the bits and pieces into a real-life plan document. Although everyone wants to jump into the promotion unit, it’s important for these would-be marketing consultants to understand that many other elements of marketing have to be integrated into the plan—usually before we start working on the promotion unit. Many of the marketing plans we put together over the course of the year have real value to the business or non-profit.

Virginique Whitmore
Akron, OH
Lisa Hurt
Somerset, KY

 

 


Agency of Choice

Divide the class into two or three competing "marketing agencies." Select one school event to focus on (e.g., we work with the drama department to market their spring production). Using the curriculum framework as the guide, develop competing marketing plans (and related promotional plans). Don’t overlook budgets, including the cost of "inkind" labor provided by unpaid volunteers. Have representatives from each team present their proposed plans to the drama department as they would with a real client. Have the drama department select the winning plan for implementation. To maintain interest and to continue the project throughout the year, you may want to present the plans in various stages. For example, each team develops a concept and presents it to the drama department. Once a concept is chosen, the teams are reorganized and a new competition begins to determine which team can build the better detailed plan. A third round might focus on the promotional plan, and so forth. This continuing project provides opportunities to work with other departments, as well (e.g., English, Technology).

Gary Sealey
Newport, VA

 

 


 

Product Manager

School stores have a way of becoming candy stores with little educational value. We’ve tried to turn ours into a learning experience that goes far beyond cashiering. As we study inventory management and product management, we take the lessons to the store. Each student becomes the product manager and buyer for one product or product line. They have authority to control inventory, update or change product lines, and adjust pricing. The student product managers have full responsibility for profitability; they quickly learn that discount pricing is not always the correct answer for bottom line results. Students are remarkably interested in finding ways to ensure the success of their decisions and their products. This strategy creates some healthy competition between students and their lines and leads to a continuing effort to adjust decisions throughout the year with the ultimate goal of creating bottom line profits. With individual students responsible for specific products, there tends to be a great deal more attention to timely promotion, elimination of product shrinkage, accurate records, etc. By the end of the year, our store is far more profitable than it would be if students acted solely as employees. And, we use some of those profits to award the class as a whole and the "winning" product managers.

Dale Dollard

 


 

Puzzled?

To reinforce the importance of teamwork, including such difficult-to-teach ideas as sharing information and coordination of activities, we spend a period playing with a jig saw puzzle. I take a completed puzzle and divide it into sections of 10 to 20 pieces each (and put each disassembled section into a plastic bag). Then, in class, I give each student one section to complete. As students finish their individual sections, they help (i.e., provide technical assistance) to other, slower individuals. After all of the individual sections are completed, they combine them into the finished puzzle. The message, of course, is that good teamwork is faster, more efficient, and usually a bit more fun and interesting. The puzzle is a great introduction to the topic and opens the door to an expanded discussion from both the worker’s and the supervisor’s perspective. (You may want to repeat the exercise using a floor supervisor or two to coordinate activities. The puzzle will go together even faster; the message here is that good supervision is more than discipline, but focuses in large part on coordination, communication, etc.)

Sherry Dockery
Evansville, IN

 

 


Make the Point Early

Now is the time to drive home the importance of marketing. Spend some time during the first grading period getting students into the community. Have them interview local owners and managers about the importance of marketing in general, and each marketing function in particular. Keep the interviews short, but insist that each student write a short report. By the end of the first few weeks, you’ll have a good rationale for why studying marketing can be so valuable in the long term. (And, take a few minutes to show students the various marketing classes offered at area colleges—making the point that their marketing class can be the first step to a great professional career.)

Jill Bridges
Layton, UT

 


Service to...

Many schools are focusing on service learning as a way to help students learn about their communities and as a tool for developing a wide range of "adult" skills. We’ve turned this interest into a leadership project designed to determine need and opportunity throughout the community. I divide my mid-management "problems seminar" students into four teams: education, human needs, public safety, and environment. Each team calls or visits agencies and organizations throughout the community to collect information relevant to service learning opportunities. We use the information to compile a handbook of potential projects and activities, along with contact information and the like. This handbook is then provided to students and faculty throughout the school and becomes the basis for lots of good projects sponsored by various classes and clubs. Development of the handbook itself is a very positive leadership development experience for my students (planning, organizing, writing, teamwork, etc.) and can lead to a "Diamond Chapter Award" (DEX) at the end of the year.

Melba Cook
Pratt CC, KS

 


Higher Level Experiences

Often, students are not quite ready for paying positions beyond an entry-level job in marketing. To make the real money, they need more experience with higher level competencies. I address this challenge, in part, through service learning projects. Nearly every nonprofit organization in our community has someone in charge of "marketing." Often, these people are overwhelmed with basic communications assignments and have few resources to do any real marketing. They jump at the chance to work with a team of my students when we offer to do volunteer work. My students, both individually and as project teams, have done "customer" satisfaction studies, market potential studies, pricing surveys, ad designs (including one web site), and more. Often, we are able to get marketing firms, ad agencies, and media involved in our projects. (Having the students pitch pro bono work to a key decision maker at an area ad agency is quite a growth experience in itself.)

Over the years, we’ve developed a list of organizations who are willing to trust students with responsible projects and to provide the basic resources needed to get the job done right. I insist on such basics as meeting time with senior management, work space at the organization, etc. In other words, we do everything possible to develop each project as if the students were regular employees assigned to a full-blown marketing department. Although we’re donating a lot of student time, in the end I believe my students are far better prepared for "real" positions in the marketing community.

Rebecca Susan
Delaware Lake, MT
 
 

 

Heads Up!

I use a lot of homemade PowerPoint presentations. Whenever possible, I insert content-related pictures of my students in a work situation that drive home the point being made in the presentation. I also sneak in a few candids that add a bit of humor to the discussion. (With a digital camera, it’s easy to insert the photo.) When a slide with a student photo comes up, everyone sits up and takes notice.

Prestine Chapman
Goose Creak, SC

 

 


Psych...

Colleges offer courses in consumer behavior. I’ve built on the concept to offer an upscale semester course called "Psychology of Consumer Behavior." Although much of the content is basic marketing, we emphasize the underlying motivating factors that cause customers to behave in many different ways. The course balances the perspectives of marketing and consumerism, making it a useful elective for both business and nonbusiness students. In addition to traditional sources, I’ve found lots of helpful information on the Internet. I believe that this course, because of its perceived "higher order," will help us better position marketing in the challenging environment of increased graduation requirements, emphasis on college entrance, proficiency testing, etc.

Paul Zenefski
Southern Door, WI

 


 

Passport to...

I create a syllabus for the year based on a list of all competencies to be covered. The list, as each competency is learned, becomes a "career passport" for my graduating seniors. The process is simple: I start with the list of validated competencies, put them in the form of a check-off form, and simply sign off on each as the students demonstrate "mastery." Students like the approach because they know what to expect throughout the year and each has a positive list of personal achievements that "grows" each week. It also keeps me on track and lets me quickly prepare the passport document which becomes a part of their senior portfolio. As needed, I can also tailor the competency lists to meet individual needs.

Debbi Popo
Hamilton Township, OH

 

 


School Marketing

There are lots of opportunities for our students to do important, useful marketing research to benefit our own schools and programs. In addition, these projects demonstrate to the school administration and key decision makers both the utility of marketing and the substantive, academic value of our discipline. For example, students in my marketing mid-management problems seminar class recently completed a comprehensive needs analysis for the seven-county area our college serves. The project entailed all aspects of research design (starting with determining the sample) including preparation of a written report used by the administration. More recently, my students are developing basic telemarketing skills as they solicit donors for 50 new scholarship funds. The lesson: By demonstrating the skills of our marketing students, we help the college and repeatedly prove the value of our program.

Melba Cook
Pratt, KS

 


 

 

More School Marketing

Who better to sell ad space in school publications (yearbook, school newspaper, etc.) than the senior marketing class? Rather than ask for contributions, we build a legitimate sales program based on benefit to the buyer. Starting with our unit on selling, we add the Promotional Mix LAP so that students begin to understand the role of school publications in a local business’s overall promotional plan. After building the feature-benefit analysis, students practice their selling skills in the classroom, then with their own employers.

Finally, we make a list of potential buyers and the specific benefit they might get from an ad in the various publications. We make specific assignments (Use teams, if students are nervous about making the call.), then hit the streets. It’s a great way of earning money to support our publications; it’s a legitimate offering to our business community; and the planned, organized strategy helps our school’s decision makers begin to understand that selling is more than a slap on the back. All in all, it’s a win-win with great PR for our marketing program.

Debbi Popo
Columbus, OH

 


Camera Saves Time

Most marketing students are required to do a series of sales demonstrations. Rather than doing them in front of the entire class, which eats up too much time, use video to save time and to add to the overall experience. Here’s an example: In round one, students work in groups of three: one to sell, another to "buy," and a third to tape. Each group must analyze each individual’s work, pointing out strengths and areas needed for improvement. We focus on content more than delivery, as all students are nervous at first and only time will overcome their nervousness. However, all students can and should be fully prepared for the presentation, and should be able to demonstrate efforts to determine needs, match product benefits to needs, etc.

In the second round, students again work in (different) groups of two or three, but use a local businessperson (sales professional when available) as the customer. Again, they tape the demonstration and prepare a thorough, written critique. Although I still have to spend time evaluating each tape, it’s much faster than doing it in real time, since I can use the FF button as appropriate. The grade for each demonstration is based on a combination of the actual demonstration and on the students’ critiques of their own and their teammate’s work.

Gary Walk, Lima, OH
Sara Jones, Wichita, KS

 


Real PR

For a capstone project, students are required to chose a not-for-profit organization and volunteer to create a complete PR campaign or annual PR plan for that organization. Typically, they choose college clubs or community-based organizations to which they belong or have an interest in (e.g., PTA, Kiwanis, K of C).

Students develop the plan, complete with press releases, special events (with budgets), detailed calendar of activities, etc. The plan or campaign must be based on the actual organization, beginning with interviews of key contacts within the organization. For their final grade, they prepare a formal presentation to sell their ideas. (Most use PowerPoint or an equivalent presentation package, along with their written proposal.) They make their proposal to the class, where it is thoroughly critiqued. The written report (and very often the oral presentation, as well) is submitted to the appropriate individual within the target organization.

Students benefit from having done a real-life project for a real-life organization. Those who benefit most are those who are working with outside organizations where students are able to begin developing networks of established community leaders. Organizations benefit from the fresh ideas brought to the table. And, everyone wins when we see parts or all of our students’ ideas become part of actual projects or campaigns. Finally, the projects are great additions to each student’s portfolio.

Irene Clampet
Glastonbury, CT

 


Reaching Down

Marketing teachers may be surprised to learn how much marketing education (particularly in the broad area of entrepreneurship) is happening in the elementary schools. We take advantage of the elementary teacher’s interest by volunteering to teach mini-lessons on a wide range of topics. As teachers work through a project with the young kids, my students take turns helping them learn the basics of resumes, merchandising, inventory, POS terminal operation, and more. Often, we end up helping them start and run (usually for a short time) their own school mini-store. Our efforts with the kids help reinforce lessons my own students are learning and help create positive PR for our program. In the years to come, I expect to see some of these students enrolled in my high school program.

Dennis Villeneuve
Rice Lake, WI
 

 

Vocabulary Builder

We devise marketing "Bingo" cards to reinforce key terms. I simply write terms on the Bingo forms, duplicate them, and distribute the forms as a way to review while breaking up the monotony of a long week. To play, I provide the definition; they find the appropriate term on their forms. (To make it work best, you’ll need 40-50 terms; assign them randomly to spaces on the form, being certain that each space is covered by at least one of the terms.) When I believe they’re up to the challenge, I offer a blank form. Then, I provide questions or definitions for each space on the form. (For example, "Your answer to this question goes in space B3.) I provide more than one question for each space, since no one will get every question correct. The first to complete the card (correctly!) wins the prize.

Bob Smith
Columbus, OH

 


Real-life Global Marketing

Using the Internet, we’ve connected with schools in Norway and Japan to work together in the development of import-export businesses. Our students will import "crafts" from these schools, re-selling them as Christmas gifts.

Dennis Villeneuve
Rice Lake, WI
 

 

Marketing Internships/Mini-Coops

I teach a three-hour marketing class at an area career center. Each spring my students look forward to our mini-coop program. Students are asked to list six local businesses/corporations they would like to intern at to find out about a marketing career. I then contact the business and tell them that the student chose them because that is the place they most want to learn about. Rarely do businesses turn us down when using this approach. The students report at the business during class time for two weeks instead of coming to class. They get a chance to get some real hands-on learning this way. If the student does not have transportation, I transport them to the co-op site. I visit each student twice a week to make sure things are running smoothly. The student is required to fill out a daily diary and a bibliography on the business. The person training the student evaluates them on five check-off questions to give the student some immediate feedback on how they are doing each day. We complete a two-week co-op in April and a two-week co-op in May. The end of the school year races by. The students enjoy sharing their experiences with their classmates when arriving back to class. Each year several students are hired by the mini-coop employer, who got a chance to see the student’s work skills and train them before hiring, although the business is under no obligation to do so. I get the chance to make many great business contacts and see what is currently going on in our local business community. It is a win-win situation for everyone involved!

Susan Gwin
Shelbyville, IN

 


Names and More

Anyone serious about marketing needs to develop an appreciation of data, an understanding of the capability of database tools, and at least a basic ability to design and use a database program. We’ve developed a hands-on project to track and communicate with alumni of our marketing program. My students develop a questionnaire, build an Access database, and design reports for my use and to share with alumni interested in data on their own classes or on graduates of my program. Reports range from "fun" stuff to serious efforts to recruit one another to various business opportunities. My students solicit donations in exchange for custom reports created at the request of individual alumni.

Charles Cornwell
Toledo, OH

 


 

Communicating with...

parents, administrators, guidance counselors, and other gatekeepers is an important aspect of my student recruiting and program-marketing efforts. Each month, I provide a one-page, to-the-point, summary of key activities, projects, and experiences planned for the month. For example, I list field trips (destination, dates, times, etc.), emphasizing the purpose of the trip, who we’ll be meeting with, and the planned instructional outcomes. I take a similar approach for guest speakers and other special activities and major projects. My communication helps all of my various "markets" to better understand the professional development taking place in the marketing program. Often, I get requests from parents and colleagues who want to join us on a trip or sit in on a guest speaker.

Caryl Dellis
Waukesha, WI

 


 

Who’s Who?

What’s in a name? Any professional salesperson recognizes the critical need for name/face recognition. We take it seriously in my sales class. For example, in one activity, at the beginning of the class, I give each student a fictitious name written on an index card. They "become" that client for the day. In groups, students introduce themselves to each other, using their new names. We then use a variety of techniques to help them remember the name of their "new" classmate/clients: association, creative imagery, etc. Following these introductions, we adjourn to our regular class. Finally, at the end of the class period, each student introduces their "clients" to the remainder of the class, explaining the association or imagery s/he used to remember each individual’s name. Done repeatedly, students learn to take the name issue seriously and to make it a part of their everyday lives.

Irene Clampet
Three Rivers CC, CT
 

 

Busted!

To promote our school store, I distribute "Caught You!" coupons to other teachers. They use them to "catch" students doing something particularly positive that creates a better school environment. Coupons may be awarded for something simple (a student picking up a bit of trash) and for more sophisticated activities like volunteering to tutor another student after regular school hours. My coupons change from month to month, ranging from "freebies" to % off merchandise. They encourage traffic to the store and, a subtle but important consideration, traffic by the students with the right attitude. It’s a win-win, helping set a positive tone throughout the school with both students and teachers. The coupons even emphasize the overall positive, creative positioning of my Marketing Education program.

Kimberly Clark
Grand Forks, ND
 
 

 

Real World Ads


Most of us have students do some type of ad design. We take it one step further. Each year, I get one (or more) of our local companies to sponsor an ad design contest. Everyone in the class is assigned to a design team. Each team creates one or a series of print ads based on interviews with the "client." Ads are then presented to the client much as they would be by an ad agency. Our client selects the ad that best achieves his or her goals as outlined in the initial meeting. The "winning" ad, finalized by a professional graphics company, is then used in a real-life promotion in our local media-with a fine-print credit to our winning team. It's good experience, fun for the students, and terrific PR for the program. 

Joyce Folk
Alabama



Today's News


On Friday's, we take some time to discuss current events in business. Each student is required to bring an article that has implications for the unit we are presently discussing. They must have carefully read the article and prepared a 3-5 minute oral summary, outlining both the content of the article and its relevance to what we're studying. Following their presentation, each presenter submits two questions on separate sheets of paper. At the end of the session, we draw five questions at random and they become a quick, extra-credit quiz. It's fun, and the quiz makes the students pay attention. Best of all, the activity helps make the point that our marketing class is relevant to what's actually happening in the real world! 

Jill Auerback
North Carolina



 

Rational Decisions?

I illustrate the three levels of decision-making in consumer behavior by cutting my students loose with an unlimited amount of cash! Their assignment: For each of the following:

purchase 1) a frozen pizza, 2) a refrigerator, 3) a magazine subscription, and 4) an automobile. Students document the hypothetical purchase, including cost, key decision points, buyer motives, etc., explaining in some detail how they selected the items and why. In class, we discuss what resources they used to make their purchase decisions and analyze their decision-making processes in relation to consumer buying behavior. I try to pull in discussion of culture, income, geography, values, etc. Although the use of celebrities adds fun and interest, the real lesson comes from analyzing how differently each individual student approaches the purchase decision.

Irene Clampet
Connecticut

 


Braggin’ About Me

We begin and end the year with work on a "Career Portfolio." By starting the year with the portfolio assignment, we set the stage for the coming months. The first projects for the portfolio are a collection of personal goal assessments, personality profiles (involving our counselors), and career information (specific requirements to analyze marketing jobs, including use of OOH, Internet, local resources, etc.). The study of career information is an eye-opener. Students are usually shocked at what they find vs. their perceptions. (This works in favor of some marketing careers and against others.)

As the year develops, we build the portfolio with a wide range of projects and assignments. I require that all work be completed to "industry standard" so that it will have meaningful impact when added to the portfolio. Examples include:

• Three resumes, each targeted to a different job

• Five references targeted to professional recommendations

• Academic history

• Honors and awards, with summary of each explaining how it is relevant to career

• Activities summary, explaining how each is relevant

• Professional contacts/mentors

• In-depth interview with potential in-field mentor

As the year goes on, we continually update and revise the portfolio. Our goal is to always have at hand a quality document that can contribute to a student’s employment options.

Malin LaPlace
Texas

 


 

Why Don’t You Carry...

Channels of distribution is a hard topic to teach in a meaningful way. I try to show students the relevance (and importance) by making it very real. We pick a popular consumer product, find a location where it is not carried, and then try to figure out how the company could get the item into this type of business through alternate channels. For example, how could Frito-Lay get Wow chips into small offices that don’t have vending machines?

David Nickoley
Illinois
 

 

BGIM Beats TGIF

Instead of the "Monday Blues," start your week off with something special. I use lots of different, short teambuilding, motivational, and other activities, along with marketing tidbits, to help students Be Glad It’s Monday. It’s still Monday, but it gives them something fun to look forward to.

Kimberly Clark
North Dakota

 


Greasy Promotion?

My students work with the drama department to develop a comprehensive promotional plan for the annual play (most recently, "Grease"). We work the entire planning process, from budgeting to strategy to design and implementation. Although we’re limited in terms of mass market media, we plan for public service announcements, as well as other PR angles. Other media we use are typical of various "guerilla marketing" strategies, ranging from couponing to posters.

Sharon Mock
Louisiana

 


Super Ads

Each year the Super Bowl comes along at about the same time my marketing classes are studying advertising media. This year I decided to bring the Super Bowl ads to the classroom. I recorded the entire Super Bowl game from start to finish so that I would not miss any part of an ad. (I would never assign students to watch it at home because some have to work that day.) I then set aside one to two class periods to play the commercials. I use a remote control and fast forward to each commercial.

The assignment is given for each student to write down the best/worst ads based on their opinion. The better the reason, the better the grade. We then tally points for best/worst ads and start checking the newspaper for the results from the advertising experts. Their results usually appear in the business section approximately three days after the game has been played. It’s fun to see how students’ opinions and ideas compare to the professional ad agencies’.

Thus, this lesson has brought current events into the classroom, allowed students to work on their writing skills and critical thinking, and they have seen how 1.3 million dollars can bring fame or shame in the advertising world.

Eileen Haws
Crosby, TX

 

Economics for Credit

Beginning with the graduating class of 1996, Englewood High School students, Englewood, Colorado, were required to successfully complete a one semester social studies course in economics. An Advanced Placement course in economics for those students who intend to take the AP Exam in economics is also available to students and would fulfill the economics graduation requirement.

Using the National Voluntary Standards in Economics, the Colorado Model Content Standards for Economics, and the Englewood Schools Economics Course Objectives, the scope and sequence of the economics course was defined. Appropriate objectives (what a student is to know and/or be able to do) were then identified.

In selecting instructional materials, it was critical that they be aligned correctly (content, learning activities, and assessments that relate directly to the identified objectives). MarkED’s Learning Activity Packages in economics have excellent instructional alignment. A series of LAPs were then selected that would meet the course objectives. Learning Activity Packages used in the economics course are:

Basics of Economics
Economics
Economic Systems
Private Enterprise
Microeconomics
Supply and Demand
Price
Macroeconomics
Gross Domestic Product
Business Cycles
Government and Business
Organized Labor
Business and Society
Global Economics
International Trade

Supplemental materials were also used in the economics course to cover such topics as inflation, exchange rates, balance of payments, taxation, and unemployment.

Included in the LAPs are assessments to develop quizzes, tests, and exams. As a benchmark to validate the effectiveness of the content materials, last school year (1997-1998), the final exam used in the economics course was replaced by the Test of Economic Literacy (Joint Council on Economic Education, second edition). Students who took the economics course using MarkED’s LAPs in economics consistently scored within a few points (raw scores) of the national overall mean for students who took a high school economics course and the Test of Economic Literacy.

It is possible to incorporate MarkED LAPs in economics into a high school course in economics. MarkED LAPs in economics contain objectives consistent with national and state standards in economics. The LAPs can provide students with foundations in economic principles and concepts.

Jack L. Gallegos, Ph.D.
Englewood, CO
 
 

 

Investors Needed

Instead of a formal, written exam at the end of the year, my class develops a business plan throughout the year. For the "final," they update and rewrite the plan and then develop a presentation for their potential investors. Using PowerPoint or its equivalent, students demonstrate their selling and communications skills as they make the case for investment dollars. Their classmates then evaluate the plan based on criteria that might be used by a financial institution or other money-lender. The project serves as a terrific review for the year, adds a "fun" and useful dimension as they master PowerPoint, and allows each individual student to participate in all others’ projects. The best presentations become a terrific tool for showing off to the administration and other interested teachers or counselors.

Sandra Bell-Duckworth
Westerville, OH

 


Great Networking, Great Practice

Academic teachers and administrators in our building often underestimate the potential of my marketing students. To help them understand how talented some of the kids are, and to help me prepare them for DECA competitive events, I’ve learned to involve as many of my colleagues as possible in the final days before our events begin. Basically, I create a number of generic role playing "events" that my students demonstrate for anyone in the school who is willing to assist (teachers, counselors, librarians, administrators, etc.). The "judge" uses a formal rating form to evaluate the student’s performance. (Be sure to use a quality rating form that emphasizes meaningful competencies!)

All students must arrange for a minimum number of demonstrations for each round. I do at least one round (topic) before each level of DECA competitive events (i.e., district, state, national). Obviously, the students learn a lot and end up better prepared. Equally positive, the activity creates some incredible PR and bonding with school staff. It creates a very personal interest among school staff as they monitor the progress of each student through the competitive events process. And, finally, it helps others in the building begin to understand that there are real and valuable skills being developed in my marketing classes!

Ed Bufford
Phoenix, AZ

 


Playing Safe

If students are going to run businesses, they need to understand how the law works to protect their customers. The more my students know, the less likely they are to get into legal problems as they assume managerial responsibilities in the real world. To make the point, I start with the LAP as an introduction. Then, students break up into groups and spend a day or two researching each of the key laws or regulations (Use the Internet!), looking for changes in the laws and, to make it interesting, for real-life case examples they can share. Oral presentations by each group are used to be sure that everyone gets a broad overview of the law and the issues associated with managing a business.

Brenda Clark
Jenison, MI

 


Better Snacks, Better Service?

Instead of a theoretical or make-believe marketing plan, we do the real thing right on campus. We pick a school-based service (e.g., snack bar, cafeteria, bookstore) and try to improve its sales and image among the student body. Divide the class and assign various sections of the marketing plan for each group to research. We survey the student body, research the competition (both direct and indirect), and use the data to redefine the "business," including changes to the product line, promotional strategy, and the rest of the mix. Students even develop real print advertising based on purchasing motives that turn up in the research. Finally, we make a formal presentation to the appropriate manager(s). It’s exciting for my students when they actually see their recommendations being implemented and their ads in the campus newspaper.

Dorothy Hetmer-Hinds

Athens, TX

 


Ten Years Later

What do you want to be when... What are your goals? Why do you want to go to college? Why not go to college? Even after nearly two years of Marketing Education, many of my students have not taken the time to be serious about their immediate and mid-term goals. To encourage them to think it through more carefully, I’ve developed a fun activity focusing on their (hypothetical) tenth anniversary class reunion. Students plan the reunion much as they will ten years from now—right down to food, decorations, and entertainment. We hold the "reunion" during one of those "spring fever" days just before graduation.

To make the reunion a legitimate learning process, each student takes on the role of a 28-year-old professional business person. They must come to the party with details of their life over the past 10 years. In addition to all of the obvious fun stuff (who married whom, how smart their kids are, etc.), they are responsible for having a detailed description of their "present" career position and all of the steps they took to get there. (Of course, I have to have my own story ready for the reunion.)

Encouraged to use their imaginations and dream a bit, stories are often interesting. They make for lots of discussion the next day, including a discussion of goal-achievement strategies, time management, and more. It’s a great way to leave them thinking positively about the future as they move into the next phase of their career development. And, I’m hoping to enjoy the real reunions when they start to happen in a few more years.

Vikki Burns
Clinton, TN

 


Better Than Mouthwash

When we worked in Dad’s restaurant, there were a few forbidden words. Topping the list was "shut up," a favorite between my sister and me when we worked together in the kitchen. Dad created a "cuss" box and fined us a quarter every time we used the forbidden phrase. (Being relatively cheap, we quickly learned to squelch the sound before it left our lips!)

I’ve carried the same concept to my classroom in an effort to reinforce "proper" business language. For example, anyone in my first-year sales class caught using the word "cheap" in relation to an "inexpensive," good-value product is fined a nickel. For my second-year students, the price of improper language is significantly higher; they pay a quarter for each infraction. My students get their shots as well: Fines for a student teacher are 50 cents, and for me, an even buck.

Although most of my collections are in the form of IOU’s rather than actual cash, the fines make the point—repeatedly. (Some students insist on paying in real cash and, of course, they all insist that my dollar fines be paid with hard cash.) At the beginning of the year, I promise a pizza party paid for with the fines collected throughout the year. Needless to say, they have no trouble remembering the promise.

Most importantly, the language lesson is one that is long remembered. Students years later will remind me of the "C" rule and the fines they paid for various vocabulary infractions. All leave my program with a better understanding of the language of business!

Sherril Daniels
Portland, OR

 


Job Aid

Students often assume that they know how to do something when, in fact, they have only the most cursory idea. Typically, they go through the motions without achieving appropriate levels of performance. One activity that I've found helpful is to have them create a "training sheet" or job aid. It's an easy assignment to develop and is especially useful for specialized tasks that I don't teach in class.

Together, we select a task or broad duty that is important to their performance on the job. The student then analyzes the task, using whatever information is available from the employer, and writes a detailed explanation of the procedures to be followed, etc. Depending on the student, the selection of a task or duty can be very basic to relatively sophisticated. (I've accepted tasks as elementary as sweeping up after closing and as complex as handling customer complaints.)

To test the completeness of their job aid, I have them actually teach the task to a small group of other students. In addition to learning the task, students benefit from the interaction with other students, from the "research" needed to analyze the task, and from the self-confidence they gain through the communication process. An added benefit is the increased interaction I have with the employers, as well as the added credibility the project provides my overall curriculum.

Sarah Martin
Hurst, TX


Vote!

Last fall my marketing students created a cross-curricular project based around the General Election. This project was designed to emulate the voting process within our community and required students to register to vote in advance and vote at a polling place on their own time. The voter turnout was amazing! Students and faculty expressed enthusiasm and appreciation.

Students in a variety of disciplines were involved in this all-school project. While marketing students provided the management and promotional activities, other courses made contributions. Computer applications created a voter registration card and database which was forwarded to math analysis for statistical information and to marketing for management. History teachers used this as a forum for their curriculum, and journalism created a two-page newspaper which was delivered the morning following the election. Accounting students were responsible for tabulations.

The beauty of the project was the teachers stepped back and the students took charge. It was exciting to see so many enthusiastic students problem-solving together, and their intellect and productivity were impressive. Students, faculty, and administrators expressed enthusiasm and appreciation.

From this project, the marketing students created a 30-page public relations project which won first place at the state DECA competition and will be presented at the national conference.

A cross-curricular project can be adapted in any school and is a great tool for promoting vocational education. If you plant the seed, the students will create the idea and carry out the project. That's applied learning!

Lasinnda M. Mathewson
Lewiston, ID
November 6, 2000

 


 

Grab Bag

Have each student bring a shopping or specialty good of his/her choice, valued at $35-$100, bagged or boxed so that other students cannot see the item. (Hint: Be certain to explain that each item must be legal, non-offensive, and "common" to the average person.) Number each and then have students draw numbers for their "assignment." Match the numbers and assign the packages.

Give each student five minutes to prepare a feature-benefit analysis. Since they will have had no advance preparation, other than a thorough lesson in selling benefits, they may have to make up some of the actual data. Finally, have each student "sell" the product back to the person who brought in the item. This is a good drill for students who are or will work as retail clerks. It reinforces the importance of product information, encourages them to study the product itself for useful information, and reinforces basic selling skills. The "surprise factor" and potentially amusing situations it creates add a bit of fun and interest.

Mike Hackman
Columbus, IN



AV Night

With the increasing emphasis on electronic tools in advertising and sales, I believe it's important for students to have at least a cursory understanding of the tools themselves. Each semester, I offer an out-of-class seminar (no credit) to acquaint students with AV equipment. We speak the language (FX, fade, VO, ECU, etc.) and get our hands "dirty." Students learn basic production/operating skills in a no-pressure setting. Later, they use the technology as part of several different advertising and selling projects. The evening seminars are fun and attract a good turnout of students.

Irene Clampet
Norwich, CT



"Expert" Consultants

After our promotion unit, which includes lessons in visual merchandising, we contract teams of students to prepare displays at area businesses. Each team meets with the owner or manager to determine exactly what is desired, and then we actually build the display to their specifications. Each team gets credit via signage on-site. It creates goodwill for both the company and our program--and, depending on the situation, can be a good fund raiser.

KimBerly Clark
Grafton, ND



 

Corporate Consultants

After a full year of marketing studies, my second year class is ready to do some serious consulting. We work with the eighth- grade class to design a fund raiser with real business "roots," from planning to implementation. (This year, the business was a flower sale.)

My students take simplified lessons from each unit of instruction, add lots of hands-on activities tied to the concept being developed, and turn the entire class into entrepreneurs. Topics of our mini-lessons range from advertising (We create flyers on the computer.) to teamwork, selling skills, and math. The eighth graders learn the basics of change making, markup, break-even, profit, and more.

The project makes for good relations with the middle school and helps get younger students interested in business careers. It is terrific reinforcement for my seniors, and helps them learn to transfer skills from their own place of employment to an entrepreneurial setting.

Jo Ann Blom
West Milford, NJ

 



The Real Thing

Kroger will soon open a new store in Louisville, KY. Unlike those zillion square foot behemoths in the suburban malls, this one will be less than 700 square feet. Its produce section will be hard to find. (Not to mention the absence of a bakery and seafood department.) But it will be very, very handy--to the students of Taylor County High School.

Last year, marketing students at Taylor completed market research studies that determined the potential for a store in the school. Based on their research, Kroger has facilitated the development of an in-school operation that features school supplies, greeting cards, magazines, soft drinks, (some) produce, health and beauty aids, and (you guessed it) packaged candy.

The store is different from your typical school store in that it features a very real-world, Kroger-like environment, complete with two check-out lanes, a $30,000 computer hookup, and more. Getting to work in the store is not a given. Students must apply (letter, application, and résumé on the computer) for a position in the store. Their applications are reviewed by managers at neighboring full-size Krogers and students placed according to their skills. Most complete at least two interviews to obtain a position.

Kroger's involvement extends to its division-level management. As students work to select vendors, develop pricing strategies, and the like, the company has supplied expertise in every conceivable function: electricians, advertising, art, merchandisers, and more. As the year progresses, I see lots of opportunities for curriculum enrichment and participation in DECA competitive events.

Patty Evans
Campbellsville, KY


 

Put It on Tape

Good customer service is hard to teach in the relatively sterile environment of the classroom. But, nothing drives the point home like video!

After a brief introduction, we hit the street with our video camera, interviewing business managers, front-line service providers, and customers. With some basic editing, we can then organize these "real" video clips into a solid lesson on customer service. It leaves a lasting impression on my students, and creates a lot of good will among those businesses invited to participate in a given quarter.

Gary Walk
Lima, OH





The Year in Preview

Students often sign up for marketing with only a cursory idea of what they've committed to. Frequently, their motivation to enroll is tied more to the activities they see (school store, DECA trips, etc.) than to the curriculum. To help them understand the scope of their upcoming studies, as well as to create teamwork and creative thinking, we spend the first few days taking a quick look at all nine of the functions.

I divide the class into nine groups and assign each one function. Each "team" is responsible for doing its homework on the assigned function.

After a day or two of basic research, each team creates a poster to illustrate its function. The idea is to develop a poster that will, in a creative fashion, illustrate one or more key activities or concepts, and then to provide a brief overview to the entire class. Since some functions are easier to illustrate than others, I have to allow a lot of flexibility in determining what is or is not acceptable. For example, "selling" is generally much easier for students to illustrate than is "information management."

One of the best efforts the past year was by the team assigned "risk management." Picture the word "risk" at the top, as part of a burning building, with the S turned into a hose reaching down to the M in "management." Their analogy, of course, was that management must be prepared to prevent and/or put out the "fire" that represents a variety of different risks.

I especially like this activity because it accomplishes a variety of goals: 1) helping students get to know one another early in the school year, 2) fostering teamwork, 3) overcoming some of those early-in-the-year reservations about speaking in front of a group, 4) initiating some creative thinking early in the year, and 5) providing a solid introduction to the discipline of marketing.

Edie Jett
Morgantown, WV




Job Fair

First, complete your traditional classroom instruction regarding careers in marketing, orientation to professional positions, search and application techniques, etc. Then, invite 3-5 local employers to participate in concurrent round-table discussions at a mini "jobs fair." Encourage each business person to be prepared to discuss what's important to his/her company when they hire, to describe the types of jobs in their respective businesses, and to outline potential short- and long-term opportunities. Do a series of these job fairs, with each focusing on a different industry or point in the distributions channel (e.g., retail personnel managers one time, industrial sales managers another, and ad agency representatives a third).

Hint: Be sure your students have a basic list of questions prepared in advance.

Paula Mendoza
Dallas, TX






Middle School Advertisers

After my students have completed their promotion unit, we carry it to the middle school. My students teach the younger ones about media and message, including ethics and a bit of "consumerism." We divide the students into small groups and lead them in a series of activities, games and simulations--usually with some prizes. The young kids love it. It's good exposure for our program and, with some advance preparation, we've received lots of good publicity (with photos) in the local newspaper. (I fully expect to see a good number of these middle school students enrolling in marketing as they get to the high school.)

Marion Krege
Avery, NC