Feature News

Marketing students tie for third place in international contest

Mar 30, 2017

North Central College student marketers have proven they’re among the best in the nation.

First, they competed with 98 other collegiate teams in the American Marketing Association (AMA) Case Competition and finished among the top nine teams in the nation. As finalists, North Central’s team of students earned the right to present their case at AMA’s 39th Annual International Collegiate Conference held March 16-18 in New Orleans.

Competing against universities nationwide, North Central finished in a tie for third place—the second time in school history.  

“I am extremely proud of this year’s team,” said Donnavieve Smith, associate professor of marketing and faculty advisor. “They were exceptionally creative and capable. Each person had a unique skill set and they embraced each other’s perspectives.”

Preparation for the competition started before fall term 2016, when 13 students enrolled in the AMA Case Competition course taught by Smith. “The course gives students the opportunity to apply marketing concepts they’ve learned in their classes to a real-world marketing situation,” said Smith.

That real-world case involved developing a comprehensive marketing and advertising plan for one of the largest brands, eBay, to increase its consideration and trial among Millennial and Generation Z nonusers.

Senior Daniel Robles said he and his classmates first had to conduct research on eBay’s target market, ages 18-35. Their plan needed to be clear and concise, meet a $5 million marketing budget set by eBay, cover a 12-month period from July 2017 to June 2018 with Back to School as the key drive period, and include a four-year sales forecast. The team had to study eBay’s competitors and environmental conditions in the marketplace.

“We considered marketing channels, events, locations, and nontraditional sources to expose and promote the brand to more people within the target market,” said Robles. The class split into small groups to focus on specific tasks. “It was the type of setting you’d expect in the field, and we all benefitted from getting to collaborate within our groups and with others.”

In addition to Smith, other faculty shared their expertise at the start of the project. Associate Professor of Marketing Mary Galvin, Assistant Professor of Marketing Xiaoye Chen and half-time Assistant Professor Marketing Richard Fobes explained how to conduct research, analyze data and implement public relations and marketing into their plan.

The five team members who presented the case for the finalist competition were Deidre Ewers ’17, Nicole Seiton ’17, Jacob Perry ’17, Madison Adamski ’18 and Katie Cotter ’17.

The photo features those who attended the conference, from left: Dr. Donnavieve Smith, Alyssa Hepker ’17, Ewers, Seiton, Nicholas Radtke ’17, Perry, Samantha Gambuzza ’17, Adamski, Alexis Davis ’17, Cotter, Marcel Mundt ’17, Daniel Robles ’17