The Business Management classes at Washington State Community College over the course of the past year have worked with seven local businesses and Pamela Lankford at the Small Business Development Office to help develop and create their marketing plans.
The class started the partnership last fall in the advertising class at WSCC. The students began with three businesses and developed multiple advertisements for these businesses to use. "It's easy to create an advertisement but to understand the market you're trying to capture, create a memorable piece and be respectful of a budget can be difficult!" says Elizabeth Tokodi-Ruth, Assistant Professor, Business Management at WSCC. The groups worked throughout the semester on this project and as a part of the final exam they had to present their plan and justify why the advertisements would be effective. The students also provided the businesses with a digital copy of the advertisement so the students could modify it for various seasons or sales, "sometimes just having something to start with can be the difference in the success of that business," said Tokodi-Ruth.
In the spring the marketing class at WSCC partnered with three different businesses and helped developed marketing plans along with multiple advertisements that coincided with their marketing plans. The students had to spend several hours outside of the classroom meeting with their businesses to develop these complex plans. Many of the students were writing a plan for these businesses from scratch, not simply revising existing ones. Assistant Professor Ruth said that having a marketing plan is an essential part of a solid business plan; "Commercials, flyers, radio advertisements, and sales are great but what is the goal of that business? Do these advertisements flow into that goal? Do they reach your target market? Are there other existing markets not considered? There is a lot more to it than most people think!"
This summer another student from Washington State Community College is partnering with yet another business to build a social media presence, streamline the process of inventory tracking, sales tracking and general marketing. Elizabeth said that the advertising class at WSCC will be continuing this partnership again with Pamela Lankford in the fall semester.
"This has been a great experience for our students; could there be a better way to learn?" said Elizabeth. Students in the Business Management program here at Washington State Community College have so many opportunities for these types of hands on learning. Each class specific to the business department has a hands on component to it. Elizabeth added, "We are not just about reading books and taking tests! The students have thoroughly enjoyed learning about the community that they live in and we have found a way to give back to the community that has given so much to Washington State Community College."