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May 16, 2011
MARYVILLE, Mo. - Students in Northwest Missouri State University's advanced advertising strategies course this spring gained valuable experience building and designing a marketing campaign that may pay off for its client as well as educators and students.
While past clients of the advertising strategies course have included North Kansas City Hospital, Kansas City Power and Light and John Deere, the Money Museum posed some unique challenges for the students, course instructor Jacquie Lamer said.
"This was a real challenge for the students," said Lamer, instructor in the Department of Mass Communication. "Not only did they have to learn about the nation's monetary system, they also had to learn about the constraints of the education system, as the target for this campaign was middle school teachers in the greater Kansas City area."
Aiming their campaign at increasing visits to the Money Museum, the students researched the Federal Reserve as well as trends in educational tourism and national tourism. They also analyzed strengths and opportunities at the museum. Eventually they zeroed in on a target audience of middle schools in the Kansas City area.
The students then looked to focus groups and interviewed teachers to help them develop the campaign and its materials. Components of their plan consisted of a teacher visit day, direct mailings, in-school promotional materials, social media links, mobile apps and teacher planning guides.
"The campaign the students put together was outstanding," said Melissa Jackson, public affairs supervisor for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. "They offered several innovative ideas and strategies that are atop advertising industry trends. It was obvious to us that they spent a lot of time conducting market research, developing their strategy and putting together materials for their presentation."
The campaign, titled "Grow With the Money Museum," had to entice youth and teachers to visit the museum, but also portray the Federal Reserve's characteristics of trustworthiness and confidence.
The students' 45-minute pitch, along with a question-answer session, to bank and museum staff April 20 was the culmination of the trimester-long project. Jackson said the Money Museum is now looking at ways it can implement the students' ideas for social media, targeting educators, and the use of QR codes into the museum's marketing strategy.
"The class did a wonderful job with the presentation," Jackson said. "Their hard work and all of the time they put into preparing for the presentation showed. We asked the students a lot of questions and they were able to answer all of them."
Beginning in 2003, the advanced advertising strategies course has developed as a capstone experience for senior advertising and interactive digital media majors at Northwest that is designed to replicate a real work environment. The course works with a single client for the duration of the trimester, solving real issues related to integrated marketing, advertising, internet publishing and promotions. Classes are run like business meetings, and students are assigned to both a research team and an implementation team.
At the end of each course, students present their work to the client at the client's headquarters.
Students also benefit from opportunities to network with professionals and develop relationships that could lead to careers in the industry. Northwest alumnus Kevin Fullerton, owner of Springboard Creative advertising agency in Kansas City, Kan., and president of the Kansas City chapter of the American Advertising Federation, serves as a consultant to the students.
Students call the course a refreshing spin on a traditional course and say it even has the feel of a rigorous internship. In addition to advertising strategies, students must learn problem-solving strategies and develop a solid group dynamic to be successful.
"Of all the classes I've taken at Northwest, this is the most beneficial," said Chaasia Marshall, a senior applied advertising major from Kansas City. "We were exposed to a lot of professionals, challenges, all of the above."
For more information about the course and a sampling of the students' work go to http://advadv.blogspot.com/.
Mark Hornickel, Media Relations Specialist
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468