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Knacktive teams develop marketing strategies, recommendations for Iowa county

Mark Hornickel

Fifteen weeks of intense collaboration and late nights debating how to best promote a neighboring Iowa county culminated April 29 with the announcement of the Knacktive team that best met the needs of their client.

Knacktive, the Northwest Missouri State University program that places advanced undergraduate students in an environment mimicking a digital media marketing agency, partnered this spring with Ringgold County, Iowa, to devise a comprehensive marketing campaign aimed at growing opportunities for business, residents and tourism.

After an afternoon during which three Knacktive teams pitched their ideas to a group of Ringgold County representatives, the client concluded The Magic Beanstalk – a team comprised of Alexandria Benton, Kelby Dressler, Jessica Vogt, Silvia Alberti, Uhoman April Moltok, Joey Dixon, Lacy Feldhacker and Dalton Sterbenz – gave the best presentation.

Molly Murphy, a resident of the county who has worked with major companies in the corporate communication field and volunteers with the Ringgold County Development Corporation, said the team of Ringgold County representatives appreciated the way The Magic Beanstalk exhibited professionalism and connected with its audience to build trust and champion their proposals while taking some risks.

Murphy also said they appreciated that Knacktive students didn’t view their assignment as just class project.

“Every team had ideas that we want to implement,” she said. “They were impressive. They make a difference, and it’s something that’s tangible for us. It’s not just things that can happen in theory. It’s things that we can really bring to practice that will make our community better.”

Among their recommendations, The Magic Beanstalk proposed an extensive social media plan aimed at generating interest in the county among young adults, particularly young couples interested in starting families and living in the rural area. The team developed its name as a representation of each bean – or student – growing to better themselves for a successful future.

“It’s extremely exciting, and it feels like our hard work paid off,” Feldhacker, Team Beanstalk’s project manager and a senior business management and marketing major from Republic, Missouri, said. “It gives us a lot of real-world experience, and I love all the things that we were able to make.”

Sterbenz, Team Beanstalk’s multiplatform content creator and a senior public relations major from Lee’s Summit, Missouri, said the interdisciplinary experience that Knacktive offers helped him develop more versatile skills and knowledge as he prepares to enter the communication field.

“There’s a lot of skills that I've gotten to brush up on and even learn from my team members that I would've never gotten the chance to learn in a classroom or from a professor – just because it’s a little bit different of an environment whenever you’re working in a professional setting versus working with a one-on-one instructor,” he said.