Marketing contest open to students
Published: Friday, September 20, 2013
Updated: Friday, September 20, 2013 02:09
Marketing students in UConn’s School of Business have the opportunity to create and execute an advertising campaign for Sears Holdings Corporation. The company, who is the retailer behind Sears, Kmart, Kenmore, Land’s End and more, is holding this competition for students from over 40 colleges across the country.
In this competition, teams of up to six students create and implement a marketing strategy to grow the company’s member-curated program, Personal Shopper, which provides customers with personal shoppers through a digital platform.
At the end of the competition, teams will present their strategies and results, as well as suggestions for the product. Teams are judged on their research, business judgements, and the number of sales and clients they’ve acquired through their strategies. Each member of the winning team will win a 16GB iPad Mini.
The competition’s official deadline is September 20, but Amy Robelet, Manager of Marketing Planning at Personal Shopper, said that this is a very loose deadline. So far, teams from less than ten schools have signed up.
Sears Holding Corporation has held a competition for college students before, but it was limited to the University of Chicago. This is the company’s first national collegiate competition.
Robelet said this competition would be great for students interested in many facets of business. “It’s actually really well rounded,” said Robelet. “It includes retail and marketing and business. You’re promoting the products, but you’re also running it like a start-up business.”
In addition to learning lessons about marketing, students could also work with some high-profile members of the business world. “It’s going to have really high visibility,” said Robelet. Judges could include the senior vice president of Sears Holdings Corporation. Since there are currently very few teams entered in the competition, all students involved have the potential to receive a lot of attention.
Professors at UConn believe that competitions such as these are very beneficial for students’ learning and development. “When students get their hands dirty and shift from passive learners to active learners, concepts seem to stick with them better,” said Dr. David Norton, assistant professor of marketing. “It’s one thing for a faculty member to say, ‘This is how business works.’ It’s entirely another thing to actually experience the way ‘business works’ yourself.”
Norton explained that these kinds of competitions can help students build confidence and develop goals. They can also help students set themselves apart in the job market.
“In marketing we teach the concept of differentiation, and the same concepts can be applied to job-seekers,” said Norton. “If you’re simply one of many great UConn students, you may not stand out. But if you can talk in an interview about experiences you’ve had during a competition, then you may have an advantage over other candidates.”
While college students can certainly benefit by competing, the competition might also help out the Personal Shopping program. “We are going to take the ideas that are presented, and they could definitely be implemented,” said Robelet.
Although no UConn students are currently involved in this competition, some have previously competed in similar programs. This past spring, students in the Integrated Marketing Communications course developed a promotional campaign for the 2013 Honda Civic sedan. They utilized Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter, and brought a few Honda Civics to Fairfield Way for students to experience. They competed against nineteen other university teams across the country. Last October, students in the Marketing, Sales, and Management fraternity Pi Sigma Epsilon competed in case competitions, a Speaker’s competition, and a Pro-Am Sell-a-Thon, in which marketing major Gregory Richards ’13 took first place.
Mary Cooper, a 7th-semester marketing major and marketing assistant for the School of Business, finds some of these competitions and makes sure that students are aware of them.
“It’s something we’re trying to expand on, because we do think that there are a lot of opportunities and they’re important for students,” said Cooper.