Pop culture inspires innovative teaching

5/8/2008 - By: Jill Stockton

More than 30 University marketing students in Judy Strauss’ Advanced Marketing Management class have had an interesting and unusual spring semester.

“The class is run like the TV show The Apprentice,” Strauss said. “There are six competitive teams each with five to six members. Ten percent of their grade is based on the competition — whichever team has the most profits will win.

“Students also must write a graded, task-debriefing memo at each tasks’ end worth 80 percent of their grade — where they evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their project deliverable, and connect it to marketing theory and concepts they’ve learned in this class and others. The final 10 percent of their grade is based on the average ranking each team member receives in terms of value to the team.”

The advanced marketing students will finish the semester May 10 by creating a branded dog-washing service, which includes a location at the campus’ Manzanita Bowl.

“The dog-washing service is an applied use of every marketing tool these students are familiar with,” Strauss said. “The service must compete well with the other teams, be competitively priced with a reasonable break-even point and occur in a location that will draw customers and their dogs. Students will promote their service using marketing communication pieces.”

All proceeds from the dog wash will be donated to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) of Northern Nevada. Prices for the service vary by team.

“Most importantly, as marketers, we always have to remember to give back to the community that buys our products,” Strauss said. “That is why we selected the SPCA.”

The following teams have organized the May 10 dog-washing service:

:: “Funds for Fido Dog Wash”
Jerry Whitehead Elementary School, 3570 Waterfall Drive, Sparks
10 a.m. until 1 p.m.

:: “Puppy Love”
SPCA of Northern Nevada, 840 East Fifth St., Reno
10 a.m. until 1 p.m.

:: “Doggy Styles”
University of Nevada, Reno Manzanita Bowl
11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

:: “NV Clean Paws”
University of Nevada, Reno Manzanita Bowl
2 p.m. until 5 p.m.

:: “Fierce Five”
Healthy Tails for Dogs, Mayberry Drive, Reno
12 p.m. until 3 p.m.

:: “Bark ‘N Bath”
Sparks Marina
1 p.m. until 4 p.m.

“If you own a dirty dog that needs to get clean, come out and participate in the challenge,” said Jessica Liao, Bark ‘N Bath team member.

Several teams are offering a variety of fun activities in conjunction with their dog-washing services. Activities include: family portraits, dog biscuit tastings, grooming and brushing, environmentally friendly dog beauty products, warm bath water and different types of raffles.

“This has been an awesome class,” said Jessica Stark, Funds for Fido team member. “The training I have received in this class, combined with the way I have been able to apply my marketing knowledge to Judy’s real-world challenges, has been incredible.”

Stark added, “It has been fun competing against my fellow classmates to see which team can develop the best and most creative marketing plan.”

To date students have conducted a strength, weakness, opportunity and threat (SWOT) analysis on the marketing major offered in the College of Business; designed a new marketing major that will attract new students; conducted research to help build nationwide sales for Port of Subs; and have increased membership to the College of Business’ alumni association by 240 percent.

“I have been blown away by the brilliance of the students in this class,” Strauss said. “It is amazing to witness what happens when you give students the opportunity to be creative and solve a problem. The work they have all done is truly remarkable.”


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