Business-to-Business Marketing Students Work With Local Company to Develop Marketing Plan
A Penn State Smeal College of Business marketing class led by Carolyn Todd, instructor in marketing, got a real-world perspective on product development and marketing during a recent visit from Scott Diminick, a marketing manager for Pennsylvania-based company New Pig.
Diminick also charged the class with its semester-long project: developing a marketing plan for a recent New Pig product designed to absorb liquid waste on operating room floors as a result of arthroscopic surgery.
“Connections like the one we have with New Pig really enhance what we’re able to do in the classroom.”
During his visit, Diminick talked about the product and its development process, giving students a first-hand look at the level of research and information a company must have as it works to move into a new market. He also talked about issues that are unique to business-to-business marketing, such as the challenges of distribution and learning about who makes the buying decisions in different kinds of markets.
“This is a great opportunity for students to hear about the whole process, from market research to product development, and marketing communications,” said Todd. “All these pieces play a role in business-to-business marketing, and I think projects like these give students a better understanding of how marketing fits into the business as a whole.”
Over the course of the semester, students will analyze a case study—including details on New Pig’s current customer base, opportunities in the health care industry, target market size and buying behavior, and distribution—and do their own further research to develop marketing recommendations.
“As marketing methods continue to evolve toward digital communication, it will be interesting to learn how the students might conceive a marketing plan that utilizes methods such as social networking or other new ways to get your message to potential customers,” Diminick said.
"[P]rojects like these give students a better understanding of how marketing fits into the business as a whole.”
At the end of the semester, Diminick will return to the classroom to view presentations from the students on their marketing plans, which will include a detailed plan for trade show participation and a direct mail piece.
“Connections like the one we have with New Pig really enhance what we’re able to do in the classroom,” said Todd. “There is so much value in showing our students how marketing really functions in the workplace, and I hope that New Pig gets value from our students’ ideas as well.”
Smeal is known for its strength in business-to-business marketing, both in education and research. The Institute for the Study of Business Markets is a center of excellence at the college that networks business-to-business researchers, educators, and practitioners in companies and universities throughout the world. Founded in 1983, the ISBM’s mission is to expand research and teaching in business-to-business marketing and sales in academia and improve the practice of business-to-business marketing and sales in industry.