College marketing students trump university teams
According to teacher Peter Moran, selling a house or a new car is relatively easy, but how do you sell an idea, an intangible like good health?
That was the task Moran gave students in his part-time Marketing Services course at Centennial College. It was a business challenge that would not have been out of place on Donald Trump's The Apprentice.
Continuing education students Eric Sneep (left) and Dimitra Miras were recognized by Centennial College for their winning marketing plan, which will help the Toronto Public Health raise public awareness of TB. The pair are pictured with their teacher, Peter Moran.
In the assignment, which involved a real-world client, one team of four students went on to win the competition to raise public awareness of tuberculosis on behalf of Toronto Public Health. Dimitra Miras, Eric Sneep, Mustafa Wafa and Liza Wei created an original marketing strategy that will be shared with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ontario Ministry of Health.
The contest had attracted 12 marketing plans from Toronto's four colleges and three universities last spring, but it was Centennial's student campaign that proved to be the best of the bunch. The team received a $200 honorarium.
"It was a challenging assignment. The campaign had to reach the target audience: people who have either an active or latent infection, and encourage them to act; that is, come in and get tested," Moran says.
Tuberculosis (TB) was deemed a global emergency by WHO in 1993. It is estimated that one-third of the world's population is infected with TB, resulting in 2 million deaths annually. Some 350 cases of TB are reported in Toronto every year.
The students' winning marketing plan provided demographic analysis of new-Canadian groups and their settlement patterns, and outlined low-cost means to reach the target market, including placing multilingual posters in strategic locations such as ethnic retail centres and health clinics.
Centennial College offers more than 1,000 part-time courses during the evening, weekends and online for working professionals.
Two-thirds of continuing education students already have a post-secondary education, proving that more education never hurts.
29% of Centennial's continuing education students had their employers pay all or part of their course tuition.
Continuing education fall semester is starting right now! To register at Centennial, call 416-289-5300 or visit www.centennialcollege.ca/continuingeducation.
"Peter gave us a lot of direction," says Miras, who effectively led the winning team. "The internet provided a lot of the demographics we used in the plan."
Like many continuing education students, Miras, 43, works full time during the day. She decided to pursue a marketing certificate part time at Centennial to improve her skills and her chances at a job promotion (she's a sales manager for Yellow Pages). "I also enjoy the personal fulfillment of completing something."
Moran says marketing services requires a special knack. "Selling furniture is easy. The customer can examine the table, feel how sturdy it is. The table sells itself."
At the other end of the continuum, says Moran, is the challenge of promoting an idea. "How do you sell the promise of health?"
Moran's students uncovered the secret by preparing a detailed marketing plan.
"The students at Centennial did a superb job," wrote Toronto Public Health nurse Casey Wigg in a congratulatory letter. "I was thoroughly impressed with their professionalism and the calibre of their work."
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