Texas Tech University

Partnerships Benefit Marketing Students and Community

Chelsea Grunden and Kaitlin York

Many courses in the Area of Marketing partner with non-profit organizations and local businesses in order to give marketing students opportunities to apply what they learn in class while also positively impacting the community. These partnerships create a win-win situation: students get hands-on experience and these organizations and businesses get marketing insight and suggestions. Professors at the Rawls College continue to incorporate this approach in their classes.

Dino Villegas, associate professor of practice in marketing, had students in Integrated Marketing Communications (MKT 4354) create and present an integrated marketing plan for different clients, including West Texas ER, Viva Kids! and a Texas Tech study abroad program. For the students' final presentation, they pitched their marketing plan to the client.

Students enrolled in Marketing Research and Analysis (MKT 3356) with Deidre Popovich, assistant professor of marketing, completed a semester-long research project for Texas Tech's Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures (CMLL) department. Students conducted a survey aimed to identify marketing strategy for increasing enrollment in foreign language courses. Students analyzed the data they collected and presented recommendations to the department.

"I was impressed with the students' research and marketing plans," Erin Collopy, department chair of CMLL and associate professor of Russian, said. "I think their ideas will be very useful. We plan on implementing many of them, such as using email campaigns, meeting with campus advisors and developing a marketing video to be shown in first semester language classes, among other things."

Digital Marketing (MKT 4355), which is taught by Debbie Laverie, associate professor of marketing, was offered for the first time last fall and included a service learning project with Lubbock Art Alliance. This non-profit organization works to ensure that Lubbock has vibrant, growing art scene that remains accessible to every member of the community. Students focused on creating a social media plan using what they learned class.

"My students learned aspects of working with a client, such as and the real-world constraints that make digital marketing more difficult. These projects helped them gain more of an understanding," Laverie said.

Bob McDonald, professor of marketing and supply chain management, has partnered three of his classes with the local nonprofit organization Sondra's Song, which helps young adults who have aged out of the foster care system. The classes have raised between $15,000 and $20,000 for the organization in each semester of the partnership.

"The goal of service learning is not only to afford students the opportunity to apply concepts learned in class, but also to encourage a lifelong commitment for students to give back to their community," McDonald said.

In both the undergraduate and STEM MBA Personal Selling classes (MKT 4350 and BA 7000), the students participate in a fundraising assignment. The assignment has the students apply the personal selling techniques learned in the course to raise money to help Sondra's Song further its mission.

For the Marketing Concepts and Strategies class (MKT 5360) in the MBA for Working Professionals program, students worked with Sondra's Song to help with everything from improving its web presence, attracting volunteers and giving ideas for promotional and fundraising events.

"It has been a positive experience working with these students," Sandi Turner, director of Sondra's Song, said. "They have been a blessing to us. At the beginning of the semester, everyone is kind of leery of who we are and what we do, but I think over time as they go out there and fundraise for us, they start learning more about our mission and the impact we have on the kids."