The Institute for Business Analytics and Visualization (IBAV) brings together cutting-edge software and the expertise of top faculty members and students to offer help in a variety of business areas.
At the request of CSIA’s managing director, a team of students assessed the company’s social media strategy and developed a new strategy to increase the organization’s social media presence among its target audiences. The team recommended the most relevant channels to use, determined the optimum number of posts to make daily and weekly, proposed an app to generate easy monthly online polls, provided a listing of appropriate boards or websites from which to source content for reposting and recommended a free website for managing the content. The team also constructed a sample job posting because the CSIA was seeking to hire someone part time to manage its social media strategy. The team highlighted the job responsibilities, the estimated amount of time needed to execute these tasks and the required education and certifications for the position. The plan for executing the strategy was formally presented to the client on December 14, 2016.
After analyzing the social media presence of Crystal House’s competitors, a team of students developed a digital marketing plan incorporating the results of the marketing research conducted during the Fall 2015 Semester. The objectives of the plan were to build brand awareness, educate consumers about the company’s personalized crystal products and incite desire in consumers to purchase the products. The team began by developing a clear and distinctive message, creating a new tagline for Crystal House. The team also revamped the company’s website, updated online directories, created content for blog posts, identified the most popular home décor and crystal-related blogs, and drafted emails so the owner could inquire about placing advertisements on those blogs.
A team of students reviewed the organization’s website and made recommendations for branding and improving the user experience. As part of the review, competitive benchmarking with peer websites was performed. In addition, online ad and keyword ideas were generated using Google AdWords.
A team of students conducted a marketing research study to determine how end consumers view bilingual packaging on Federated Group’s Parade brand of grocery items. The vice president of Marketing Services for SailPointe Creative Group (the marketing arm of Federated Group) requested the students to investigate whether full-Spanish translation on packaging is a point of differentiation that encourages consumers to purchase more or acts as a possible deterrent to sales.
After submitting a secondary research report to the client, the students conducted primary research using a questionnaire approved by the client. The team used the Field Agent app to survey 100 respondents who resided in Texas where the Parade brand is sold and there is a high population of Spanish-speaking consumers. Results of the study were presented to the vice president of Marketing Services On May 10, 2017. To make a final decision whether to reintroduce its English-only product with bilingual packaging, the vice president of Marketing Services combined the team’s findings with a separate study conducted by IRI.
At the request of the vice president of Marketing Services for SailPointe Creative Group (the marketing arm of Federated Group), a team of students conducted a pilot study with the goal of helping the company identify whether mid-sized companies utilize a marketing plan and to determine if those companies have a formal marketing plan development process.. After designing a questionnaire and having it approved by the client, the team conducted telephone or email interviews with representatives from a sample of companies. The results of this study were presented to the client on May 3, 2016. The study will be used as a basis for determining whether Federated Group will adopt a formal marketing planning process.
The CEO of Ballco Manufacturing felt that the company had a firm grip on the ball valve manufacturing market, but wanted to increase sales by diversifying its customer base through promotion of the company’s ability to manufacture other machined metal parts. The CEO requested a team of students conduct research to estimate the demand for the company’s products in its identified industries of interest and develop an actionable marketing plan to address that demand. The team first conducted secondary research to gain a better understanding of the manufactured metal components sector and specific industries within. This effort was undertaken to identify those industries that might have a need for the machined metal components Ballco manufactures. Using the results, the team designed a questionnaire approved by the client to conduct primary research. The team identified purchasing managers in companies within those industries of interest to Ballco and conducted the survey using either questionnaires sent via U.S. mail or telephone interviews. The results of this study were presented to Ballco on December 16, 2015, along with a promotional plan that was developed based on those results.
The purchase of crystal products is typically associated with special occasions like weddings or designated to a certain age group. However, to be successful in the business, the sellers of such products need to know a whole lot more about the typical customer.
A team of students conducted a customer profile analysis to help the owner of Crystal House to gain a better understanding of potential customers. The team identified who their customers are, where they purchase gift items, how much they typically spend and the types of crystal products they purchase or may consider purchasing. In addition to secondary research, the team conducted primary research that resulted in a total of 66 online and 15 personal customer interviews. The team’s findings were presented to the owner and used as the basis for the marketing plan the team also developed for the company.
As part of its efforts to help ConAgra Foodservice identify what innovations to launch and how to best build its Innovation Pipeline, a team of students conducted secondary research in the form of a segmentation analysis and recommended specific segments that should be targeted.
In the spring of 2015, the same team conducted primary research through a survey of college students, typical end users of the commercial and non-commercial segments in the industry. The primary objective of this research was to determine the next best innovation for the company to introduce in the griddle category. The team formally presented the results of both the secondary and the primary research to a group of seven ConAgra managers and directors at the company’s Diehl Road location on April 29, 2015.
Two teams of students conducted research to assist Cesar Canonigo, managing partner of Lisle Lanes, in attracting a younger demographic to his business. The teams investigated the competitive environment and needs of the demographic. The results were then used as a basis for a marketing/promotional plan for Canonigo.
After conducting secondary and primary research, the team of students assigned to this project created a marketing plan for Ballco Manufacturing focused on how to best promote the company’s products. One major component of this promotional plan was a redesign of the company’s website, which included improving its verbiage, making basic syntax changes and making the website easier to navigate. In addition, the team recommended a “three-touch” system consisting of a promotional postcard, a phone call from a company sales representative and a site visit from that sales representative. The team designed the postcard and included a sample as part of its formal presentation to the CEO on December 16, 2016. The company has since implemented many of the team’s recommendations.
Two teams of students completed a project for Barbara Fuglsang, D.V.M., owner of K9 Swim & Trim. As part of the detailed marketing plans they developed, the teams recommended a positioning statement that could clearly distinguish K9 Swim & Trim from its competitors. The teams suggested Fuglsang could attract a different target market by offering additional services and recommended a pricing strategy that included a customer loyalty program. Each plan also included a detailed promotional component with sample materials Fuglsang could use. The teams formally presented their plans on May 4, 2015.
After conducting a thorough situation analysis of the company and some secondary research, the teams of students assigned to this project developed a complete marketing plan for Lisle Lanes and presented their plans to Cesar Canonigo on May 4, 2015. Emphasis was placed on the promotional component of each plan with a focus on digital marketing efforts to attract a younger demographic – specifically college students.
The team assigned to this project developed an integrated marketing communications (IMC) plan designed to increase awareness of Federated Group’s Hy-Top brand and expand its geographic footprint. The two-part plan included tactics designed for both retailers and end customers. The team conducted secondary research to gain a thorough understanding of the Hy-Top product line and its current and potential customers. The results of this research enabled the team to refine the brand’s overarching message and develop both a positioning statement and creative brief. Components of the plan included print and digital advertising; in-store advertising, including grocery cart ads and floor stickers; consumer promotions, including in-store sampling; cause marketing; an updated Facebook page; permission marketing (in the form of email marketing); point-of-sale kits; shelf advertising; end-of-aisle displays; and recommendations for the use of Twitter and Pinterest. The team also developed a mobile app to allow consumers to engage with the company. A formal report was presented to the client on December 14, 2016, along with samples of advertisements and promotional items.
Since the recession that began in 2008, private brands have grown in popularity. At the same time, consumers are increasingly demanding healthier foods, such as foods that are certified non-GMO, organic, and free of preservatives. Seven Farms™, Federated Group’s premium private brand, offers such benefits; however, this message had not yet (as of September 2015) been widely communicated to the targeted consumer segment. Seeking ideas for promoting Seven Farms™ like a national brand, a representative from SailPointe Creative Group (a division of Federated Group) enlisted the help of students at Benedictine University.
Utilizing integrated marketing communications (IMC) methods, teams of students developed creative concepts and tactics to raise brand awareness among the target market of health-conscious mothers and promote the brand to private brand retailers. The IMC campaigns created by the teams included advertising programs, a digital marketing plan, a variety of consumer promotions, a personal selling plan and sponsorship programs. The plans were formally presented to the company on November 24, 2015. The company has since implemented some of the teams’ recommendations.
Needing to actively market CSIA’s recently revised Certified Customer Service Manager course, the organization’s managing director asked a team of students to develop a strategy that CSIA could use to promote/market the course to the organization’s key decision-makers across the United States and globally. The strategy developed by the team focused primarily on promotion. However, due to the global nature of the course and different regional needs, product/service and pricing components were also developed. After forming the requested strategy for corporations, the team also recommended a new target market for the course – university students who are pursuing customer-related degrees. As a result, a separate marketing strategy was created for this target market. The two strategies included recommendations for customizing the product/service, including how to offer it online, and pricing variations and promotion. The marketing strategy, sample promotional materials and recommendations for implementation were formally delivered to the managing director through both an oral presentation and a written report on May 10, 2017.
A team of students developed a promotional plan for Tom Case, president of the Camelot Company, coordinating the company’s marketing communications tools, including personal selling. At the core of the plan was a unified message that clearly distinguished Camelot from its competitors. The team also created a new logo and developed a sample brochure with the logo and the major message theme. The team’s recommendations were based on a small marketing research study they conducted to uncover why some potential customers do not select Camelot as their customs clearance broker. The plan, along with the promotional item, was formally presented to Case and one of his associates on May 7, 2015. Case said he immediately implemented the team’s recommendations.
Companies the IBAV has completed projects for continue to be impressed with the results.
“Benedictine University was recommended by a representative of SCORE (a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration) who was consulting with Ballco. After an initial meeting with the administrators of the business school, Ballco engaged the University to initiate a targeted marketing program. The focus of the marketing program was to research and identify prospective customers for Ballco Manufacturing—specifically to assist Ballco in an effort to diversify its customer base. Students were selected and meetings were held in a timely manner. The students were actively engaged and communicated freely as the project progressed though the research stage into the strategy phase.
“When the final presentation was delivered, the students equally participated in the process and handled questions with aplomb. The result was a complete marketing plan that Ballco has since acted upon. I would recommend this program particularly to business owners looking to expand their marketing efforts. The students are knowledgeable in social media, thoughtful about their strategy and diligent to complete their work on time.”
Ballco Manufacturing Inc.