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Marketers practice selling the future

2010-04-29T00:42:00Z Marketers practice selling the futureBy JOHN HARRINGTON Independent Record Helena Independent Record
April 29, 2010 12:42 am  • 

Several marketing students took a trip into the future Wednesday afternoon, where they showed that technology might change but the basics of marketing and selling remain pretty much the same.

As a final project in Steve Dee’s advertising and consumer promotion class, groups of six juniors and seniors were tasked with developing a marketing plan, advertising campaign and budget for a fictional “green” car using technology that’s expected to be available in 2019.

“This is an opportunity for them to express themselves in a simulated real-world environment in a future position where they can present, in 15 minutes, a reasonably comprehensive plan,” said Dee, who has taught at Carroll since 1986.

Starting with a handful of basics — including a sticker price ($25,000) and marketing budget ($1 billion) — but on their own to define the vehicle they were selling, students went in several directions. One group proposed a battery-powered hybrid that will get 78 miles per gallon; another pitched a hydrogen vehicle that can go 5,000 miles on a gallon of tap water; and a third group pitched a vehicle with three power sources: bio-diesel, solar and battery.

Some students dedicated part of their marketing budget to consumer study before determining where to spend their advertising dollars.

“We took a quantitative-data approach to gain insight into consumer preference,” explained Caley Murphy, whose group presented plans for the Apollo Spyder hybrid. In addition to broadcast, Internet and print media, the group proposed sponsoring an “Eco-Palooza” event highlighting new green products.

The sales team for the Chevrolet TriVette, the car with three power sources, proposed a pair of marketing schemes to reach separate demographics: making their car the pace car for NASCAR stock car races across the country and developing a video game for the PlayStation 5. Between them, the two approaches would blanket the target 18- to 35-year-old demographic, creative director Billy Wagner said.

Dee said he drills the students on strong writing and speaking skills, and there was a noticeable lack of “ums,” “yeahs” and “likes” during the presentations.

Dee added that creative thinking was an important piece of the project, just as the students will find it to be when they’re making sales pitches for real.

“It takes invention, it takes creativity,” he said. “There’s no way we’re going to grow without invention. Where we are today versus 2019 will be wherever we want to be. If we’re inventive and creative, we’ll have a great outcome.”

John Harrington: 447-4080 or

Copyright 2015 Helena Independent Record. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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