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With the Help of Hands-On Assignments and Guest Speakers, MSLCE Students Learn the Power of Marketing

By Dan Li

At the end of spring quarter, MSLCE students presented marketing plans for potential businesses and organizations as part of the final project for the Marketing Strategies for Creative Enterprises course, taught by Northwestern Professor Richard Kolsky.

Students had worked on these projects, which included Lipstick City, NOLApalooza (New Orleans Lollapalooza), and Baywatch, for the whole quarter.

“Marketing plays a crucial role in the success of creative enterprises, which not only spend billions advertising and promoting their properties, but also depend heavily on the kindness of strangers (advertisers) to fund their businesses,” Kolsky said.

Throughout the course, students learned that many marketers rely too heavily on being mysterious, going with the “we’re different” approach, failing to practice good marketing fundamentals. Students also learned the core marketing principles and methodologies of all different kinds of industries, and gained deep insight into how each market operates under different organizational levels.

Each month, students were exposed to different marketing departments of each industry: Gordon Montgomery, CMO of the Art Institute of Chicago, came to class to talk about building marketing strategies for the recent Vincent Van Gogh exhibition at AIC. Alison Miller, CMO of the Chicago Cubs, talked about the team’s success in capturing the value of Cubbie love.

Students were also given a chance to investigate the sectors themselves through a Mystery Shopping assignment that was different from any other course assignment. This assignment helped students discover the first point of view as a target consumer to buying, experiencing, or watching anything. As they went through the experience, students were told to initially describe the interaction and what they hoped to experience, then to take down notes of the whole process, describing the choice of interaction, and suggesting ways it could have been improved. As the target customer, students then gained insight into how to improve their possible future businesses and grow awareness towards building a successful marketing campaign.

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