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By Brittany Smythe
BSBA Marketing ’11

As part of their experience in the Eller Leadership and Integrity Training for Excellence (ELITE) program, pre-business freshman participated in an apprentice competition which introduced them to business management and marketing. The five-week contest required teamwork, leadership, strategic planning, and a well-designed advertising campaign. This year, ELITE reached out to the local community and partnered with El Saguarito, a family-owned Mexican-food restaurant a short walk from McClelland Hall. 

The six student groups worked to implement creative marketing strategies to generate awareness and increase lunch sales over a one month period. Each team was allotted the three hour block of time between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on a particular day to host a campaign and observe the resulting lunch sales. The off-campus element added a unique challenge for ELITE members, as they had to convince individuals to actually walk over to the restaurant rather than choosing to eat at on-campus dining locations. The two winning teams thought outside the box when designing their marketing campaigns. 

“They did things like having raffles at the restaurant on their specific day, handed out coupons, and focused on the Eller student body and Eller faculty, since they are the closest to the restaurant,” said Rachel Conway, ELITE coordinator.”Some brought food from the restaurant to campus and utilized the restaurant’s catering abilities to appeal to off-campus locations.”

At the end of the month-long promotion, the ELITE members presented their results in a simulatedApprentice-style boardroom where Kirt Gardner acted as Donald Trump and the ELITE Leadership Board asked questions. Teams were evaluated on increase in lunch sales for each team’s individual day, professionalism throughout the project, creativity of marketing campaign, and presentation quality. 

The project managers of the top three teams were then presented their results to the board, demonstrating their teamwork and ability to overcome challenges The winning team included pre-business freshmen Michelle Vock, Alexis Dettra, Austin Holt, Garrett Voge, and Chelsea Aron. “Not only did they generate the largest revenue increase, but their creative marketing strategy also helped them earn the best overall score when all categories were assessed.  An honorable mention was the runner-up group, which included Barbra Radford, Nidhi Arrora, Kimra Griffin, and Anthony Vito.

“Using their knowledge gained throughout the course of the year, the 2009-2010 ELITE students were able to effectively increase sales for El Saguarito through teamwork, leadership, strategic planning, and well-designed advertising campaigns,” said Conway.

The first-place team was awarded $150 total in gift cards from the El Saguarito, as well as gift cards for the UA BookStores and a dinner with associate dean of undergraduate programs Pam Perry