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By Eller College

Group a

Students brainstorming in class.

The UA is about putting concepts, discussions, and theories into actual practice, and Eller’s Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) course for professionally admitted business students is doing just that.                                

Early in the semester, a host company or organization sends representatives to the class who present a particular marketing issue the enterprise is facing.  Students work in small groups or “agencies” which mirror the workings of a full-service advertising agency and have what remains of the semester to develop their ideas and ultimately present them to the client.

The course content is organized such that the components of IMC—advertising, public relations, sales promotion, and personal selling – correlate with the requirements of the students’ presentations.

To add realism to the challenge, each agency is in competition with other teams from the course in a “bake off” whereby the competition’s sponsor ultimately selects the one agency which the most strategically sound, creative, and workable ideas.

Although some class time is devoted to the various competing agencies to work on the project, most of the work is performed outside the classroom. Questions that arise are fed directly to the organization and all teams have the opportunity to read what others have asked about and the organization’s response.

Jim McLean, instructor for the IMC course, commented that it is especially rewarding to see “how creative the students’ strategies and tactics are. Especially for seniors, this is a nice introduction to what they’ll be expected to do working in a marketing environment.”  He also pointed to the client side benefits. “It’s also rewarding how impressed each sponsor is when they see and hear the students’ recommendations.”

The current spring semester class is working with Waste Management on the many challenges that surround recycling. The company is seeking more participation from Millennials but also to have this group more aware of what can and can’t be recycled.  The fall semester’s challenge came from Goodwill Industries of Southern Arizona and its need to change the perception young adults have of Goodwill stores.

Top photo of representatives from each of the six Waste Management class agencies. L-R: Kyle Brindlinger, Bryce Patrick, Aaron Collins (facility manager, Waste Management), David Kisiel, Tanner Hoskin, and Adrianne Medina.