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Principles of Marketing students present real-world applications and plans to local business owner banner

Principles of Marketing students present real-world applications and plans to local business owner

December 13, 2023

DURANT, Okla. – As students across every major at Southeastern Oklahoma State University are taking final exams to wrap up the Fall 2023 semester, one course’s final presentation aims to have real world implications for a local business owner, as well as the students in the course.

Students in Dr. Eric Kennedy’s Principles of Marketing course gave group presentations to Sarah Hill, the owner of Unshakable Fitness in Durant, on their strategies to increase business for the company.

Six groups gave presentations to Hill and Kennedy on Tuesday as their final, having critically examined Unshakable Fitness’ current business model, marketing techniques, and potential opportunities. The students were given a budget to allocate and a brief period to explain their strategies to market the business.

“It makes me feel very vulnerable, but at the same time I’m very honored that they took the time to be that thorough in trying to improve my business,” Hill said. “Even if it was for a grade, they really made a lot of valid points that I find extremely useful.”

With the ever-growing presence of social media for small business marketing strategies, many groups focused on new platforms and engagement techniques, as well as community involvement, and improvement of website operations. Hill was pleased that many of the options presented by the Southeastern students have the potential for immediate implementation with minimal upfront costs.

“I’m extremely excited and motivated to improve some of the things that I heard today,” Hill said. “Today’s presentations motivate me and encourage me to pull the trigger on some ideas a little sooner than I was going to.”

Kennedy was pleased with the presentations and students’ work, as this has been the course’s sole focus since November. This is the second fall semester Kennedy has offered this course with the direct impact on a local business.

“It’s exciting to see them come in here the last day of the class versus the first day of the class and see how much they’ve changed over the course of a few months. It’s gratifying to me because I can see they took what we talked about in the first half of the class and now they’re really getting to apply it into the real world and standing in front of a business owner and have the confidence to say, ‘Hey Sarah, you’re not doing this right. Here’s a better way to do it based on the things that we’ve learned.’ It makes me feel good that they kind of get the process now and they understand the whole scope of this class.”

Presentations involved slide decks and printed materials, which were given as each group’s overall marketing plan. With the completion of the projects and course, Kennedy’s students will have a head start on their future careers, having developed a business’ marketing plan from start to finish.

“As these students move on into their professional lives later, they should have a leg up on some other candidates, as they can put on their résumé that they’ve done full marketing plans for a small business,” Kennedy said. “Over my career, I’ve seen many students get jobs at least in part because of the work they’ve done in this course. This is one of my favorite courses to teach because of the impact it has both on local business and our students’ future careers.”

If you own a small business and are interested in partnering with marketing courses at SE, please contact Kennedy at ekennedy@se.edu.