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Real-life marketing at UCCB.

The following story is about one of those special occasions in the education system where an academic assignment is created for, and utilized by, an actual organization. It all began in January 1992 when six students at the University College of Cape Breton were given an assignment in their undergraduate marketing management course.

The students involved were Ruthanne Geddes, Kim Gentile, Margaret MacDonald, Paul MacNeil, PatMoore, and Eileen Oldford. Each of these students was employed full-time, in addition to attending university. However, three of the students had something else in common; they were former graduates of the Canadian Institute of Management (CIM) program offered at UCCB. This shared characteristic of the three group members becomes the focal point of this story.

In January, 1992, the professor of the marketing management course, Keith G. Brown, explained that a full-fledged marketing plan was part of the requirements for his course. Professor Brown distributed a list of potential topics for which the university would like actual marketing plans. One of the topics contained within the suggested list was the Canadian Institute of Management. Immediately, the three CIM graduates recognized the opportunity to research and develop a meaningful marketing plan which could actually be put to use in the real world. It was simple to convince the other three group members of the merits of such a project. Immediately, all six group members were striving for the same goal; to produce the best possible marketing plan for CIM.

Over a four month period the students pooled their efforts. The first step in developing their marketing plan was to prepare a situational analysis. This involved analyzing the background, the market, and the objectives of the entity involved. If the situational analysis is done correctly, it lays the foundation for a quality marketing plan. In this instance an exceptional foundation was laid by the situational analysis, and the group received perfect marks for their effort. After this first step was successfully completed, it was necessary to generate a workable marketing plan. The marketing plan section of the report presents a recommended course of action which is designed to counteract any problems identified throughout the plan. Upon completion of this second section, the requirements for the entire marketing plan were fulfilled.

The resulting product was a plan which discussed the underlying problems associated with the CIM program, and offered some methods by which these problems could be remedied. Three issues of concern were reoccurring through the body of the plan. First, there was found to be a blatant lack of awareness about the entire CIM program. Second, an obvious image problem was harming the long-standing reputation of CIM. Finally, inherent communication problems existed, both internally and externally, in the CIM organization. In an attempt to address these issues of concern, the students recommended several avenues. However, these avenues were not exclusive. They were instead, to be taken in conjunction with one another, so they would support each other in remedying the problems of CIM. The main route suggested was a public relations program which included both internal and external packages. The intention here was to successfully increase awareness, improve the image, and stimulate communication where CIM is concerned. In addition to the public relations materials, the plan advised that the CIM alumni association become a more active society. Such an association would substantially increase the ability of local branches to accomplish their respective goals. The current situation has local administration being operated on an entirely volunteer basis. The remaining suggestions included regular seminars, company sponsorships, and local commercials. Each of these would enhance the program and aid in creating a well-rounded marketing itinerary for The Canadian Institute of Management.

Once the plan examined all the problems and structured a course of action designed to attack these problems, it earned the title -- complete. Upon its completion, the plan began the necessary road of approvals. The first stop along this road was Professor Brown's office. Mr. Brown not only approved the plan, but he recognized that a plan of such quality possessed unlimited potential. Thus, he recommended that the plan be presented to the local CIM board of directors. The board of directors for the Cape Breton Branch of CIM gave their stamp of approval and recommended that implementation of the plan begin as soon as possible. But, since the local branch could not afford the full-scale implementation of the plan, it would be necessary to apply to government funding agencies so that at least a portion of the project would be financed. Also, the plan would be presented to the national CIM board in Toronto, for approval, and hopefully, taking into account regional differences, be implemented across the country.

As a result of the success of this plan, two marketing students at UCCB were hired by the department of Extension and Community Affairs to implement the plan on a local level. These two students, John Petruskavich and Glen Sampson, were responsible for designing a new information package for CIM, to include brochures, schedules, maps, and cover letters. In addition, the students took on the responsibility of dealing with local media and funding agencies.

The benefits of this plan will be two-fold. First, the CIM organization in Cape Breton and branches nation-wide will benefit by increased awareness and enrollment. Second, the University College of Cape Breton will be recognized for the high calibre marketing students it is producing.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Canadian Institute of Management
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:CIM News; University College of Cape Breton
Author:Sampson, Glen
Publication:Canadian Manager
Date:Jun 22, 1993
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