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Indiana University Northwest

Office of Marketing and Communications

IU Northwest marketing students provide counsel to local businesses

Students enrolled in Consumer Behavior course recommend increased use of social media, online and print advertising and co-sponsored events


Ben Thomas provides marketing recommendations to his client, Charles & Casassa Insurance, located in Crown Point.

Christopher Sheid/IU Northwest Office of Marketing and Communications
Ben Thomas provides marketing recommendations to his client, Charles & Casassa Insurance, located in Crown Point.

When Jerred Zukanovich, an Indiana University Northwest student, was first tasked with learning about the marketing and communication challenges of AIMS International, his first reaction was, ‘It’s homework, let’s just do the bare minimum to get by.’

But after Zukanovich ventured to Chesterton with his group to meet in-person with their client contacts at AIMS, he said his perspective shifted.

“We realized this is a chance to get a real-world opportunity to help counsel one of the largest executive recruiting and talent management agencies,” Zukanovich said. “My team members and I sat and talked with AIMS for about an hour and asked them all about their company and what they do.”

For the past semester, Zukanovich and his team have been responsible for continuing to learn about their client, AIMS, and specifically about their current marketing initiatives and communication challenges. Their project was part of a 400-level marketing class, entitled “Consumer Behavior,” taught by IU Northwest Professor of Marketing Subir Bandyopadhyay, Ph.D.

Working with the IU Northwest Office of Career Services, Bandyopadhyay secured a total of five Northwest Indiana businesses for his students to analyze and counsel as part of the unique elective offered within the School of Business and Economics.

Student groups in Bandyopadhyay’s class were also assigned to Benavente Eye Care, Charles & Casassa Insurance, Northwest Indiana Times, and the Recycling & Waste Reduction District of Porter County.

“We (School of Business and Economics) try to provide, as part of our curriculum, these kinds of opportunities for the students to apply the knowledge that they are learning,” said Anna Rominger, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Business and Economics. “The School strives to be a good citizen of Northwest Indiana and so we do provide these types of assistance and projects to various clients. This is our way of serving the community and our student body.”

After three months of research, constant communication and team brainstorming, each group presented their recommendations to not only their fellow classmates, but also to their client contacts.

Each presentation started out with general information about the client, and then continued with a basic analysis of the type of marketing and communication initiatives the companies currently conduct.

The final part of the presentation allowed the students to put their years of business and marketing theories to use by presenting their marketing and communication recommendations.

The majority of groups encouraged their clients to incorporate social media into their marketing plans, as students explained that Web sites like Facebook and Twitter allow the client to regularly communicate and engage their target audience.

“We helped our client, Dr. Benavente, with the development of a new logo,” Consumer Behavior student Phil Murray said. “And, he (Dr. Benavente) wasn’t really comfortable with using social media, so it was something we were able to help him out with. Benavente Eye Care has done a lot of advertising, but not much within the social media realm, so were able to help him out with something he wasn’t as familiar with.”

Another group recommended a more traditional form of marketing to raise awareness to her client’s business and to help them reach a new target audience. Team member Jessica Taggert explained that her client, Charles & Casassa Insurance, is interested in breaking into the niche of home and condo owners.

“To help them overcome this challenge, our group recommended creating door hangers to be placed on the front door of homes and condos around the area,” Taggert added. “The door hanger would have basic information about the insurance agency but would also include an incentive for the recipient if they ‘liked’ the Charles & Casassa Insurance Facebook page.”

David Williger, Senior Consultant at AIMS International, said the takeaways from the student presentations are clear and provide his company with some new direction.

“This generation of students is much better connected to technology, the metrics and the potency of the web, and it’s those types of suggestions that we realize we need to take more seriously, and to act on,” Williger said. “And, so we’ve begun to do exactly that.

“We (AIMS International) truly enjoy the academic partnership of a local institution, and take great pride in that,” he added. “We feel we are helping to spread the intellectual capital.”

Published: 

Media Contact

Emily Banas
Office of Marketing & Communications
980-6536
ebanas@iun.edu

Charles Sheid
Office of Marketing & Communications
980-6802
ccsheid@iun.edu

Related Links

School of Business and Economics


Additional Article Photos

Christopher Sheid/IU Northwest Office of Marketing and Communications
Shelomi Tennione-Hoff discusses communication strategies, objectives and fundraising for her client, Recycling & Waste Reduction District of Porter County.