July 25, 2014  

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Southern Miss Gulf Coast Class Brings Creative Marketing Ideas to Businesses

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Students in the creative marketing course at The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast took their creative freedom and ran with it for a project partnership involving Gulfport BoardSports, a locally owned water sport company.

Lead by assistant professor of marketing, Dr. Marco Wolf, the four groups of students were tasked with developing ideas to increase awareness of the company. Student James Miller of Moss Point, a junior working on his marketing degree, said that “coming up with new and somewhat effective ideas was a bit intense, but having awesome teammates made the project more fun than difficult.”

This project served as a first for both Wolf and Scott May, Gulfport BoardSports owner and the students’ “client.” The project also served as a learning tool, not only for the students, but also for May.

“I felt that I learned to think outside of the standard advertising mold presented through magazines and Web sites throughout the industry,” said May. “Each one of the four projects presented took a completely different angle of marketing and each had elements that we will try to incorporate into our business plan. This includes new creative business logos, honest website critique, and YouTube product advertising.”

With this being Wolf’s first semester to involve his creative marketing class with a local business, he said he was impressed with how each group met the outlined objectives and presented their results with confidence. Wolf explained that one important aspect of the project was to not inhibit the students’ creativity.

“This is where creative marketing has its strength – if I was to offer input, the students’ creative mind would be biased toward what I would like to see and not what they think is creative.”

As for the future, Wolf said students should be able to trust their creative judgment to solve problems and think outside the box. May said he hopesthe project will help students see that each business is different in its own way, and will have to be handled as such.

Theresa Bell of Gulfport, a senior majoring in both marketing and nursing, explained that the project creatively challenged and empowered her to incorporate classroom marketing concepts into real life business application. Additionally, she learned to collaborate creatively, plan strategically, and become more resourceful.

“Collectively, I hope the innovative ideas that our class presented will help build brand awareness for this local niche business and remind other small businesses that operating on a lean budget doesn't mean you have to comprise creativeness or innovation in your marketing strategy.”

For more information about Southern Miss Gulf Coast, visit www.usm.edu/gulfcoast.