By Evan Fleming ’14
There are only so many times in business school when you get the chance to step into the shoes of an industry professional at the post-MBA level and receive an insider’s perspective on what the dynamics of that career really entail. The Annual Kellogg Marketing Competition (AKMC) is exactly that type of opportunity – one of Kellogg’s marquee experiential learning options for first year, full-time students.
To participate, students are required to form brand teams and apply for the chance to implement a marketing strategy for some of the newest and most innovative consumer products on the market (ranging anywhere from laundry detergent to Ziploc bags).
The competition is divided into three phases: (1) a segmentation, targeting and positioning analysis, which is presented to and evaluated by actual brand managers; (2) an advertising and promotional campaign in which teams bring their product and marketing message to life at Kellogg; and (3) the selling of the product to actual consumers (Kellogg students and faculty) during one of Kellogg’s TG happy hours – an event known as TG Mega Mart. It is a 6-week competition and is definitely a marathon, not a sprint.
A total of 44 teams applied to get into this year’s AKMC, but only 14 were selected. My team, En Fuego Marketing, was fortunate enough to get into the main draw. Our product, Fiber One 90 Calorie Chocolate Chip Brownies, was one of the newest additions to the General Mills Fiber One brand. It’s a product that offers a unique blend of rich brownie taste with low calories and natural ingredients.
My team (none of us with any previous marketing experience) spent hours brainstorming how to best position this product to the Kellogg consumer. After generating some insights through the use of surveys and small focus groups, we ultimately came to the conclusion that life as a business school student is hectic, busy and stressful. Most students who believe themselves to be health conscious don’t have the time or the energy to engage in activities that may support a healthier lifestyle (i.e. working out, eating nutritious foods, etc.). The Fiber One brownie offers value in the sense that it supports this notion of healthy living, while also allowing the consumer to indulge in a light snack.
The core messaging of the campaign, entitled “Treat Yourself,” empowers the Kellogg student to gain some control back in their life with the Fiber One brownie and avoid compromising for an unhealthy alternative. Thanks to some extremely talented individuals on my team, we put together a series of advertising spots that communicated our messaging. The videos turned out to be a huge hit within the Kellogg community, as we received over 592 YouTube views and 1,018 unique Facebook page visits. It was awesome to see the positive consumer response, as it helped confirm the effectiveness of our product advertising.
After gaining some nice momentum during the promotional phase, our team felt pretty good going into what was the culmination of our efforts and hard work: the TG Mega Mart. All 14 teams came out with some pretty creative selling strategies. The Fiber One team fared pretty well, selling about 90% of our 500 units of product. We finished the competition earning 2nd place overall! It was a long process from start to finish, but the hard work paid off.
Want more on the Annual Kellogg Marketing Competition? Check out the event recap here.