Lecturer Ariel Goldfarb connects graduate Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) students in his class with live clients to teach them how to apply strategic IMC principles to marketing solutions. This year, students worked with Lavazza: Italian Espresso Coffee to create a strategic plan for the company’s domestic marketing efforts. Starting with assessments, students then identified the brand’s frame of reference, developed segmentation and target audiences for the client, recommended potential positioning strategies and presented the brand strategy to the client in a final project presentation. Goldfarb says the live client projects are one way Medill differs from other graduate programs, in that it brings together theoretical and practical learning modes concurrently.
“From a student perspective, working with a real client and a real brand increases your engagement,” Goldfarb said. “Lavazza was a great company for us because they have been tasked with enhancing marketing in the U.S. and elevating the Lavazza brand considerably, but they had little in the way of consumer insights into the minds of Millennials to inform their marketing strategy. The students could provide crucial recommendations that would help the company grow.”
Goldfarb also believes the purpose of his class is to help students gain a greater understanding of how marketing and communications play a crucial role in a business’s success or failure.
At the start of the class, I have students give me their definitions OF brand and brand communication,” Goldfarb said. “At the end of the course they submit it again. We can then compare the definitions to see if their perspectives changed. If the students take away the fundamental understanding of IMC principles and learn how to apply them to any marketing situation, they will be well-positioned to enter the competitive job market. That’s the goal of any teacher – to help students succeed.”