Mostly Marketing by Theresa B. Clarke

Sharing my love of marketing. Helping marketing students, marketing practitioners, & marketing professors connect with one another. Passionate about nurturing new marketing talent. Enjoys sharing novel ideas about a wide variety of topics…but mostly marketing.

Lauren Crain, Dan Frohelich, and Patrick Shamburger Win Gold in the Fall 2014 DMAW EF Collegiate Maxi

Congratulations to my former MKTG 384 students for recently winning the Fall 2014 Direct Marketing Association of Washington Educational Foundation’s Collegiate Maxi Competition.

The team of Lauren Crain, Dan Frohelich, and Patrick Shamburger developed and presented an integrated marketing communications plan for the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) Earth Hour, an annual event where people are encouraged to turn off all lights for one hour in March.

Lauren Crain, Dan Frohelich, and Patrick Shamburger presenting their "Earth Hour" Campaign at the World Wildlife Fund Headquarters.

Lauren Crain, Dan Frohelich, and Patrick Shamburger presenting their “Earth Hour” Campaign at the World Wildlife Fund Headquarters.

While I am extremely proud of this group for winning the top award, I’m even more happy that they did the work for no course credit.  It is always a pleasure to work with students who invest their extra time into projects because they genuinely want to learn more about marketing.

Thank you to Lauren, Dan, and Patrick for giving me an opportunity to be your coach.

To learn more about this amazing team, please visit this JMU story about Marketing Students Taking First.

How to Excel in the 2014 Collegiate ECHO Marketing Challenge: Advice from JMU Winners


My spring 2014 students at James Madison University participated in the *Collegiate ECHO Marketing Challenge as part of the Integrated Marketing Communications (MKTG 384) course.  Each team developed marketing plans, using direct and interactive channels, with a goal of increasing the number of orders driven through a Domino’s Mobile App.  They also created a visual summary presentation and an online video ad.  In the end, five JMU teams made it to the semi-finals and one of those teams emerged as the winner of the 3rd Place Bronze Award.

I asked our winning team to share their thoughts about the experience and provide tips to help future competitors.  Here’s what they had to say…

Haley SvadebaHaley Svadeba – I learned to not be afraid to go with an idea that seems to be random or completely unrelated to the task at hand.  These are the very kinds of ideas that end up being creative breakthroughs.  It is very important in the beginning stages of the creative process to not discourage any idea that your team has because you never know what could catch the target audience’s attention.  Once your team has decided on the “big idea” for the plan, I would recommend sticking with that one idea and building off of it.  Be consistent with your overall theme.  Even after deciding your main idea, your minds will continue to come up with additional ideas as you go through the semester but don’t try to make it more complicated by coming up with too many.  Keep it simple and make sure to use the one big idea very well by expanding upon it and integrating it into the plan.

Shawn MisarShawn Misar Consistency is king!  Also, taking a few minutes of time out of each day, dedicated solely to thinking creatively is well worth it.  I would highly, highly recommend talking about your ideas with your friends, family members, or anyone else who can give you some feedback.  Go to your professor’s office hours. It’s great to be able to bounce ideas off someone who has had a vast amount of experience and who is so committed to helping you do well! Meet regularly with your team, set a schedule, and stick to that schedule.  If all the team members meet every few days with real progress, you will have a lot of extra time near the end of the semester to “polish” the plan and give you the best chance of success.

Lauren CrainLauren Crain – I learned is it is very important to know and understand your target market and your client. Being very familiar with your target market will help in every aspect of the plan. You need to think like your target market, envision how they would interact with the client’s brand, and figure out what is the best way to effectively engage them. It is important to immerse yourself in the brand, know what they stand for, how they currently communicate with their audience, and understand how they interact with their customer. Some advice I can offer to other students is to get started on the project as early as you can because it contains many intricate components.  The Challenge is a large undertaking as you have to learn about an industry, a client, the marketing environment, and the competitive landscape.  With that information, you will be challenged to make recommendations, come up with a very creative big idea, a media plan, a budget, ROI projections, a video, a presentation, etc.  Teams with the highest quality plans were started at the beginning of the semester.  You want to put time and thought put into the process throughout the entire semester…not just pulled together quickly at the end.  You really do get out as much as you put into the project and will learn so many skills that will be applicable in the future.  Don’t waste this opportunity.

Haley Svadeba

Dan FroehlichThrough the Collegiate ECHO Marketing Challenge, I understood more deeply how motivation directly correlates with success. The first day we were assigned this project, our group had our minds set on winning the competition. We spent more time than we needed to just get a good grade.  We were dedicated to our client’s success and we truly wanted our ideas to make a real difference for the clients.  The extra effort and time we spent on the plan paid off as it positioned us to place #3 overall in the competition out of nearly 200 competitors.   One of the things we did that made the project so successful was our constant effort to improve our plan. We actively sought out our plan’s weaknesses, and built them into strengths. Your plan is only as strong as your weakest link, and this process helped us create a balanced and strong plan.

Thank you to Haley, Lauren, Shawn, and Dan for sharing their insights.  I concur with the advice and will summarize their key points:

  • Be open to all ideas during the creative process.
  • Once you decide on the main creative theme, stay focused on that idea and integrate it consistently into the plan.
  • Obtain feedback from other people outside of your team.
  • Plan a schedule of regular meetings and strictly adhere to it.
  • Learn everything you can about the market and your client.
  • Don’t procrastinate.
  • Set high goals and work hard for your client.


*The Collegiate ECHO Marketing Challenge is sponsored by Marketing EDGE, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to Educate, Develop, Grow, and Employ college students in the field of marketing.

Five JMU Teams Excel in Marketing EDGE Collegiate ECHO Competition Sponsored by Domino’s

In the MKTG 384 (Integrated Marketing Communications ~ a.k.a. IMC) course at James Madison University, one of the requirements is that students must develop an Integrated Marketing Communications Plan.  An IMC Plan is designed to help an organization plan, integrate, execute, evaluate, and control the use of various promotion-mix elements, such as advertising, sales promotion, direct marketing, internet marketing, etc., to effectively communicate with target audiences and meet organizational goals.  During the spring 2014 semester, this was the first time JMU students created their IMC Plans within the context of a global marketing competition ~the Collegiate ECHO Marketing Challenge.  

Why ECHO?  ECHO isn’t an acronym, but represents what takes place when a marketer sends out a call to action and receives a response…an ECHO.  It is a sign that your marketing communication efforts were effective.

The Collegiate ECHO Marketing Challenge is sponsored by an amazing nonprofit organization called Marketing EDGE (EDGE stands for Educate – Develop – Grow – Employ).  Marketing EDGE, formerly Direct Marketing Educational Foundation – DMEF,  is the only national nonprofit of its kind solely committed to acquaint professors and college students with – and to engage and involve them in – the thriving business of marketing. Marketing EDGE is supported solely by corporations and individuals who want to give back to the community. Marketing EDGE offers many exciting services for students such as a job board, career resources, events, scholarships, and more.

The Collegiate ECHO Marketing Challenge is an opportunity for college students studying marketing to compete and work on a multifaceted marketing assignment for a major corporation.  This year, the client was Domino’s!

As dominos-mobile-appa part of the competition, student teams of 3-4 students submitted plans which include qualitative and quantitative research summaries, strategy outlines, media plans, budget and profit projections, and detailed analytics based on real-world metrics.  Students created plans that integrated direct and interactive channels including Domino’s owned and earned media channels (e.g., social media, e-mail, website, and print) with a goal of increasing the number of orders driven through a Domino’s Mobile App.  Students also created a video advertisement as part of their campaign.  Campaigns were designed to  focus on store retail space in 4,900 stores to drive consumers online for their next purchase.

Dan Froehlich, Haley Svadeba, Lauren Crain (Team Leader), and Shawn Misar

A team from James Madison University was named 3rd Place Bronze Winner in the 2013-14 Collegiate ECHO Competition Sponsored by Marketing EDGE and Domino’s. From left to right: Dan Froehlich, Haley Svadeba, Lauren Crain (Team Leader), and Shawn Misar

According to Jeff Nessler, Senior Program & Web Manager for Marketing EDGE, “there were approximately 200 entries in this year’s worldwide competition.  To review them, our judges, who are experienced marketing professionals, evaluated the campaigns, and from among approximately 30 semifinalists, Domino’s judges made the final rankings. I’m pleased to inform you that five of your teams were among the semifinalists.

We are so proud that five JMU teams were among the semifinalists and one of those semi-finalist teams won 3rd Place Bronze.  Pictured to the left is our JMU winning team:  Lauren Crain (Team Leader), Dan FroehlichShawn Misar, and Haley Svadeba.

The team’s campaign had a family focus that involved the target market in the Domino’s mobile app.  With a proposed slogan of “TAPP the App!  Family time is just a tAPP away” their creative strategy involved showing busy moms how the Domino’s mobile app can create more family time.

Because of their third place win, the team will split a cash prize of $500 and receive certificates of accomplishment.  Additionally, the JMU Department of Marketing will receive a trophy denoting the team’s accomplishment and a $1,000 scholarship grant from Marketing EDGE to award to deserving students interested in marketing.

Congratulations is extended to four other JMU Marketing teams that were named Semi-Finalists!  To make it into the semi-finalist category, teams needed to rank within the top 15% of all 200 entering teams.  I wish to recognize Patrick Cusamano, Jack Crowder, Marissa DeMilio, Lucas Falzetti, Nicole Gombos, Lindsay Jacobs, Oeuyowan Kim, Louise Lehmuller, Chase Murray, Ashley Musumeci, Mike Pazirandeh, Eric Pritchett, Patrick Shamburger, Austin Shifflett, and Jenna Ward.  Each of these students is featured with their respective teammates. For a list of all 2013-14 winners, please visit the Marketing EDGE Winners and Honorable Mentions page.

Louise Lehmuller, Austin Shifflett (Team Leader), and Marissa DeMilio

Louise Lehmuller, Austin Shifflett (Team Leader), and Marissa DeMilio


Patrick Shamburger, Chase Murray, Lucas Falzetti (Team Leader), and Nicole Gombos

Patrick Shamburger, Chase Murray, Lucas Falzetti (Team Leader), and Nicole Gombos


Ashley Musumeci (Team Leader), Eric Pritchett, Mike Pazirandeh, and Jack Crowder

Ashley Musumeci (Team Leader), Eric Pritchett, Mike Pazirandeh, and Jack Crowder

Patrick Cusumano, Jenna Ward, Oeuyown Kim, and Lindsay Jacobs (Team Leader)

Patrick Cusumano, Jenna Ward, Oeuyown Kim, and Lindsay Jacobs (Team Leader)

On behalf of all of my participating students, I owe special thanks to several people and organizations at JMU.  The Center for Instructional Technology at JMU has always come through whenever technological assistance was needed in my teaching.  For this project, E. David Stoops, Educational Technology Consultant and D. Lee Beard, Director of Media Production Services developed a presentation to help my students understand how to prepare the required video ad component of the project.  From JMU Libraries, Desirae Zingarelli-Sweet, JMU Business Librarian, delivered an informative presentation to my students about library resources that can be used in crafting the plan.  My JMU marketing colleague, Steve Hertzenberg, was instrumental in answering questions, sharing ideas about integrated marketing communications, and discussing teaching strategies.

Most importantly, THANK YOU to Marketing EDGE and Domino’s for offering such a rewarding educational experience.  I am confident that my students benefited in so many ways by creating an integrated marketing communications plan for a real client.  JMU looks forward to participating in future Collegiate ECHO Challenges.

Sales and Networking Through LinkedIn: Perspectives from a JMU Marketing Alum

Matthew Dixon, a former JMU marketing student of mine and currently a Sales Associate for the  New York Yankees, reached out to me to share some outcomes associated with being a JMU marketing major.  With his permission, I am sharing his e-mail message below in order to reach some of our current marketing students.

Dr. Clarke,

I’m not sure if you remember me, but my name is Matt Dixon and I was in several of your marketing classes in 2010-2011. I wanted to reach out to you because you told us how important it was to utilize LinkedIn in one of your classes and made us add groups and add connections. Well I want you to know everything you taught us really paid off! I currently work as a sales executive with the New York Yankees and have over 500 connections on LinkedIn. A majority of my sales have come through using LinkedIn and networking and through referrals on LinkedIn. I wanted to share this with you so you could use this as a testimonial with your students. Not only this, but my boss the Director of Ticket Operations with the Yankees said first thing he does when he is interviewing is look at a candidate’s LinkedIn profile. If they don’t have one or it is not active he doesn’t even consider them. I thought this would be very beneficial and I wanted to share this because I appreciate you being one of the very few teachers that uses real life examples that you will see throughout your career!

Hope all is well,

Matt Dixon

Matthew Dixon can be reached for comment at

Need a picture for your social networks?

Recently, my MKTG 470 students completed an assignment on social networking.  As part of their assignment, students were required to upload a professional-looking photo into LinkedIn and Twitter.  While most students did a terrific job, a few had some problems with their photo.  As such, I wanted to share a free online tool that helps convert pictures for use in social media.  No special software or plug-ins are required.  Simply upload your picture, resize it online, and then download it for your personal use.    Check out this great resource at

The January 2011 Martin Agency Student Workshop

The Martin Agency graciously hosts a Student Workshop twice per year in order to give college students a taste of the advertising industry.  Students can apply for the upcoming  January 2011 workshop by submitting the Workshop Application no later than October 29, 2011.  Learn more by visiting and the Martin Agency Student Workshop on Facebook.  For questions about the workshop, please contact Allison Mays at

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