Even though marketing lessons prepare students to succeed in the business world, they also teach life skills, such as how to deliver a strategic message, generate a positive buzz, create a network, forge partnerships and evaluate situations. Lessons can vary from lecture to direct implementation; however, the more vested students become, the more they will gain from the lessons.
Start a Business
Teach students hands-on marketing skills through a self-sustaining store. Lessons can include selecting items, setting hours and designing advertising, along with creating and implementing the marketing plan. This activity will typically span the school year, and students can carry it through subsequent academic years. According to Lisa Cornwell with the Associated Press, money the students generate from the store can fund its continuation, student activities or scholarships. Although students intend their businesses to become self-sustaining, the point of the activity is not to produce profit for the school, but to teach students how to operate a business. For training materials and support, join the high school division of DECA, formerly known as Distributive Education Clubs of America, or begin a chapter at the school. According to its site, DECA is an “international association of high school and college students studying marketing, management and entrepreneurship in business, finance, hospitality and marketing sales and service.”
Market the Yearbook
Teach students key business skills by marketing the school yearbook. Since yearbook sales have experienced a downward trend over the last several years, according to an article on the All Business website, this will be a challenge that encourages creative thought. After studying sales numbers from the previous five years, analyzing books and seeking trends, ask the students to set the year's sales goal. The yearbook business easily lends itself to charting numbers in sales by month and profitability margins, which will keep students on track. Beyond teaching slogans and poster board color choices, instruct marketing students to conduct their own on-line marketing research, incorporating their ideas. Planning and marketing innovation will be key in sparking interest in the seemingly dead medium of bound books.
To introduce students to business marketing ideas and terms, teach a basic lesson from the Money Instructor website. The unit may span up to two weeks with a combination of direct instruction and class implementation. The lesson focuses on traditional principles of business such as the four "P's": product, price, place/distribution and promotion. After you introduce these principles, coordinate students into groups of two to four. Ask them to create their own business ideas, complete with slogans, logos, radio and television advertisements and fliers all geared toward their target demographic. Consider using a product base the majority are unfamiliar with to encourage creative thinking and discourage stealing actual marketing campaign ideas. Ask students, for example, to design a product around an excess of chicken feet from an imaginary company.
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