Seton Hall's focus on marketing helps local businesses
By Eliot Caroom/The Star-Ledger
April 25, 2011
Patti Sapone/The Star Ledger
Seton Hall's Media Research lab is another hands learning lab at the university. Adam Warner, stands in the observation room as he points to the interview/conference room in the new lab
“Stony Johnson has made big changes to his South Orange restaurant in the last few months: curbside pickup, flatscreen TVs and a weekly deal for nearby Seton Hall students, to name a few.
All three are popular with customers; all three came after pro bono work by Seton Hall business students at the school’s brand new Market Research Center, which officially opens its doors tomorrow.
The center includes a room with one-way mirrors, so marketing students can watch test subjects taste food and talk about businesses with the same secrecy of a witness identifying a criminal in a police lineup.
"I got a lot of good ideas out of that," Johnson said. "It had a one-way mirror so I could watch (the focus group) talking and interacting with each other."
Stillman School of Business officials say that by helping local businesses like Stony’s understand their clientele, the students are themselves gaining invaluable knowledge.
"Employers don’t want to know what class you took, they want to know what experience you had," said marketing professor Adam Warner in the school’s new lab. "For students to say they led a focus group and made a marketing plan, that’s a valuable real-world career skill."
Almost 200 students study marketing at the school, both undergraduate marketing majors and MBA students concentrating on the subject. Warner said the center’s facilities offer them a research setting that would otherwise rent for more than $2,000 a day.
"It’s more hands-on," said Seton Hall junior George Fernandez. "That focus group is exactly what someone would be doing in the marketing field or a marketing job."
In the last few months, Fernandez and other students consulted with several local businesses, including Stony’s, Town Hall Deli, a UPS store and The Beaded Path, a South Orange jewelry store. In addition to focus groups, the students offer marketing plans to the businesses that cover traditional territory like signage and digital vistas including Facebook.
With the center complete, the school plans to start charging for its services in the future, Warner said, but at a rate far below the normal price.
Seton Hall already has a mini-trading floor with Bloomberg terminals and a sports telephone polling operation that does work for ESPN.
This afternoon, the day after Easter, Dean Joyce Strawser pointed to a huddle of students on the trading floor as a sign of the value of hands-on learning.
"Today, we don’t have classes, but you can see students are in the trading room because they want to use it," Strawser said.
A public ribbon-cutting with Kraft Foods president Jim Chambers will take place tomorrow at 6 p.m. at the center, which is in Jubilee Hall on the Seton Hall campus.”
Eliot Caroom: (973) 392-7919 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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