CUYAHOGA FALLS: In-school marketing classes are wonderful laboratories for learning business strategies and how companies can get more bang for their advertising dollars.
Emily Knight, however, encouraged her Cuyahoga Falls High School junior marketing class to take their message to Front Street or in this case Fourth Street to the city’s Natatorium where on Sunday they presented the “One Stop Prom Shop.”
Their aggressive campaign — judging the crowds, estimated to be well over 2,000 over the four hours, mobbing the event — seemed to pay off big time for the messengers as well as those on the receiving end.
The marketing students learned organization, confidence, how to formulate business plans and approach adult clients while at the same time utilizing something they’re familiar with and excited about: the prom.
Who better to market to than their own peers and what better clients to entice under the same umbrella than those with eyes in some form or fashion on the big dance and the same dollars?
That’s what the “One Stop Prom Shop” extravaganza was all about.
“In an effort to help their peers find the best prom trends for 2013 at the best costs, the Falls marketing students have spent the entire school year creating partnerships with 60 plus retailers throughout Northeast Ohio,” Knight said.
The retailers ran the gamut from dresses and tuxedoes to flowers, limos and restaurants to hair and tanning salons, photographers and more.
One Stop Prom Shop included a high-energy, dance style show, wall-to-wall vendors, free giveaways and demonstrations like eye-brow waxing and hairstyling, raffle prizes and a chance to pre-shop for everything one might wish for a prom to remember. That’s what drew Stow-Munroe Falls High School junior Jenni Heid there: “This was a chance to see all these different businesses in one place.”
Bryan Wilson, the marketing class president, said the idea was to build on last year’s inaugural event by capitalizing on multimedia platforms — everything from billboards, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and the like — and creating a website to spread the news to as many students and parents as possible in Northeast Ohio.
“This project has shown us how to build and sustain a small business,” Bryan said. “We’ve had to think and act as business professionals, work with business professionals, problem solve real business problems, balance our budget, sell our product to our peers, and figure out creative ways to market our event ... It’s been a real-life learning experience for our class.”
Students had to raise $10,000 to fund the event.
The result? More students and parents attending and selling and more vendor booth space than last year. American Commodore Tuxedo — the title sponsor — was so invested in the students’ project it contributed $3,000.
Josh Ricker, a Falls marketing student who helped organize the event, said about 60 students came together to produce the event, with active student participation from Hudson, Stow-Munroe Falls, Twinsburg and other schools, including some serving as models.
Fellow marketing student Simon Moskowitz said the free prom giveaway — a package worth about $1,000, including a dress, tuxedo rental, limo, dinner, prom tickets, hair, nails and tanning — was a special draw.
Danielle Johnson said the free $500 Visa card drawing added enticement, too.
According to marketing teacher Emily Knight, the estimated average cost for a couple to attend their high school prom is more than $1,000.
Seventeen-year-oldCuyahoga Falls High School senior Andrew Waggoner was one of several students who availed themselves of opportunities to try on a bevy of different looks and styles for their upcoming proms.
In Waggoner’s case, this involved a seat in Amie Young’s chair at Daniel’s Salon & Spa booth. With her curling iron, she hooked him up with a whole new look. “I wanted curly hair,” Andrew reasoned.
Senior marketing student Jacquelyn Kerby said prom is “our equivalent to the Golden Globes or Academy Awards. It’s the one time we’ll get to dress up and feel like we are on the red carpet ... Prom is a big deal and we want it to be a really special event in our lives, despite the costs to us or our parents.”
A spokeswoman from Encore Resale Fashions in Canton had high praise for the event.
“These young people are very professional,” Encore owner Paula Bennett noted. “And they go the extra step of helping us bring the merchandise in and pack up when we leave.”
Book knowledge is one thing, Young said.
“But this project has taught them so much more than marketing, like being confident to talk with adults and how to work well with others,” she said.
Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or firstname.lastname@example.org.