Students create marketing plans for Cottage Grove businesses

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Students at Monona Grove High School spent months creating marketing plans for area organizations.

Starting this school year, the Marketing 2 class and the Cottage Grove Chamber of Commerce formed a partnership to build community connections between students and business owners.

Sarah Hurley, the Cottage Grove Chamber of Commerce Marketing Chair, remembered a similar project when she was a student at Monona Grove.

“This has been a full circle moment for me,” said Hurley. “I distinctly remember it was the first time I felt attached and excited about a project.”

Hurley brought the idea of using Cottage Grove Chamber of Commerce members to Nicole Sorenson, Monona Grove High School Marketing teacher.

“We talked about how we might be able to bring more real life experiences to our upper level marketing classes,” said Sorenson. “We brainstormed this approach and Sarah was able to line up some companies willing to be guinea pigs for this project.”

Students were divided into groups each assigned to collaborate with either the Cottage Grove Fire Department, the Cottage Grove Chamber of Commerce, or Door Creek Dental.

One group aimed to help recruit more volunteer firefighters through a marketing campaign.

“We needed to think of ways that were cheaper,” said Devin Bilder, a student working on the Cottage Grove Fire Department plan. “We couldn’t just have a TV commercial in the local area because those things cost money.”

Wurie Bah, a student working with the Cottage Grove Chamber of Commerce, helped to create the shop local initiative: Cottage Grove First.

“To educate the public about what the benefits were and to see if they were able to reshift themselves to spend most of their money in the area where they live,” Bah said.

The group collaborating with Door Creek Dental actually presented their plan in front of the chamber of commerce.

“It’s weird working with a real company compared to what we do in class,” said student Carter Kuhl. “It took a lot of time to come up with really legitimate ideas which is why the process took a couple of weeks.”

The business owners say they were impressed with the student’s work and professionalism.

“I think it was really helpful to see a fresh set of marketing ideas through a totally different eye,” said Cassandra Dennis, the Office Manager for Door Creek Dental. “For the time that it was, it was very minimal and the value was definitely worth it.”

Hurley says the partnership helped expose young adults to what it takes to run a business.

“A business is a working, breathing thing and it doesn’t just happen,” said Hurley. “There are people behind it that are making it move forward.”

Sorenson hopes to continue working with the Chamber of Commerce and connect more businesses with the marketing plans students create next school year.