Taught by Kara Udziela, Marketing through a Communicator’s Lens (SCC 329) exposes students to the reality of real-world industries, and arms students with firsthand experience in conducting market research and developing thorough marketing plans – valuable additions to any future marketer’s portfolio. In addition to the comprehensive projects, Kara invites several guest speakers, including more recently the VP of Marketing at The Grove shopping center, Jackie Plaza.

Plaza spoke to the current semester’s students about her position at The Grove, providing them with an inside look into the marketing industry. Jackie says that the longevity of a brand within a shopping center often starts on the success of the launch, and it is her job to help them succeed.

“LOS ANGELES, CA – APRIL 22: Senior Marketing Director at The Grove Jackie Plaza (R) presents a gift to Forestry Projects Senior Manager Danny Carmichael (L) at The Grove And TreePeople Earth Day Celebration on April 22, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Caruso Affiliated)”

In response to Jackie’s visit, the students conduct research of their own, comparing two retail stores, such as Nike and Adidas, or Yves St. Laurent and Gucci, and compare the products, prices, and visual displays within them. They also have to compare online marketing, email marketing and social media presence of each brand. This assignment introduces students to retail competition. They are encouraged to physically go to the stores they are researching, and to take pictures and interview the store managers on video, with permission. Their research is then compiled into the form of a research paper, including 10 additional sources other than the in-store interviews.

The final project in this class is a group project of creating entire marketing plans for a company of their choosing. The plan must include a brand new product, product plans, pricing, distribution, graphics, the 4 P’s of marketing. Students develop news releases, launch plans, and revenue goals, and all, of course, must all be backed up by real data.

In a past semester, one group chose to create a plan for Nespresso by entering them into the world of biodegradable K-cups. In alignment with the goal of the course, the purpose of this project is to expose students to what is happening in the marketing industry and to give them a full example of a marketing plan to put in their portfolios.

Kara says that the type of student who typically takes this course already has an interest in marketing and wants to know more, wants to become a stronger messenger, and is starting to think about what their individual skills are, and how they can use them.