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Making Connections in Marketing

April 20, 2009

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UAlbany students look under the hood of a Nissan cube car.

From left, students Carly Israel, Elena M. Hooblal, and Jill Simson look under the hood of the car they are promoting. (Photo Mark Schmidt) 

Some lessons can't be learned from a book.

UAlbany seniors Carly Israel and Jill Simson know that from Don Purdy's Integrated Marketing Communications class, where the assignment is to draw up a marketing plan for a major company.

Israel, Simson, and 29 classmates formed their own agency, the Millennial Group. Their agency came up with a strategy for promoting the Nissan cube® – a soon-to-be-released car – to buyers ages 18-25.

Israel, a marketing major from Dix Hills, N.Y., was in charge of public relations. "I've always had a passion for being in the marketing world," said Israel, whose plans include graduate school. Through pitching the cube®, she has learned that public relations is "about making real connections with people who are professionals and putting myself out there. You just have to do it and not be afraid to be told 'no' and keep on trying to get as much publicity as you can."

Her group created a press kit and persuaded the local newspaper the Times Union to write a story.

The School of Business students promoted the car on campus April 15-17 through events that include Spot the cube®, Touch the cube®, and Bar-b-cube.

Simson, a marketing major from Westhampton Beach, N.Y., said Purdy's class "really parallels actual business experience. Marketing, like so many other things, is not something you can learn through a textbook."

One of two agency coordinators for the semester-long project, Simson said, "I believe this challenge will allow me to show prospective employers hard proof that I have had first-hand experience." As a result, she understands how much work goes into a marketing plan.

“That’s absolutely correct," said Purdy. "This project will enable my student agency members to differentiate themselves from the dozens or hundreds of other college graduates who will be competing for the same jobs.”

Israel and Simson said the cube's® main appeal to the targeted age group is that it can be customized to reflect unique personal preferences. "In our age bracket, there is a real emphasis on standing out and self-expression," Simson said.

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