UNIVERSITY OF SAN DIEGO / Spring 2008
[syllabus]
Course: Services Marketing

Instructor: Tim A. Becker

Description: Students “learn and apply the skills and techniques of personal selling.” Also from the syllabus: “Please note, this is a fun class. You will be glad you took it, you will learn and do a lot!” Whew.

The Scene: A final exam of sorts. Students participate in a mock trade show on a small scale, complete with clamorous ambience, pitchmen and -women wielding props and visuals, along with judging by local businesspeople standing in as potential investors.

Looking the Part: Attire for the ladies: black pumps and skirts or dresses. This being a presentation, note-cards were the perfect accessory. The chief financial officer for one company was appropriately clad in a blue shirt, suspenders and cuff links.

Do we get extra credit for this? One booth handed out T-shirts and water bottles customized with their logo. A venture aiming to clean up the diamond industry gave out free bling. CZs are blood-free, right?

Who would want to invest in this plan? “I think everybody who is smart.”

This wasn’t how we planned it: One group’s display sign fell, revealing their makeshift easel: a full trash can. Another team offered mouse pads they’d made themselves. Only problem? One leaked green ink on a potential investor’s hand.

And the winner is: Three women who pitched BeneFIT, a company that would provide personal training and nutrition services. They handed out the above-mentioned T-shirts and water bottles, offered a fruit bowl and raffled off a fitness-themed prize package. Yep, when it comes to marketing, giving away free stuff is always a good idea.