KOSCIUSKO COUNTY — Mindy Wise, Kosciusko County 4-H youth development educator, is working with the Tobacco Free Coalition to teach students techniques used in point of sale marketing campaigns and how to use these techniques to create a positive campaign message.
Students in grades seven to 12 will be taught marketing is a necessary portion of nearly every business model and the techniques and strategies businesses use in marketing. Wise wants “to get them involved and learn how they are consumers.”
Participation in this class also makes the student a 4-H member. “In the 4-H world, it’s our goal of citizenship,” Wise explained. This class will have four sessions ultimately leading up to a presentation of the students’ own positive campaign to local leaders.
In the first session students will be introduced to various point of sale strategies, learn Kosciusko County’s demographics and perform a needs assessment to identify campaigns that could benefit from a positive marketing message. The second meeting will include meeting with a marketing professional, receiving tips on professional public speaking and working on finding their own campaign. The third phase will consist of students narrowing down the marketing message they wish to present, learning ways to spread the message such as mass media and social media, and beginning to build their campaign based on the marketing techniques they have learned. The final portion of the project will involve practice with public speaking, presenting the positive marketing campaign to a group of local decision makers and receiving critique on their presentation.
The goal of this opportunity is to provide hands on learning along with practical career development. Gathering students together who share a common interest in marketing and showing them not only the Tobacco Free Coalition’s message but also a variety of valuable marketing skills from different areas is how both groups will come together to help these participants.
“We really want the students to identify a need in the community and find ways to make it known,” Wise stated. They are able to choose an organization they feel strongly about that could benefit from positive marketing strategies or something the students are against. Whatever topic they choose, they will then be responsible for discovering the proper techniques to use they have learned in order to get the message out to the public in a positive manner.
Teaching professionalism, public speaking, how to become informed on a topic, how to take criticism and how to discuss a topic with someone who disagrees with them are all important lessons this marketing project will help to teach students.
In her own position, Wise described how she is in charge of the planning, education and marketing for all of her programs. “It’s hard to know who to send what message to when,” she emphasized.
This program will begin in November.
Another financial program helping students prepare themselves for the real world through practical career development and hands on learning is at a local middle school. At Milford Middle School, eighth-grade students are learning the art of personal finance. Before graduating, each eighth-grader must take the Finance Park class which teaches following a career path, saving, investing, risk management, debit cards, credit cards and budgeting for real life scenarios.
At the end of the trimester, students break up into small groups and are given a real life scenario to figure out. This scenario includes a career and family while working on budgeting ways to buy a house, buy a car and purchase groceries. Toward the end of the year, all of the students take a trip to Finance Park where they are given another life scenario and must act out paying each of the necessary bills.
When asked on the importance of learning finances in the real world, Cameron Troyer, Finance Park teacher, commented, “Because everybody uses finances. So teaching kids how to budget and how to stick to that budget will make them financially successful in the future.”