Marketing students promote buckling up, turning phone off

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 3, 2011

By Sarah Campbell
CHINA GROVE — Students at South Rowan High School spent several weeks telling their peers about the importance of buckling up and tucking their cell phone away while driving as part of a marketing project.
They made posters to hang up around the school, conducted daily announcements, painted the spirit rock out front and set up a table during lunch, where they asked their classmates to sign the No Phone Zone Pledge.
“In marketing, the object is to spread the word to your target market, so that’s what these students did,” marketing teacher Tammy Tutterow said. “They learned how various methods serve to reach larger and smaller audiences.”
But the greatest marketing tool students utilized was word of mouth.
“We spent a lot of time talking to people,” junior Ashley Deal said. “That’s one way you can advertise without spending a dime.”
The students managed to get 250 of their peers to sign the No Phone Zone Pledge.
When Tutterow found out about State Farm’s “Strapped for Cash” initiative during Teen Driver Safety Week she jumped at the opportunity to get her students involved.
“First, it gave my marketing students the opportunity to ‘advertise’ putting some of the concepts we’ve learned into practice,” Tutterow said. “And second, the overall message for the project was so relevant for high school students.
“Getting the message out and reminding students about driver safety is always a good thing.”
South Rowan students’ marketing efforts topped Northwest Cabarrus and A.L. Brown high schools in the annual competition, winning $100 to put toward a field trip to Time Warner Arena, where students will take a tour and meet with a marketing representative.
Deal, who hopes to open her own business one day, said the project taught her that marketing can be effective no matter how small the budget.
“I never realized how many different options there are,” she said.
Sophomore Dakota Sechler said the skills he’s learned in marketing have opened his eyes to how the industry works.
“There are so many different ways to get your name out there,” he said. “We learned the four Ps of marketing: product, place, price and promotion.”
Sechler said the project also pushed him to step outside his comfort zone.
“You have to be more social and just tell yourself you have to do this,” he said.
After students completed their marketing campaign they stood outside with State Farm agents to see just how effective their efforts were by stopping cars on their way out of the school parking lot to see if the driver and passengers were buckled up with their cell phones stashed away.
Those caught practicing safe driving were given a treat bag filled with $1, coupons and a variety of other items.
Tutterow said the students took ownership of the project, which she says was a good real-life application of what they’re learning in the classroom.
“I’m proud of my students,” she said. “They worked so hard and really enjoyed the project.”
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.