Dordt College News

Marketing class helps local businesses

May 13, 2010

"I can honestly say that this is my favorite class that I’ve taken at Dordt,” notes sophomore Sam Hart.

His reason? “The Marketing Management class gave me real-life experience that you can’t get from just sitting in a classroom.”

Hart and his classmates were given the opportunity to gain marketing experience by partnering with local and international businesses.

“We spent a couple weeks reviewing the principles of marketing,” explains the course’s instructor, Dale Zevenbergen, “and the rest of the class was dedicated to consulting with these businesses.”

Thirty-one marketing students split into eight groups and teamed with eight businesses, helping them with a variety of marketing projects. “There was a little bit of stress when I first explained this project to the students,” says Zevenbergen. “They were thinking, ‘Wow. Can we really do this?’ But once they got started they began to really enjoy it.”

Jessica De Stigter and Lauren Winner were two of a team of four students who worked with a local business' marketing plan as part of a class project.One group of students partnered with Sioux Center’s Vander Berg Furniture. Though Vander Berg Furniture has been in existence since 1968, owner Jeff Vander Berg is always looking for ways to improve the business.

“We were asked to put together the contents of a brochure describing various parts of their company,” explains sophomore business major Jessica De Stigter. “We also created a Facebook fan page for advertising and promotions.”

Though most of the marketing projects focused on local businesses, two groups partnered with international organizations.

Mombachito Coffee is a farmer-to-farmer organization that has worked with Nicaraguan farmers to help them become more productive. A group of Northwestern College students worked with Mombachito last semester, and Dordt students continued their work of developing a marketing plan.

The other international project is based in Mozambique. A group of local poultry farmers is seeking to start a poultry industry in Mozambique to benefit the country’s economy. Because the company is just getting started, the Dordt marketing team helped them create a logo.

“It’s been such a fun variety of projects—cylinders and skid loaders, furniture, a film festival, chickens in Mozambique, and coffee in Nicaragua,” says Zevenbergen.

The response from the businesses to the work of the marketing teams has been positive. “This was a very pleasant experience,” notes Vander Berg. “It is fun to see young people get excited about being involved in the business world. I would love to partner with a marketing team every year.”

Zevenbergen says that other local businesses have shown interest in continuing their work with Dordt’s business students, as well. “My main goal for this project was to give students a great experience, and it seems like they’ve had fun, too” notes Zevenbergen. “This has also been a great way to build a relationship between Dordt and these businesses.”

“This project has shown me that marketing is an area of business I feel very confident in,” explains Hart. “I feel better prepared to enter a marketing internship and to contribute to an organization’s goals.”

Zevenbergen hopes to offer opportunities outside of the classroom for other classes, as well, such as Advertising and Selling or Marketing Research.


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