Media writer: Olivia Harris
Illinois student NAMA chapter is all smiles after placing in the top 6 of the country. Agricultural Communications students Ben Rakes, sophomore, is pictured back row third from right, and Mitch Hiett, senior, is pictured back row on the right.
Students from the University of Illinois finished in the top 6 teams at the 2012 National Agri-Marketing Association’s (NAMA) Chapter Marketing Competition, held April 18 – 20 in Kansas City, Missouri. The University of Illinois competed against 29 other chapters from across the United States and Canada to bring home the title.
For competition, university NAMA chapters invent a fictional agricultural product and then develop a comprehensive marketing strategy to promote the sale or adoption of that product. Illinois’ product this year was Zapple, an apple containing as much caffeine as a cup of black coffee. Students in the ACE 398 Business Planning class began working on a comprehensive marketing strategy for Zapple last semester and presented the final pitch at the National NAMA competition.
Among the 14-student Illinois team were Ben Rakes and Mitch Hiett, both agricultural communications majors at the University of Illinois. Rakes believes that his background in Ag Communications classes really prepared him to work on the marketing plan. “When I was designing the label for the Zapple container, I used Adobe InDesign and Adobe Photoshop constantly. I would have never learned these skills if I never took AGCM 220,” he said.
“Students come away from the NAMA competition with employable skills in the business world - things those in marketing do every day,” says Theresa Miller, NAMA team advisor at the University of Illinois. “[They learn to] make a pitch, push a product through a regulatory program, create a marketing program from scratch, and research issues with an industry.”
The Illinois NAMA chapter gave their business presentation three times at the national competition as they advanced through the preliminary, semi-final, and final rounds, eventually earning at top 6 team finish. Congratulation to Ben Rakes, Mitch Heitt, and all of the ACE 398 students on their accomplishment.