Last week, students studying MSc International Marketing Strategy benefitted from a week-long Summer School that provided the opportunity to have marketing concepts brought to life through study trips, visiting speakers and participating in a Marketing Challenge based on Northampton’s leather heritage.
The students were able to find out how leather products are produced with a tour of the tannery at the University’s Institute for Creative Leather Technologies. Professor Mike Redwood spoke on the way luxury leather brands market themselves and the particular issues they face in developing markets.
The students had the opportunity to hear from guest speakers from leading companies, including William Tusting, of luxury leather bag brand Tusting, who described the international marketing approach of the company. Students were riveted about the way a small fifth generation family business sells most of its products abroad and has just opened its first outlet in China. On a different scale, Tanya Whymark, Digital Marketing Manager at SEAT UK, explained how the Volkswagen Group managed the marketing of brands ranging from Bentley to Skoda with particular emphasis on the use of digital marketing to drive the growth of Seat.
The students were able to attend several study trips, including Northampton Town FC where a stadium tour concluded with Caroline Lucy, Marketing Manager, providing a fascinating insight into the economics of the sport and the importance of the football club has to market more than its matches. Gareth Willsher, the club’s Head of Media, also explained the opportunities and challenges presented by social media, especially Twitter. At Sulgrave Manor, the ancestral home of George Washington, Cymon Snow the General Manager explained how they attract home and international visitors to somewhere in the middle of rural South Northamptonshire and away from main roads.
The Marketing Challenge was an opportunity for the students to apply the lessons learnt throughout the week and their course programme, by working on the launch of a new branded luxury gym bag.. An important element of the challenge was an assessment of financial viability. To assist the students with this Liz Vokes ran a workshop on costing and budgeting. On the last day the competing teams presented their ideas to a judging panel of five including Jack Holloway, Deputy Dean of Northampton Business School. “The effort put in by the students was reflected in the high quality of the content of the presentations. This made it very difficult to declare a winner,” commented NBS’ Jason Vaughan who set the brief. The winning team targeted the discerning male with a brand, G Kest, based on craftsmanship.
Not all the Summer School was about engaging with the real world of marketing. An important element of the week was the support provided students on the full day Dissertation Clinic. This clinic gave students the opportunity to meet with their supervisors and to benefit from the specific guidance of Joanne Farmer, Kathy Mortimer and Susie Cowley-Haselden on different aspects of delivering a dissertation to be proud of.
Feedback from the students gave the Summer School a big thumbs-up having found it extremely useful and interesting. Dr Angela Rushton, Programme Leader of the MSc International Marketing Strategy commented: “It is the first time we have run such an event for this Masters programme and I am delighted with its success. There has been a real buzz around the event. The students have taken so much away from the various speakers and activities – this really came through in their Marketing Challenge presentations.”
Image: The team who won the Marketing Challenge, pictured with Jason Vaughan and Dr Angela Rushton.
View the online album featuring pictures from throughout the week.