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Dec 21, 2023

Spreading Wings for Flight: 2nd Annual Trade Show Highlights the Ingenuity of UNCW Business Students

Sponsored Content provided by Robert Burrus - Dean , Cameron School of Business - UNC-Wilmington

This article was contributed by Dr. Fredrika Spencer, Marketing Lecturer within CSB.

On Friday, December 1, 2023, adjunct marketing faculty Elaine Andrews and Charshae Marshall-Phillips hosted their second annual trade show in Congdon Hall highlighting the work of students in their Principles of Marketing course. 

The Principles of Marketing course, a core course within the BSBA curriculum and an elective course for several other programs both at the Cameron School of Business and within the broader UNCW curriculum, teaches students about the basic concepts associated with marketing including marketing research, product development, integrated marketing communications design, pricing strategy and distribution planning. 

Over the course of the semester, to aid in mapping this broad array of foundational concepts to practical application, student teams in the sections taught by faculty members Andrews and Marshall-Phillips must work to build a marketing plan for a new or improved product as well as develop a product prototype. This project occurs in multiple steps with feedback provided along the way to help focus and refine product development and a “go to market” strategy. The trade show operates as the pinnacle of the experience, allowing teams to operate as entrepreneurs looking for capital investment amid competing options.

At the end of the term, students are provided with a table at the trade show both to attract investors and to promote their chosen product. Similar to the style of “Shark Tank” and other investment programs, “investors”, representing members of the faculty, staff, alumni and local business community, are invited to the show and provided with a brochure listing each product and tagline (or brand positioning). Investors may then visit as many booths as they wish to learn more about each project. Investors are also provided with faux money to invest in the project(s) of their choosing. At the end of the show, the faux money, collected in boxes at each table, is collected and the student project with the most money is designated as the winner. 

Among the approximately 100 students and 21 teams across the two Fall 2023 sections taught by Andrews and Marshall-Phillips, this year’s projects made use of many resources available on the UNCW campus to create 3D models of product prototypes, to design applications for mobile phones or to strategize new service offerings to be provided to customers from a variety of target markets.
This year’s big winner and fan favorite was “Game Gum”, a chewing gum designed with a variety of ingredients to help consumers achieve various goals for the day. The three following varieties were presented:

  • A focus variety with ginseng to help with attention and focus when in class or studying 
  • A fitness variety with creatine and vitamins to help with muscle building 
  • A recovery variety with ibuprofen and electrolytes to help with hydration and recovery during hangovers
With rich industry experience and integration into the current Wilmington environment, Andrews and Marshall-Phillips hope the trade show concept continues to grow as it helps students not only apply their growing knowledge of the field of Marketing, but also practice important interpersonal communication skills sure to help them personally and professionally. While the Cameron School of Business has been long-known for its applied experiences for students like the Fed Challenge, the Seahawk Innovation Challenge and the Prague Consulting class, the trade show provides another exciting opportunity for students to learn how to make a real impact in the business world. As Andrews states, “We hope to grow this show in the future and outgrow Congdon Hall. We would like to see this become a large community event where Wilmingtonians, business professionals and UNCW members look forward to attending each semester!”

To get involved in providing resources to students or to volunteer as an investor for the next Trade Show, please reach out to Dr. Lisa Scribner, Chair of the Department of Marketing, at [email protected]

Photos above from the 2023 Trade Show courtesy of UNCW Photography Services/Jeff Janowski.

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