Marketing Institute

Marketing Institute Past Field Projects

2014 Projects

Allscripts Health Care Solutions, Inc.

Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, Inc. is a $1.3 billion dollar Chicago based company that provides physician practices, hospitals, and other healthcare providers with practice management and electronic health record technology, including electronic prescribing, care management, and revenue cycle software. The Marketing Institute conducted a six month qualitative research study that included designing and administering a questionnaire, individual interviews, recruiting study participants, and utilizing eye tracking and heat mapping technology to determine participants' interaction with Allscripts' health care patient portal and providing recommendations to increase patient usage.

Cramer, Inc.

Based in Kansas City, Cramer Inc. is a multi-million dollar manufacturer of non-traditional furniture for business and industry. Their project involved the analysis of trade channel distribution and the creation of a buyer decision tree for a new product launch.

City of Muscatine, Iowa

The phenomenon known as "import commuting" is a major concern to Muscatine business and community leaders who have invested to make Muscatine a more attractive and self-contained community with the conveniences of a larger city. The project involved an in-depth 7 month qualitative and quantitative study that included focus groups, and designing and administrating a questionnaire to 300 participants in order to understand why more of the working population does not choose to live in Muscatine. Based on the findings, the Marketing Institute team developed a comprehensive strategic marketing plan that included recommendations of brand identity for the city.

City of Washington, Iowa

Washington, Iowa is competing against several similar communities in establishing an identity to bill itself as a "day trip" destination and an affordable place to live with all the amenities of a larger city. The Marketing Institute team was charged with creating a SWOT analysis of Washington and its competitive set; creating a marketing plan that included brand identity focusing on making Washington as a "day trip" destination to boost tourism; and recommending the most efficient and cost effective method to roll-out the campaign.

2013 Projects

ACT, Inc.

For more than 50 years, ACT, Inc. has been a provider of assessment, research, information, and program management services for education and workforce development. The Marketing Institute conducted a performance gap and an industry in-depth analysis that included recommendations on ways ACT can increase market share in the college testing segment.

Brick Arch Winery

For more than 50 years, ACT, Inc. has been a provider of assessment, research, Based in West Branch, Brick Arch needed to conduct a marketing communication audit of local competitors along with recommendations of the most effective communication channels to reach local customers. In addition, the Marketing Institute team provided a detailed analysis of their customer base and recommendations to increase visitor traffic and sales.


For more than 50 years, ACT, Inc. has been a provider of assessment, research, Dwolla is a payment network that allows any business or individual to send, request, and accept money. The Marketing Institute's field project goal was to determine how college students can use Dwolla and recommend a marketing campaign that will drive users and usage among the 18-24 year old age group.

Hills Bank & Trust

For more than 50 years, ACT, Inc. has been a provider of assessment, research, Hills Bank & Trust is an Iowa based financial institution with 17 offices and total assets of $2 billion. The project involved conducting a marketing audit to increase college freshmen awareness of their products and services, and providing recommendations on the most effective communication methods to reach this population segment.

Young Africa

For more than 50 years, ACT, Inc. has been a provider of assessment, research, Young Africa is a non-profit organization that provides vocational training for young adults (15-25 years of age) in Africa. The Marketing Institute conducted a marketing communication audit that included recommendations on a communication strategy and brand positioning focused on digital / social media channels.

Fall 2012 Projects


Chevrolet logoThe scope of this project was to develop a cohesive campaign that communicates the Chevrolet brand to college-age Generation Y demographic age group. Specifically, the project focused on the following vehicles: Chevrolet Spark, which was being sold in Europe with plans to introduce it to the USA; Chevrolet Sonic; Chevrolet Camaro; and Chevrolet Cruze.

The goals of the projects included:

  • Increase opinion and consideration for the Chevrolet brand and the specific vehicles involved in the project.
  • Integrating the four vehicle models with the college discount program.
  • Execute an event that is relevant to the consumer target that will attract vehicle engagement and test drives.

The Marketing Institute student teams worked with various co-project sponsors including:

  • EdVenture and Chevrolet on event planning
  • Relationship Marketing and the Iowa Geriatric Education Center on eye tracking studies
  • Driva Solutions, a consulting firm on data mining, analysis, and recommendations

MI and Chevy

Peter Finzel and Cliff Forsythe, district sales managers for GM, kicked off the Chevrolet Project with students on September 7 by bringing five Chevrolet cars to campus for the students to go over. Our thanks to Peter and Cliff as well as product trainer Mitch Roese for educating us about these fine automobiles!


Nike logo

Zack Bromert, product manager of children's apparel at Nike Inc., hosted a team of four students at Nike's corporate headquarters at Beaverton, Oregon. The students job shadowed Nike executives in product, sports, and brand marketing. This experience gave them valuable insights into the day-to-day accountabilities of marketing executives across a variety of product divisions. We'd like to thank Zack and the rest of the Nike executives who support us and made this possible.

Spring 2012 Projects

Veridian Credit Union—This semester the Marketing Institute will be working with Veridian Credit Union, the largest credit union in the state of Iowa. We will be covering a few areas of consulting for this client, which will include reviewing Veridian's marketing materials from the last year to rate its success of including diversity into its materials. Also, the Marketing Institute will be reviewing Veridian's marketing surveys while giving recommendations to utilize "inclusion" questions into the surveys and future marketing materials.

BettrLife—BettrLife has received government funding to test the BettrLife wellness platform, which is a life resource management tool that offers the potential to enhance the health, socioeconomic status, and life experience of individuals, while supporting the interests of their employers, communities, and society. Our project is to promote the BettrLife mobile and web applications by researching and distinguishing the key players in the health and wellness blogging community as well as any influential Twitter accounts in order to market the BettrLife tool to those individuals in hope of gaining followers and spokespersons for the program. Right now we have about 1,500 blogs to look through in the areas of weight loss, fitness, health & wellness, recipe planning, nutrition, and grocery shopping.

College of Nursing (CON)—This semester our client is the College of Nursing Nurse Practitioners and we will be working to create a branding strategy for the University of Iowa's College of Nursing Faculty Practice. The business problem is that the current brand recognition for the Nurse Practitioners program is insufficient in representing the menu of programs offered. We will help build a solid brand that will increase both awareness and recognition for the program, which will help recruit new practitioners and enable the program to become financially stable.

REACH Program—Our group is going to work on a competitive analysis for the REACH Program at the University of Iowa. We were given a list of direct competitors of different programs like REACH at universities all over the nation in order to compare and contrast the similarities and differences. Our group is hoping to provide the REACH Program the research that they need to be able to improve and sustain their ranking as one of the top educational programs for students with cognitive learning disabilities.

University of Iowa Foundation—We will be doing primary research for the foundation to help them analyze the effectiveness of their current advertising campaign, especially within theTippie College of Business.

Fall 2011 Projects

ACT—The creators of the ACT test asked students to research how social media has influenced high school seniors in their selection of college.

What We Found: After creating a market research plan, we conducted two focus groups with high school student groups, one focus group with college students; 10 in-depth interviews with high school students, college students, and parents of college students, respectively; 19 usability tests with high school students for College Board's College Matchmaker (ACT's main competitor) web tool; and wrote and analyzed survey data from over 100 college students and intended for distribution to 10,000 high school students.

Our results yielded six actionable recommendations. ACT's director of social media is currently working closely with the web and marketing team using our research, analysis, and recommendations to build accurate, user-friendly tools with plans to integrate our findings into his social media platform, primarily through viral videos and targeted interactions on Facebook.

Maid-Rite—The Maid-Rite franchise is one of America's first quick-service casual-dining restaurants. Their first restaurant was opened in 1926 and the brand has grown to over 80 restaurants. The students are tasked with analyzing and providing recommendations regarding the brand's current social media marketing strategies. The students will also design a protocol and processes for managing a social media campaign for new restaurant openings.

Young Africa (YA)—Young Africa is a nonprofit organization that equips young adults in Africa with the skills and knowledge to earn a living through income-generating entrepreneurial ventures. YA was founded in 1998 and has trained over 16,000 underprivileged youth in Africa, aged 15-25. For our project, we analyzed the organization's current marketing and branding strategies and gave recommendations to create a unified global brand that would tie together marketing channels across all operating sites, which includes three projects in Mozambique and Zimbabwe, as well as their support foundations located in the Netherlands and the USA.

Spring 2011 Projects

University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics (UIHC)—The hospital marketed evening hours for a particular clinic; however, the response was below expectations. The students surveyed university employees who met the demographics of the clinic's target market about their awareness of the program, attitudes toward it and evening hours for a clinic. UIHC sent out several direct mail pieces after receiving the students' findings.

EOS International—This nonprofit was founded by several engineering graduates from Iowa State University to bring technology (e.g., irrigation systems, ovens, etc.) that could be produced, bought, and serviced locally to developing countries, with an emphasis on Nicaragua. The students were tasked with conducting a marketing audit, finding out what type of message the company was sending through their various channels (e.g., web, social media, brochures, etc.), and to come up with marketing recommendations. The students also managed a Google Adwords campaign for the company that exceeded the company's expectations in garnering donations.

I Am Tippie—Students were put in charge of the 2011 Tippie College of Business gift campaign. The theme of the campaign was "I am Tippie" focusing on Mr. Tippie's passion of giving back to others and his first gift of $5 to the College of Business. The campaign raised $1,775, the second highest dollar amount ever raised by the college's senior gift campaign. The graphics and theme of the campaign will be carried over in years to come.

Jacobson Institute for Youth Entrepreneurship—The Marketing Institute students designed direct-mail pieces promoting class materials the Jacobson Institute has developed for teachers of K-12 (with an emphasis on high school teachers) to help teach entrepreneurship within their classrooms.

Tippie Build 5K Run—College of Business students raise over $50,000 yearly for Habitat for Humanity. The students in charge of Tippie Build decided to have the first 5K run to help raise funds. Marketing Institute students created the advertising for inside the building, on the buses, in the residence halls, and quarter sheets to be handed out. They also announced and promoted the event within sororities and fraternities. Over 100 people showed up for the event, helping to raise over $2,000 for Tippie Build. This surpassed the expectations of the organizers for the inaugural run.

Magnetic Smiles—A product designed and patented to hold 4-by-6-inch photos in a flipbook that magnetically clings to a refrigerator or other metal surface. Magnetic Smiles was developed and patented by a local entrepreneur. Students were tasked with judging the size of the market for such a product.

Fall 2010 Projects

Elevation Inc.—A digital ad agency in Chicago focused on interactive marketing. Elevation Inc. has a software product called Elicit for displaying search results to users on corporate websites. The software uses artificial intelligence to predict what a user is searching for as they begin typing and will start to display what it believes to be relevant results and dynamically updates them. Motorola and several other companies are using the software for search on their websites. The students were to study the competitive landscape in relation to the Elicit product. The students identified three competitors to Elevation's software solution. Elevation Inc. has since partnered with one of the companies that the students identified. The story was featured in the summer issue of the Business at Iowa magazine (page 17):

HON—Manufacturers of office furniture for business, education, and government customers. HON participates in approximately 70 trade shows every year. HON asked students to think about ways in which they could use technology to help gather and prioritize contact information for attendees at tradeshows. The students recommended the use of social media check-in services, QR codes, and other traditional and digital services. The student project manager, Liz Schulte, was hired by HON to manage their social media.

Big Dream Gathering (BDG)—Founded by Mitch Matthews, BDG hosts events in which people write about their dreams/goals in life and others can write comments, advice, etc. on your "dream sheets." It is a great networking opportunity and has helped many people realize their dreams over the years. Marketing Institute students wrote a marketing plan for BDG, helping it expand its service to the college market. The students also helped market and implement a BDG event that saw more than 300 participants in Iowa City on November 19, 2010.