When you are teaching high school students about marketing, project-based lessons can provide a way to apply theoretical principles and methods to actual situations. As you plan projects, consider ways that you can expose students to the type of work they might face as professional marketers.
One of the most important parts of marketing is audience analysis; with in-depth knowledge of your customer base, you will be better able to target marketing efforts to appeal to their preferences.
To teach high school students how to analyse an audience, pose a marketing scenario that is directed at a specific type of people, and have the students devise ways to gather information about the target audience. You might tell one group that they will be rebranding an opera festival, for example, and instruct them to come up with an audience profile of people who might be moved by marketing materials to buy tickets. Students can conduct interviews, perform market research on competitor strategies, collect information from the Internet, find audience numbers and compare them, and target potential sectors that might be part of the target group based on demographic information.
For many companies, logo design is a key part of marketing and promotional activities. To teach a group of students to work in collaboration with designers to satisfy a client, create a logo that will speak to the audience, partner with an art class. Have each group choose a client: you might reach out to student groups or local non-profits, for example. Pair each group with a designer from the art class and set them free to learn by experience about the logo process. The marketing groups will need to work with the client to get an idea of the organisation's character, purpose, and audience, and will then need to communicate that information to the designer. Once the designer has worked up concepts, the group can provide initial feedback loops to refine the logo design before presenting to the client. This project will teach students the importance of clear communications, how to interview a client, how to incorporate client feedback, and how to user-test a logo on the audience.
Sample Marketing Plan
When you want to teach high school students about marketing and promotions, have them set up a sample marketing plan for a business in the area. Have each group analyse the company's current marketing strategies, promotional materials, website copy, and perform a market analysis. Based on that information, they can lay out a marketing plan that will address the unique needs of the local area and identify ways to reach new audience groups. At the end of the project, you might send the plans to the businesses.
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