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Southern Illinois University



Southern Illinois Bank praises CoB students

January 25, 2010, Amanda Weaver


During the fall 2009 semester, four MBA students: Sarah Gould, Austin McCree, Chris Smith, and Niklas Wagner received extensive praise from Southern Illinois Bank for their outstanding promotional plan which the students prepared for the company during their MBA Promotions Management class’ with Dr. Cheryl Burke Jarvis. On December 16, 2009 the Board of Directors of Southern Illinois Bank in West Frankfort met and bank President James Renik and Vice President Toni Dunning presented the students’ proposal to the entire board.

At the beginning of the fall 2009 semester, the students were asked by Southern Illinois Bank to come up with various ways to appeal to a younger customer base as well as to help the company market their online banking program. The overall promotional plan incorporated recommendations for a full range of promotional activities, including advertising, public relations, media relations, direct marketing, special events, community involvement, and sponsorships.

Burke Jarvis said how she admires how tied the university is to the community and how each one feeds off each other. She also states that one of the benefits of the Promotions Management class’ project is that it allows students to apply the theories and concepts learned in class to real world experiences and clients.

Sarah Gould, from New Hampshire, was one of the students who helped prepare the promotional plan, stated that, “it was such a great experience. It is incredibly satisfying to be able to transform classroom lessons into an actual marketing plan for a local business. Sometimes we as students can get so tied up in our textbooks and assignments that it is hard to think outside of a classroom setting. It is nice to be able to see how our hard work and dedication is going to help Southern Illinois Bank achieve their goals. “

Austin McCree, another student who worked on the promotion plan, said that she learned that you can create a well-rounded marketing campaign with a fairly small budget. McCree also stated, “You don't always need millions of dollars to effectively market your products or services. The small budget challenged us as a group to think outside the box which allowed us to come up with some great solutions to fit within our company's budget which they liked! Had we been given a large budget, we may not have decided to go with some of our more creative ideas, so it turned out to be a great learning experience.”

The Board of Directors plans on implementing a number of the recommendations that the students made. Toni Dunning commented, “These students should be commended for the thought and effort which they obviously devoted to this project. Southern Illinois Bank’s relatively modest size and advertising budget required this group to be creative to stay within budget while formulating a realistic marketing approach feasible for our institution.” She also added, “The bank personnel who worked directly with your students as they were researching this project were uniformly impressed with how well your students conducted themselves.”