When companies partner with the University of Oregon's Lundquist College of Business to pursue new business opportunities, they are always thoroughly impressed by the results. Case in point, Woodfold Mfg., Inc., a manufacturer of accordion and rollup doors and wood shutters, recently teamed up with several M.B.A. students from the college to develop a marketing plan for a new product--an innovative door made to look like a bookcase.
Woodfold had engineered the product, but wasn't quite sure how to market it. The bookcase door was clearly oriented toward a new consumer segment, but did the market exist? If so, how big was it? Would Woodfold have the production capacity to meet demand?
When M.B.A. student Cody Stavig sent a query to a consortium of manufacturing companies offering project assistance as part of a marketing class for first-year M.B.A.s, Woodfold seized the chance. And it couldn't have been happier with the results.
"Working with Oregon M.B.A. students was something new for us, and they did an amazing job," said Woodfold's Sales and Marketing Manager Justin Norman, who served as the company's liaison for the project. "Their analysis also gave us insights into how we might enhance marketing efforts across other product lines."
For the project, students applied lessons learned in Instructor Doug Wilson's marketing class. In particular, they relied on concepts and software developed by Professor Emeritus Roger Best, who pioneered a systematic, quantitative approach for creating marketing plans.
"Everything we learned in class we used directly in the marketing plan," noted Stavig, who crafted the plan with fellow students Bradley Russell, Nancy Song, and Josh Hogan. "We identified a target demographic of female consumers, put real numbers on the size of that demographic, and ran some analyses to estimate how much of that market Woodfold might reasonably expect to capture."
Based on that data, M.B.A. students additionally recommended trade shows and publications for reaching the target market. The company implemented those recommendations, generating considerable interest and enthusiasm.
In the end, Woodfold was so pleased with the outcome that it contacted Wilson to express interest in recruiting a graduating student to be the product manager for the bookcase doors. And, of course, the company would definitely consider partnering with Lundquist College of Business students in the future.