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CSI Student Service Learning Marketing Research Projects Provide Valuable Insights

January 03, 2011

On-Point Marketing Research members (L-R:) Jeffrey Drouillard, Lorna Wilson, Susan Fenley (Executive Director, Sundog Theatre), Gideon Omagbemi

Four teams of upper-class marketing research students presented the results of their semester’s marketing research projects to representatives of the Sundog Theatre, Richmond County Orchestra, Riverside Opera Company, and the Little Cupcake Bakeshop recently at the College of Staten Island’s Center for the Arts.

On-Point Marketing Research members Lorna Wilson, Jeffrey Drouillard, and Gideon Omagbemi gave a 20-minute presentation on their findings to the Director of Sundog Theatre, Susan Fenley.

Elite Entertainment members (L-R:) Katie Kapitan, Melissa Castellanos, Maestro Alan Aurelia (Richmond County Orchestra/Riverside Opera Company), Sandy Tang, Shannon Clark, Kiki Kosmidou, Vincent Cannone

Student researchers from Elite Entertainment including Katie Kapitan, Kiki Kosmidou and Sandy Tang presented their results to Maestro Alan Aurelia of the Richmond Country Orchestra as did C3 Research, Vincent Cannone, Melissa Castellanos, and Shannon Clark with their segment on the maestro’s Riverside Opera Company.

NEKS Level Research members (L-R:) Sagi Alkobi, Kristie Draper, Nelson Ortiz

Market research for a CSI alumni member’s Little Cupcake Bake Shop in Brooklyn, a for-profit business, was presented by NEKS Level Research team members Sagi Alkobi, Kristie Draper, and Nelson Ortiz.

These Student Service Learning presentations were executive summaries of information gleaned from their marketing research projects. Each team met with their client to determine the problem areas; define the research objectives, constructs, and measurements; and to develop a questionnaire. The questionnaires were completed electronically and manually by a convenience sample of both organization supporters as well as Staten Island Chamber of Commerce members who agreed to participate. The students’ data were then analyzed via SPSS, a statistical software application, and then crafted into a final report and PowerPoint presentation. Each team was able to demonstrate new and surprising insights to each organization from their support base as well as Chamber members, and provide real-world suggestions for cultivating future donor/supporter involvement and market expansion potential. This year the students added their first for-profit client.

Past research projects from CSI marketing research students have included a study for a St. John’s University continuing education program; SCORE, Staten Island branch; The American Cancer Society, Staten Island division; and COAHSI, Council on the Arts and Humanities for Staten Island.

Maestro Aurelia commented, “I learned a lot about how we can reach more people on Staten Island and what our general audience is thinking. The teams of students you selected to work on this report were fantastic to work with. I also learned from the other teams’ remarks during their presentation.”

Susan Fenley added, “Thank you so much for allowing Sundog to be part of this wonderful program. I think it was a completely win-win situation, with everyone benefiting.”

Professor Thomas Tellefsen, Chairperson of the Business Department at CSI, acknowledged, “The feedback has been great. It’s particularly gratifying when real managers speak well of our students.”

Jeffrey Drouillard, a student who worked on the Sundog Theatre project noted, “I wanted to thank you for allowing me to be part of something [in which] a select few students get to participate. I have learned so much in this quick semester-–this class gave me an insider look into the real business world–-late nights and very early mornings…Thank you for the learning experience – I will hold it with me wherever I go in the future.”

The client-sponsor for Little Cupcake Bakeshop was not able to attend the presentation because of holiday business issues but stated in an email, “Your students very much impressed me and I know the work will be stellar!” He will receive his report after the holidays.

Bill Dubovsky, Adjunct Lecturer in Business, welcomed the audience with a brief presentation on how marketing research can be used by non-profit organizations to build capacity (audience and supporters) and video-recorded the presentations for future marketing research classes. “Our community client-sponsors all came away with useful information and learned from each other’s presentations. It’s gratifying to see students excited about doing real research and then see their results put to practical use by real organizations,” stated Dubovsky, who thanked them all for their time and support of the students.

Each attending client-sponsor received a copy of the research report, data, the PowerPoint presentation, as well as a PDF copy of Non-profit Marketing – Capacity Building Workshop Participant Workbook to act as a guide in developing marketing strategy from the data.

By Bill Dubovsky


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