At the age of 23, Garrett Rybak sat in the cockpit of a T-34 with the engine roaring and propellers spinning. After the requisite safety checks, he grabbed the controls and sped the aircraft down the runway until it went airborne into the Wild Blue Yonder. Continue reading EPIC Spotlight: Garrett Rybak
Call him Dub.
Not Dr. Ashton. It was a request he made when he was department chair for the Department of Marketing and, later, senior associate dean at the Sam M. Walton College of Business. He has never wavered on this preference, and it’s how his students address him. He’s Dub. Continue reading EPIC Spotlight: Dub Ashton
The Sam M. Walton College of Business will host the Retailing Thought Leadership Conference on the University of Arkansas campus Oct. 11-12. Representatives from more than a dozen companies and nearly 20 colleges and universities will be on hand to share insights on the future of retail.
The National Retail Federation estimates that retail supports 42 million jobs, provides $1.6 trillion in labor income and contributes $2.6 trillion annually to U.S. GDP. The Retailing Thought Leadership Conference will feature retail industry leaders and scholarly experts presenting their views on what’s next for retail. The collaborative nature of the conference, aimed to establish ties between research and practice, will generate fresh topics for publication in a special issue of the Journal of Retailing.
The event will include several keynote speakers and conference breakout sessions. The breakout sessions are by invitation only, but students, faculty and staff are invited to attend the main program on Oct. 11.
Speakers for the main program of the conference include:
- Cecilia Wu, vice president, customer science at Walmart
- Erin Campbell, senior vice president at Saatchi & Saatchi X
- Andres Mejia, vice president, Sam’s Club team lead at the Coca-Cola Company
- John Karsberg, head of tests and insights at H&M
- Suzanne Jervis, director, product insights and decision sciences at Sam’s Club
- Rida Moustafa, distinguished data scientist at Walmart
- Marcel Uphues, director of finance at Metro Group
- Rand Waddoups, senior director, Omnichannel at Walmart
- Renee Brandon, vice president, research and data at Field Agent
- Tom Duncan, associate brand director at Proctor & Gamble
The event will be informative for students planning for careers in the retail industry involving various aspects such as omnichannel commerce, in-store marketing measurement, disruption through technology and retail formats of the future. Faculty, staff and students interested in these topics are encouraged to attend.
Students, faculty and staff are welcome to sign up for the first day of the two-day event by using the Regular Registration button.
Conference sponsors include the Walton College and its Center for Retailing Excellence, the Retailing & Pricing special interest group of the American Marketing Association and the Retail Supply Chain Institute at Babson College.
Participating companies include Walmart, Sam’s Club, H&M, Coca-Cola, Proctor & Gamble, Saatchi & Saatchi X, ConAgra, Whyte Spyder, Dillard’s, J.M. Smucker, J.B. Hunt Transport Inc., Metro Group, Field Agent, Elateral, and more.
Participating colleges and universities include the University of Arkansas, Arizona State University, Babson College, Dartmouth College, Drexel University, ESCP Europe, Florida State University, George Mason University, Georgetown University, Georgia State University, Indian School of Business, Loyola Marymount University, McGill University, Ohio State University, Purdue University, Rice University, Santa Clara University, Southern Methodist University, Texas A&M University, Tilburg University, University of Bath, University of California, University of Houston, University of Muenster, University of North Carolina, University of South Carolina, University of Texas, University of Tennessee, University of Tulsa, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and University of Washington.
Registration is at the website of the Retailing Thought Leadership Conference. For more information, contact Dinesh Gauri, professor of marketing and Walmart Chair in Marketing, at email@example.com or (479) 575-3903.
The Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the Sam M. Walton College of Business hosted four residential summer camps in June to introduce high school students to the University of Arkansas and Walton College.
The four camps introduce high ability minority students to career options, campus resources and campus life.
“Introducing college life to high school kids who may not otherwise have this opportunity is life changing,” said Barbara Lofton, director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion for Walton College. “Through our summer camp programs, these students meet faculty and staff, stay in dorm rooms and eat meals on campus, participate in research and learn about academic and career opportunities available to them.
“It changes their perception of college and makes them feel at home here.”
The Business Leadership Academy, held June 9-13, introduced newly admitted freshmen to campus life. The students enhanced leadership skills through team projects and met Walton staff and faculty. The program also told students about career opportunities in retail and marketing.
The Fleischer Scholars Program, held June 16-21, hosted two camps for low income high school juniors and seniors whose parents did not attend college. Fleischer Scholars Program I was for students new to the program. Fleischer Scholars Program II welcomed back students who attended the camp previously.
The weeklong camps taught students how to research, develop and present a business plan and helped them transition from high school to college. The Fleischer Scholars Program provides a four-year partial college scholarship to participants.
The Accounting Career Awareness Program was held June 23-28 for underrepresented high school juniors and seniors interested in pursuing careers in accounting. Students attended undergraduate classes and networked with accouting professionals. Workshops focused on basic skills needed for accounting careers, business etiquette and requirements for certified public accountants.
The Office of Diversity and Inclusion was established in 1994 to support, advocate and assist Walton College in developing plans for diversity and supporting students throughout the college. It is the oldest office of diversity at an Southeastern Conference business school and recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. For more information regarding the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, visit walton.uark.edu/diversity.
About the University of Arkansas:The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among fewer than 2.7 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.
Hmmm. What to pick … pretzels, potato chips, corn chips, energy bars or popcorn?
For marketing seniors and juniors in the Marketing Category Management class at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, walking through the snack aisle in the grocery store is more than a shopping trip, it’s an academic study.
Bob Bachtel, an instructor for the Department of Marketing and a principal for IRI Worldwide in Bentonville, leads this class and challenges students to research the salty snack category, devise a plan to drive sales and then present their solutions to the class and industry experts. The competitive exercise was the culmination of the class, which focused on data analysis using shopper and sales trends, product placement, shelving/modular and product placement design software and presentation skills.
The class is designed to provide students a strong skill set to get a job in the growing field of category management. Students can get certified in category management and Kantar Virtual Reality and learn to use shopper and sales data in category and business analysis.
Throughout the spring 2019 semester, category management students benefitted from corporate mentors and speakers from Walmart, Sam’s Club, IRI Worldwide, Johnson & Johnson, Nestle, 8th& Walton, General Mills, PepsiCo, Harvest Group, Keurig/Dr. Pepper and Smuckers.
In addition, companies such as IRI Worldwide, the Category Management Association and Kantar Retail provided data sets and computer-aided design software to assist in researching shopper trends and placing products on shelves digitally.
For the final class project, the students formed six teams and began to research the overall category, find areas of growth in product development and target markets. From there, teams devised new or improved product lines, such as:
Team One – Dos Caras, Spice It Up, a new plain corn chip with flavor packets to add according to the spiciness level of the consumer’s choice. Target market: millennials and young adults.
- Team Two – Simply, a new product line of organic corn chips with guacamole and Sriracha hot sauce flavors. Target market: millennials through flavor and older adults through pricing.
- Team Three – New packaging and flavors for KIND bars, an existing product line. Target market: older millennials and baby boomers.
Team Four – Pop Fuego, a new line of popcorn with new flavors. Target market: middle class millennials
- Team Five – Marley’s Seaweed Chips, a new veggie chip. Target market: health conscious adults.
- Team Six – New flavors for Tostitos, expanding an existing product with new flavors. Target market: Asian and Hispanic markets in west coast, Texas and southern states.
Industry professionals judged the six presentations on:
- Thesis statement or the strength of the idea presented.
- Supporting documentation or evidence.
- Creativity in solution.
- Presentation skills.
- Wow factor.
Several teams noted the increasing Hispanic population and one team noted the increasing Asian population for their target market. Students also researched trends of Millennials, Gen Xers, Baby Boomers and more. From there, they researched product flavors and spokespersons that might appeal to those ages and markets.
Some targeted consumers interested in healthy snacks, while other teams targeted cost conscious consumers. The target audience would shape how each team promoted its product. Those focused on cost cutting would use coupons as a marketing tool, while products focused on the Hispanic market might launch the new product line before Cinco de Mayo (May 5) or during Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 – Oct. 15).
With the research done, consumer audience identified, products designed, and presentations created, teams were ready to present their work to judges Cole Dodson from IRI, and Steve Meehan, a retired industry executive, and Bob Bachtel.
And the Winner Is …
The Dos Caras, Spice It Up! team won the class competition due to its proposed unique spice packet that comes with each bag of unflavored tortilla chips. The consumer adds the amount of spice they like to plain chips and then shakes the clear, re-sealable bag to distribute the flavors. If the consumer wants more spice, they add more.
The Dos Caras (Two Faces) product targeted Gen X and Baby Boomer population and the growing Hispanic market in the mid-Atlantic states and key markets in the western United States. It would launch with three flavors: hot sauce/jalapeno, chili/lime and mango/chili.
Dos Caras presentation included sales profit of $1.7 million for 450 Walmart stores at a sales price of $2.48 per bag.
The team tackled a 2% loss in the unflavored chip market with this interactive product. Its main competitors are the Juanita’s, Tostitos and Old Dutch brands.
The salty snack industry is a $19 billion industry with 4% annual growth.
The voice on Molly Rapert’s answering machine said she was a finalist for a university teaching job. The caller left his name but didn’t say from where he was calling.
Even more mysterious: Rapert had not applied for the job. Continue reading EPIC Spotlight: Molly Rapert
In the fall of 2017, Anne Velliquette, a marketing clinical assistant professor at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, watched her son view a series of online videos about alcohol and substance abuse, a requirement for all incoming freshmen. She questioned what he retained and how seriously he viewed the content.
“I wondered whether it was at all effective in educating our freshmen on the reality of what they were about to embark on as a college student with new freedoms and plenty of opportunities to consume alcohol in an unhealthy way,” Velliquette said.
Ironically, soon after, she was contacted by Sarah Stokowski, a recreation and sport management assistant professor in the College of Education and Health Professions, who was seeking assistance from a marketing professor for a collaborative grant application regarding alcohol abuse prevention on campus.
The timing was perfect.
In collaboration with several university departments and programs, Stokowski submitted a successful grant application and the University of Arkansas was awarded the NCAA CHOICES grant for $30,000 over a three-year period. The grant provides funding to reduce alcohol abuse on campus through a partnership with athletics and other campus groups.
The grant led to the development of ROAR –Razorbacks Offering Accountability Resources – a new registered student organization on campus open to all students at the university. Its mission is to encourage students to drink responsibly and to look after others who may be drinking.
Of the 15 universities receiving CHOICES funding, the University of Arkansas program is unique. Instead of driving the program through athletics, administrators, professors or student affairs – a restrictive delivery – the ROAR program encourages healthy behavior through peer-to-peer interaction.
“We feel like if we approach from a student-led side, with the goal of having fun and prioritizing SAFE drinking, NOT abstinence, it will give us a great shot of being successful,” said Ridge Stringer, ROAR co-president and senior majoring in marketing at Walton College.
ROAR educates students about alcohol use in fun, approachable ways. In February 2019, ROAR arranged a tour of the Black Apple Cidery in Springdale to learn about how cider is made and learn about safe consumption.
“Another project is our Got Water? campaign,” Stringer said. “This campaign allows us to use those big red Solo cups (trash cans painted red) to put water in, and have those at various events on campus to make sure students stay hydrated. This campaign is organized and ready to go. We plan on using it at events like IFC Row Week, Razorback baseball games in the Hog Pen, and at the student entry before football games.”
Stringer hopes that students will be receptive to free bottles of water and will incorporate water into their party plans. With this in mind, ROAR has partnered with the risk management chairpersons at fraternities and sororities.
“We plan on those RMCs being ROAR ambassadors in their respective houses, in order to spread the word on ROAR, and push our initiatives to them,” Stringer added.
In its inaugural year, ROAR has 80 members who have implemented numerous projects and has collaborated with several campus-wide organizations. One such collaboration is with Emery Gower, a wellness specialist for substance use who works in the Department of Wellness and Health Promotion at the university.
Gower teaches students on campus wellness skills to counteract drug and alcohol abuse, overeating, poor spending habits, negative relationships or other risky behaviors.
“My goal is to shift from an often preachy way of talking to students and what they are doing wrong to one that is more driven by what they are doing right and how they can do more of that,” Gower said. “ROAR fits with these goals because they are inspiring a group of students to help normalize the fact that you can drink responsibly and still have a good time.”
ROAR also partners with University of Arkansas Police Department, Greek Life, College of Education and Health Professions, University Housing, Counseling and Psychological Services, Department of Athletics and Walton College.
Working with campus-wide partners, ROAR has four main goals.
- Develop and deliver bystander intervention training.
- Create and disseminate marketing materials to educate students about alcohol use and abuse.
- Create awareness about resources available to students regarding alcohol education and abuse prevention.
- Decrease risky behavior involving alcohol.
The program targets all students at the university, but especially freshmen, student-athletes and members of Greek life. One way ROAR tries to educate students is through social media campaigns.
“There’s approximately 27,000 students at the U of A, and it’s hard for a brand new RSO to establish great awareness fast. This is why we participate in almost every outreach event we can, including creating our own,” Stringer said. “Social media is big for us. We recently had a social media giveaway where prizes included Uber gift cards and other cool stuff. That alone netted us nearly 400 more followers, and over 1,500 comments on the post.”
Working with University Housing, resident advisers in all dorms will receive bystander training, as will fraternity and sorority leaders, ROAR officers and other ambassadors. In fall 2018, ROAR held workshops during Freshman Business Connections classes, which are required of all freshman enrolled in Walton College. ROAR won the SOOIE Event of the Month Award for their involvement in these workshops.
“One of our student officers shared his own freshman testimony/story about his poor choices with alcohol and how this impacted him,” Velliquette said. “He had such a powerful impact being a senior in a fraternity – someone younger students could relate to.”
The group has also participated in Walton College’s Block Party event, held the first week of fall classes, to create awareness and recruit new members. In addition, they’ve hosted T-shirt giveaways in front of the Arkansas Union and held meet-ups at local stores such as Bearded Goat Apparel.
While ROAR focuses on peer behavior, Stokowski has utilized the grant for research opportunities.
“Countless studies have demonstrated that student-athletes, first year students and students involved in Greek life are at risk of alcohol abuse. Combined, these populations make up 40 percent of our campus. The CHOICES grant has allowed us to begin several studies looking at the campus culture regarding alcohol,” Stokowski said. “We have several surveys out right now inquiring about students’ drinking behaviors, attitudes towards drinking, as well as mental health. So, when all of the data is finally collected, it will be very cool to see the impact ROAR has had. We do know that alcohol related educational sanctions are down nearly 20 percent from last year to this year when we started ROAR.”
Just as Stokowski’s research relates to the ROAR grant, Velliquette pulls it into the classroom.
“We jointly discussed how we could use my classes to help come up with the name, logo and event ideas. We also discussed the idea of a peer-to-peer program with a registered student organization,” Velliquette said. “Starting ROAR the RSO has been much like starting a new business and it has been amazing to watch the students running it learn and grow!”
“It is so encouraging to see so many students want to be involved in efforts to help their peers understand the negative consequences of alcohol abuse, and the importance of having a life-long healthy relationship with alcohol,” Velliquette said. “I hope ROAR can help change the alcohol culture on campus and impact lives. I know it is a tall order, but even if it makes a dent in reducing alcohol abuse it is worth it.”
“One day, four brothers and sisters sat watching their favorite TV show. As they sat around the TV, a commercial came on playing the theme … ♪♬♩♪ Market-Os, Market-Os. Everybody loves Market-Os! ♪♬♩♪
“After the commercial ended, each of the four little Ps was so excited to tell the others what they thought was the most important part of marketing.”
And so begins the story of the four Ps of marketing – product, price, place and promotion.
In clinical assistant professor Rebecca Miles’ marketing management class, students study marketing strategies and tactics from a management perspective. They delve into products, pricing, promotion and placement. They also discuss product life cycles, ethical practices and market research.
To highlight these concepts, Miles had student teams write and illustrate children’s short stories focusing on these marketing elements.
“The main objective was to get them engaged with marketing concepts in relaxed, fun way then have them write about something they know for a target market who is very different from them,” Miles said.
Projects explained on an elementary school level the ideas of market research, marketing strategies or marketing ethics. In one such tale, “Molly Learns Marketing,” the main character – Molly – learns the six values marketing professionals embody: honesty, fairness, responsibility, trust, respect and citizenship.
As told by seniors Maddy Long, Julia Bianchi, Courtney Gray and Audrey Allen, the protagonist Molly learns these values through discussions with her mom, chores at home, expectations in the classroom, playing with friends, cleaning up the playground and taking care of her pets.
Several student teams wrote about lemonade stands to discuss product, pricing, placement and promotion. Other teams did it using chocolates, muffins sales or school parties.
To explore market research, the student team of Spencer Bone, Omero Rodriguez, Emily McAlister, Patrick Biggs and Roger Vang, demonstrated the concept through a young boy’s desire to become president of his fourth grade class. The main character, Cornelius, learned that he should gather information about the wants and needs of his class, such as extra recess time and pizza in the cafeteria, and then deliver those items.
Through simple story telling, students were able to describe and explain the basic strategies and tactics of marketing without using industry jargon or complex theories.
And with that in mind, every good story deserves a good ending.
“Finally Market Mom walks in and tells her four little Ps that product, place, price and promotion are equally important in marketing. They are all special in their own way, but they are stronger when they work together.”
Three outstanding alumni of the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas will be honored in April at the college’s annual awards banquet. Continue reading Three Alumni to Be Honored at Awards Banquet
Daniel Villanova observed college faculty life from an early age.
His mother taught criminal justice and took her students to state prisons to help them better understand the culture behind bars. His father taught management. Continue reading EPIC Spotlight: Daniel Villanova