Marketing honours students get a “mental” workout

Posted on October 19, 2020

The CIT Performance Institute challenged the BCom Honours (Marketing Management) students to develop a unique inbound marketing campaign that would lead to an increase in members. What made this challenge unique, was not only that Claudia Baggeröhr and JT Botha are themselves honours graduates from the Department of Marketing Management, but that they were part of the first honours group to experience the apprentice-style approach employed in the Marketing Management honours programme in 2012.
 
CIT Performance Institute presentation. JT Botha (left) and Claudia Baggeröhr (right).
 
Team ‘The Yard Agency’ (winners). From left to right: Caylin Fortuin, Melissa Da Gama, Alfred Letuku, Jessica Storey
 
Claudia and JT form part of the CIT Performance Institute team and are incredibly passionate about both the fitness centre and marketing. Having recently overcome various challenges experienced by fitness centres during the time of the Covid-19 pandemic, Claudia and JT emphasised that one should always “expect the unexpected”, a fitting quote that has been passed down from their Marketing Management honours year at the University of Pretoria.
 
Team ‘QuadraStep’ (second place). Top row: Abdul Aziz Mahomed, Mahle Sijovu. Bottom row: Melissa O'Donovan, Lebogang Seakatsie
 
CIT Performance Institute is a fitness centre that offers a variety of fitness and training solutions, ranging from group fitness classes (The Yard Athletics) to traditional Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training, female fight fitness training, kids MMA (mixed martial arts) and competitive MMA training. CIT Performance Institute strives to “help individuals enhance their performance, build lasting strength and fitness, and create a profound sense of confidence”.
 
CIT Performance Institute presentation. Centre: JT Botha giving the students a virtual tour of the CIT Performance Institute. Bottom corner: JT Botha (left) and Claudia Baggeröhr (right).
 
The Marketing Management honours students were virtually introduced to the client via Zoom on the 7 September 2020. JT “showed” the students around the gym via a video, explaining how the gym works and all the different components to the gym, such as The Yard and the cage. Their presentation gave the students insight into the client’s needs and how to structure the campaign. The main purpose of the task was to attract new clients to the CIT Performance Institute, bearing in mind the extremely competitive fitness industry and the requirement to lessen the intimidation barrier that many potential clients feel when entering an “MMA” gym. These barriers needed to be broken down by emphasising that anyone and everyone is welcome at CIT.
 
Team ‘Muscle Marketers’ presenting their campaign to the client. Claudia and JT enjoying the presentation and commending the team on their effort to “dress up”.
 
Top row: Elria Kruger, Dr Michelle van der Merwe, Oshai Moodliar. Middle row: Nadine de Bruyn, Beatrix van Niekerk, Claudia Baggeröhr (CIT Performance Institute). Bottom row: Marketing assistant
 
The student presentations took place the week after recess, which meant everyone was refreshed and ready to present their campaigns with enthusiasm. The students presented their final projects on 30 September 2020 to the client panel – Claudia and JT – and the facilitator/lecturer – Dr Michelle van der Merwe. Due to the nationwide lockdown the presentations were done virtually via Zoom, a platform with which students have become quite comfortable, and a method of presenting that has equipped them for the global changing trends in the world of work. The students' recommendations were presented to the client, who assessed their suggestions and provided feedback to assist with future client challenges. The CIT Performance Institute panel mentioned: “We could really see that you did great target market research and took the time to understand our target market", which reflects the student teams’ dedication to the assignment.
 
Choosing the winning teams was a tough decision, as all teams had snippets of wonderful suggestions and creative ideas. The winning teams chosen were:
 
Joint third place: Mixed Marketing Arts (Kyle Williamson, Carla Vos, Natalie Sithole, Tarah Ferreira) and Adrenaline (Daniela Schutte, Kayla Strydom, Nicole Pattichides, Tanaka Vhumbunu).
 
Second place: QuadraStep (Mahle Sijovu, Abdul Mahomed, Lebogang Seakatsie, Melissa O'Donovan).
 
Winners: The Yard Agency (Caylin Fortuin, Alfred Letuku, Jessica Storey, Melissa Da Gama).
 
Team ‘Mixed Marketing Arts’ (joint third place). Top row: Kyle Williamson, Dr Michelle van der Merwe, Carla Vos. Middle row: Tarah Ferreira, Natalie Sithole, Claudia Baggeröhr (CIT Performance Institute). Bottom row: Marketing assistant
 
Team ‘Adrenaline’ (joint third place). From left to right: Daniela Schutte, Kayla Strydom, Nicole Pattichides, Tanaka Vhumbunu.
 
Student teams noted that this project was unlike previous client challenges, as CIT Performance Institute is a small stand-alone gym and not a large organisation such as those that students have worked with previously. The client gave the students the opportunity to work in a fun, challenging and informative environment, which not only taught them about marketing a small business, but also about fitness, strength training and MMA.
 
Reflecting on the challenge, students commented that the assignment contributed to more than simply a mark for the semester. It also gave them a real-life marketing problem to solve, and experience on how to market a fitness company, which any and every marketing student appreciated.
 
A quote from one of the student teams: “All in all it was an absolute pleasure working with CIT Performance Institute, as many valuable lessons were learnt.We hope CIT finds our input valuable”.
- Author Department of Maketing Management
Published by Liesl Oosthuizen

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