UP Marketing students learn from the best – a WIN-WIN with Italtile

Posted on September 20, 2022

For the fifth consecutive year, Italtile – leaders in the retail of premium quality porcelain and ceramic tiles, sanitary ware, taps, bathroom furniture and accessories – collaborated with the Department of Marketing Management. The collaboration provides third-year BCom Marketing Management students with an opportunity to gain hands-on sales experience in the Personal Selling and Account Management module.
The semester kicked off with a special welcome event hosted at the Italtile Menlyn branch. Students received a challenge that had to be completed on the day, to prepare them for the exciting, yet unfamiliar field of personal selling. Italtile treated the students with a welcome box and coffee. 

Left: Students also had the opportunity to meet their tutor for the year, Rohma Hasan
Right: Students exploring the showroom in order to complete their first challenge

Italtile launched a social media competition for the students on the day, where each student was tasked to take a selfie and post it on social media. The student with the most engagement on their post received a Takealot voucher from Italtile. The winner of the competition was Kelly McVicar. Her post received 485 views, 112 likes and 13 comments.

Kelly McVicar's winning social media post 

Throughout the semester students participated in various challenges, exposing them to the different facets of selling, under the guidance of module lecturers Prof Melanie Wiese and Dr Danita van Heerden. Students had to role play by acting as a sales representative of Italtile faced with a difficult customer, use Italtile’s online visualiser to create a bathroom for a fictional customer and prepare for a sales pitch where they had to make sure they know and understand Italtile’s product range. 
The final exam for the module took place in the form of group presentations. Each student group had to work on an online and in-store marketing strategy, as well as a sales promotion strategy for a range of Italtile’s products, specifically focusing on biophilic design. Biophilic design is a prominent interior design trend that aims to bring nature closer to our homes and workspaces. The student groups stepped up to the challenge and performed very well. The exam panel consisted of the module lecturers, Prof Wiese and Dr van Heerden, an external examiner, Prof Wait from UJ, and three Italitle representatives, Nicole Russel, Jane Askew and Hayden Hochfeldon. The panel provided extremely valuable feedback to the students, creating a learning experience of note. 
The groups impressed with slogans such as “Love for Nature”, “Biophilic design – it’s not a trend, it’s a movement”, and “Feeling blue...go green”, while creative ideas such as an adopt-a-tree-campaign and mystery room showed that students could stand their ground compared to advertising agencies.

Group 6 ‘GO Green’: Luke Gibbon, Declan Scheepers, Braydon Mileham, Declan Gohre, Rochelle van den Berg, and Danielle Klopper received the overall highest mark in the exam presentation based on theory and practical application

Left: Members of Group 5 ‘#BeeBiophilic’ (Charissa Venter and Skye Bester) in action. They also won the ‘golden nugget’ award for the best practical idea
    Right: Group 13 with their ‘Live ZEN’ theme, Tamara Rungasamy, Nika Jurriaanse, Zanelle Moller, Rudy Venter and Thabiso Magubane

The exam panel with some of the students. Italtile representatives (front row) Jane Askew, Nicole Russell, Hayden Hochfeldon, and the external examiner, Prof Marius Wait from the University of Johannesburg

The module concluded with a prize-giving function held at Italitle Menlyn on 28 July 2022 to reward the top performers in the module and in typical Italtile style, they treated the students like royalty.  

Students with their Italtile hampers and caps at the prize-giving event


Winners of the best practical exam project, Team 4.  Prof Melanie Wiese (lecturer), Nicole Russel (Marketing Manager, Italtile), Anike van Vuuren, Danielle Marias, Gugu Khumalo, Sharlè Smit, Wanya Visagie, and Dr Danita van Heerden (lecturer)


Group 4 (Gugu Khumalo, Danielle Marias, Andi Niebuhr, Sharle Smit, Anike van Vuuren and Wanya Visagie) impressed Italtile with their ‘spectacular living’ idea and walked away with the award for the best overall practical exam project based on its industry relevance. The award for the top performer for the module went to Declan Göhre.

In addition, the function also celebrated the awarding of internships to three students, Thando Phehlukwayo, Kelly Mc Vicar and Favour Olumakinde. 

The students did not only learn a lot of practical selling skills but also had the wonderful opportunity to work with a market leader and luxury brand, Italtile.

The Department is already looking forward to next year’s project with Italtile.

Nicole Russel (Marketing Manager, Itatile), Declan Göhre (the top student in the module), Prof Melanie Wiese, and Dr Danita van Heerden (lecturers)    
Published by Nonkululeko Kubeka Moyo

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