Marketing Research in Action: Students Assist Local VFW

Posted by on December 18, 2013

Students in Jason Kriegel’s Marketing Research class at Minnesota School of Business-Richield had the honor of partnering with the Richfield Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 5555 for a project this fall. The students worked with Post 5555 in order to answer this question: why is the VFW struggling to attract younger veterans to their services and facilities?

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Staff and students with Len Gudmunson and Val Olson of the VFW Post 5555

Students Eric Chan, Amin Dalmer, Bill DuFour, Matthew Prazak, Brenna Schmidt, and Christian Steinberg began the project by meeting with Post 5555’s gambling manager and member Len Gudmunson. Len shared his personal story of serving his country and what the VFW has meant to him. He also let the students know about the multiple services the VFW provides and the challenges they were facing getting younger veterans through the door.

In order to address the challenge of attracting younger veterans, the students first needed to find out what actual young veterans thought the VFW. They compiled a list of survey questions that looked at whether or not the veteran had a support system, how difficult or easy transitioning back to society has been, what activities they were interested in, and if they were aware of any services the VFW provided, among other questions.

The students identified 52 student veterans across the Minnesota School of Business-Richfield and Lakeville campuses. Utilizing Survey Monkey, the class submitted the questions to the student veterans and anxiously awaited their replies. In total, 17 completed surveys were returned.

Based upon the student veterans’ responses, the Marketing Research class calculated the statistical results, drew conclusions and made recommendations. They prepared a PowerPoint presentation and notes to pitch to the VFW.

The week before their presentation, the class practiced in front of instructor Jason and other MSB-Richfield staff members, who all provided feedback on the students’ performance.

After fine-tuning their presentation, the students pitched their recommendations to Len, Post 5555 General Manager Val Olson, along with other MSB-Richfield staff.

Len and Val seemed to embrace the recommendation that Post 5555 enhance the use of technology—specifically by keeping their website up to date and in using social media—to spread their message. The Post 5555’s representatives also noted the recommendation that they engage in new activities such as a fantasy football or co-ed sports league.

“We will be putting some of those things into practice,” said Len, who also thanked the students for their work.

Finally, after Len commented that no one at Post 5555 actually knew how to update their website, Jason connected Len and Val with IT Program Chair Richard Grieman in order to pick up some tips on website maintenance.

All participants valued the process and results of this project: truly an example of marketing research in action!

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