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London students craft marketing proposals with real teeth

Areas of Study , Coursework , Global , London , Marketing , Stories Stories from Abroad | Jul 17, 2012 |

The London offices of the Harley Street Dental Studio.

If you work for a marketing firm or ad agency, you never know what client might walk through the door. Do these people need help selling burgers? High-tech computer components? Face wash? Truly successful marketers have a strong enough skill set that they can adapt and respond to the needs of any client.

Students presently studying at Fordham’s London Centre are learning this first-hand. The client for this summer’s International Marketing course — for which students will act as hands-on marketing advisors — is the Harley Street Dental Studio.

Do the students know a whole lot about the business of teeth?

Perhaps not.

But it’s time to find out.

Last week, two representatives from Harley Street, senior partner Dr. Mark Hughes and Victoria Barrett, came to Heythrop College, where the London Centre is located, to brief the students on the dental market in the United Kingdom. They then told the Fordham class about a real-life marketing problem they are facing. The students will spend the five-week London session working in groups of three or four to propose legitimate, practical solutions to it.

Harley Street representatives give a presentation on their marketing needs to London Centre students.

“I think the exposure to something different — and the realization that marketing is applicable in the majority of organizations — helps the students,” said Graham Bolton, director of the London Centre and a professor of marketing himself. Working in a non-U.S. marketing environment expands their skills even more: They must learn not only about a new industry, but also about a target market with culturally different values, needs and perspectives than their own.

This summer project is an outgrowth of the longer-term Marketing Consulting course that fall-semester London students take. Each fall, the London Centre becomes a partner to a U.K.-based marketing firm, Oxxygen Marketing, and the students support Oxxygen director Max Jenvey in fielding the requests of one of his clients.

The next step will be for the summer students to undertake some serious secondary research — perhaps from published journals and reports that can guide them in proposing their solutions — or choose to do some primary research, such as interviewing prospective dental customers or current Harley Street patients. They will complete formal proposals by the end of the five weeks, and their work will be evaluated by Professor Bolton, Mr. Jenvey of Oxxygen, and the Harley Street staff themselves.

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