By Amanda Gubbins
From left: Kyle Dreifus, Karina Pacheco, Alex O’ Farrell and Erica Kisler (not pictured: Maritza Rodriguez), students at California State University, Fullerton, are working on a marketing case study with SEMA during the spring 2016 semester.
SEMA has released a new marketing case study for use by colleges and universities around the country. This spring, the association is piloting the program with five California State University, Fullerton students, who will analyze the annual SEMA Ignited event and present a targeted marketing proposal to SEMA staff at the end of the semester.
Kyle Dreifus, Erica Kisler, Alex O’Farrell, Karina Pacheco and Maritza Rodriguez—all in their final year of undergrad studies—are enrolled in a capstone program through PRactical ADvantage Communications—an on-campus agency that gives advertising, entertainment, tourism communication and public relations students work experience for school credit. SEMA is one of four clients that students are working with this spring.
“We are really pleased to be working with SEMA,” said Professor Pete Evanow, co-director of the agency. “I've worked in the auto and motorsports industries for more than 30 years, and SEMA is a leader within it. This is a real honor to be able to have our students work behind the scenes with executives at the association in helping them on a specific project. It's this kind of practical experience that our students desire as they prepare for their careers once they graduate.”
SEMA partnered with Cypress College for a similar program last year and now the association is ready to provide the materials to other schools.
“The SEMA Ignited marketing case study is another great example of how the Association engages the next-generation of automotive professionals. By strengthening our partnerships with schools, SEMA can better address the Career Path initiative by increasing awareness for automotive-related jobs and creating a talent pipeline into this exciting industry. The partnership with Cal State Fullerton’s PRactical ADvantage Communications program highlights the diversity of career opportunities available in the automotive aftermarket and the next wave of professionals who will help keep our industry strong,” said SEMA Chairman Doug Evans.
The project is distilled down into a few downloadable documents, which include all of the resources necessary to complete the assignment: SEMA Ignited history, industry fact sheets, marketing goals and more. According to Vice President of Marketing Ira Gabriel, who authored the study, future case studies may be added to other fields in addition to marketing.
“This program focuses on PR and marketing, attracting those students who might not have considered the automotive industry as a career. Job opportunities in the specialty-equipment market are vast, and we can benefit from what these students have to offer,” he said.
Director of Education Zane Clark added, “We’re looking forward to building relationships with additional schools and giving more students a taste of our industry.”