Summer marketing class counsels local businesses on surviving the coronavirus

In addition to helping local businesses survive disruptions caused by the coronavirus, a main goal of the project was to strengthen relationships between the UH Hilo students and the community.

By Susan Enright

Students enrolled in this summer’s marketing course on retail and distribution (MKT 394) at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo offered themselves as a resource to local small businesses dealing with problems caused by coronavirus restrictions. Small business owners were invited to submit information about their marketing issues and then schedule a one-hour video conference session with the 24 senior students and instructor of the class Helen Tien, who also serves as the College of Business and Economics‘s academic and career advisor.

“Projects with real clients or companies are the ones you remember as a graduate, so thank you to the companies who opened their doors to our class,” says Tien. “This goes beyond COVID-19, we want to strengthen the relationship between our students and the community.”

The consultation was free and businesses were selected on the basis of how relevant their problem was to the course. The class received requests for help from Cafe 100, RK Woods, Augustine Guitars, Aloha Pawz, and Conscious Communities. Advice was offered about moving businesses online, finding out more about customers, analyzing marketing effectiveness, providing customer service, website feedback, and more.

“It was really awesome to work with Cafe 100,” says a student in the class. “They were very open to us looking at their operations and listened to our creative ideas for utilizing existing retail space. I felt like we all saw first-hand just how difficult it was to run a successful retail location.”

 

Story by Susan Enright, a public information specialist for the Office of the Chancellor and editor of UH Hilo Stories. She received her bachelor of arts in English and certificate in women’s studies from UH Hilo.