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High school students compete in McHenry County College marketing challenge

At the McHenry County College 2018 Marketing Challenge, top marketing students from area high schools presented ideas for Classic Cinemas to generate a larger audience.

After surveying 200 high school students and community members through social media chat sites, a team of Cary-Grove High School students created a plan to attract more 16- to 30-year-olds to get out of the house to watch movies with their friends at Classic Cinemas.

Marketing prowess earned Cary-Grove Team 1 first place in MCC’s 2018 High School Marketing Challenge, where 70 students from seven area high schools competed to create the best plan for Classic Cinemas, this year’s sponsor.

Woodstock High School placed second, and Cary-Grove Team 3 placed third in the competition, which was sponsored by MCC’s business department.

Students researched demographics, psychographics and conducted a SWOT analysis to determine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for Classic Cinemas, which has 14 theaters in northern Illinois. Competitors were judged on company knowledge, creativity, visuals and media strategy, including the use of social media targeted at young adults, high school students and families.

Students’ ideas to attract audiences included enhancing the name recognition, expanding social media advertising, themed events – including discounted date night and a school spirit night – and ordering refills on a phone app.

MCC business instructor Sherry Ridge said the goal of the competition was to expose high school students and future business leaders to marketing in real-life experiences and have fun.

“We added more judges who are professionals in the marketing field, who gave the teams expert feedback,” she said. “We were very impressed with the ideas, presentations and professionalism of the students. We’re happy to collaborate with the high schools, and look forward to next year’s competition.”

The event also gives high school students the opportunity to network with business leaders, other area high school students and faculty, as well as MCC instructors and students.

Wally Marsh, Patrick Miller, Collin DiMaggio and Jonathan Norman made up the champion team. They took home a traveling trophy, and each team member received a certificate for one free three-credit class at MCC.

“I learned how to make a good presentation, how to be professional, and I learned what marketing is,” Miller said.

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