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Sparking the interest of millennials

Friday, April 29 2016 12:00am

Sales management students develop business plans to help IGS Energy connect with millennial consumers.

“The millennial generation, especially college students, forget they have a choice when it comes to their energy source,” said Meaghan Fair, student in the Sales Management course. “This made it really important for us to work as a team to create a business plan that not only communicated the benefits of IGS but really engaged our target audience – our peers.”

IGS Energy, a natural gas and electricity supplier, partnered with College of Business Sales Management students to develop business plans that addressed the generation gap in their consumer base. The students, working in groups, were challenged to think creatively when targeting a familiar generation in an unfamiliar industry.  

“The students took the challenge on to understand our company, our business and our goals,” said Doug Austin, IGS executive vice president.

The students applied classroom lectures and market research to develop business plans that included social selling strategies, brand awareness campaigns, campus representatives and even designing an Ohio University IGS Smart House complete with a nest device.

“I’m impressed by the hard work and dedication of my students this semester,” said Jessica Ogilvie, assistant professor of the Sales Management course. “It’s always incredible to have the opportunity to work alongside corporate leaders in the classroom, and my students really stepped up to the challenge.”

Sixteen student groups presented their business plans in front of IGS marketing and sales directors. Three teams were selected to present their proposals in front of the IGS leadership board at their headquarters in Dublin, OH.

“Each group put forward ideas that we felt had real world potential for implementation and showed creativity, original thought and execution,” said Austin. “We are thankful to have a partnership with Ohio University and to have the opportunity to engage with students in such an exciting forum.”

Students Ryan Cobb, Meaghan Fair, Haylie Fogt and Hannah Funderburg were recognized by IGS as the winning team in this friendly classroom competition. Their experience took them out of their comfort zone but helped them succeed.

“Presenting our project in front of the IGS leadership board was an amazing opportunity,” said Hannah Funderburg, senior studying promotional marketing and design. “I’ll admit, I thought I would be super nervous and intimidated, but the IGS team was so helpful throughout the entire process and really wanted to help our ideas become a reality."

The lessons learned from this partnership went beyond a classroom assignment. The feedback from IGS gave the students confidence in their work; a lesson all Business Bobcats can take with them after graduation. 

“I learned that you have to be confident in your work. When you stand by your ideas 100 percent, there is no reason to be nervous,” said Funderburg.