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A digital marketing project undertaken by University of Wisconsin Oshkosh students in the spring has earned recognition from the Mid-American Business Dean’s Association (MABDA).

Kathy Fredrickson

The assignment, called Small Business Marketing SOS, was put together by digital marketing lecturer Kathy Fredrickson in her 300-level digital marketing class. It picked up an honorable mention nod in the business innovation category. The work will be shared with deans across the Midwest at a MABDA conference later this month.

The SOS project connected students with small business owners in the early months of the coronavirus pandemic. The students were tasked with identifying weaknesses in the business’ digital marketing and offer solutions in 12 measurable areas. Students paired up with a range of businesses and nonprofits, including a salon, an auto repair shop and a chiropractic office.

“Digital marketing is a top 10 career and there’s no better way to prepare our students than to have them work with real clients to address their online deficits,” Fredrickson said. “We are providing high value for the students and for the small businesses they serve who have been impacted significantly by the pandemic. It’s the Wisconsin Idea in action.”

Ignacio Enriquez Jr., a 2016 UW Oshkosh grad who owns Ascent Consulting in Oshkosh, said he appreciated being involved and having a marketing student offer him ideas to step up his marketing game.

“My goodness, so much opportunity for improvements,” he said. “I would never have been able to accomplish any of it … I am truly learning every day.”

The project was launched in spring 2020 and will continue this semester. Fredrickson said with 64 digital marketing students, she expects to serve about 32 businesses, though even more have expressed interest. Twenty-one businesses were involved in the spring.

She also said her goal is to have this program adopted by business schools across the country. If just 10 percent of schools in the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business adopt this program, it could help upwards of 700 small businesses across the country.

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