Rochelle Webb wanted to do something a little different this year with her “Entrepreneurial Marketing” classes. In the past, she typically has students develop marketing strategies for a local business or start-up to help generate revenue growth. This time, she chose to align with the College of Business Administration mission to be a force for good in the community by partnering with the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Los Angeles.
Webb sits on the advisory board for the Make-A-Wish chapter and was able to gain the partnership of CEO Mike Kallhoff to collaborate with her classes. After receiving a detailed brief from Kallhoff, student teams got to work developing ideas and creating marketing campaigns to raise funds, generate awareness and bring hope to children suffering from critical illnesses.
“Make-A-Wish is always looking at ways to engage new donors,” said Kallhoff. “Having LMU students dedicate a semester toward helping us in this key area has shown us there is so much more we can do to engage new audiences.”
When Webb first announced the assignment to her students, she recalls seeing their faces light up with excitement. “There was a palpable energy each week as they pushed themselves harder and harder because they really wanted to help these kids,” she said.
Along the way, students learned the entire process of creating a marketing strategy – from understanding the target market to conducting research on demographics and behaviors to getting the message across to consumers. Students were given real money from the CBA Student Experience Fund which helped inform their strategy, objectives, KPIs, creative and execution.
“Entrepreneurial marketing means you have to be a little bit scrappier because you don’t have access to resources, money and people,” said Webb. “You have to think more like an entrepreneur and either teach yourself or find affordable and efficient ways to get the work done.”
A serial entrepreneur herself, Webb has launched several start-ups while building an impressive resume as a global marketing consultant and brand strategist. It’s no wonder LMU hired her as a clinical professor in 2019 to teach entrepreneurship and marketing classes. Her vast experience working in the field allows her to bring wisdom and real-world scenarios into the classroom. In fact, she often turns her classroom into an office-like environment where students attend status meetings, interface with clients and present their work to industry representatives.
“I like to constantly keep my classroom fresh,” she said. “It’s important for students to learn how to use marketing regardless of the challenge or proposition they’re facing. In this case, nonprofits tend to have less sophisticated marketing efforts due to low resources and the fact that budgets are always linked to fundraising.”
The student teams were up for the challenge and came up with several unique approaches to raise money for Make-A-Wish. One team sold handmade greetings cards during the holiday season. Another team created a custom NFT for Make-A-Wish. Another set up a table at LMU’s Wellness Wednesdays where people could paint rocks for Wish kids as they are recovering in the hospital. The final step was putting together an executive summary and presenting their campaign results to Kallhoff and Make-A-Wish board members. In the end, students raised an incredible $7,958 for the Greater Los Angeles chapter.
“Seeing the creativity the students brought to this project, both in implementing old ideas with a new twist or creating something completely new, gave me a sense of all the great things that can happen with this new generation,” said Kallhoff.
Senior entrepreneurship major Madison Tchejeyan added, “This project was the most hands-on and immersive experience I’ve had during my time at LMU. Rather than just discussing a hypothetical business idea, we had to apply those skills in real life and come up with a way to make money. The project required us to do the actual business planning, marketing, financing and pitching. It taught me a lot about pivoting, being flexible, taking charge – lessons I will carry with me throughout my business endeavors.”
Webb felt the students did a tremendous job on the assignment and was very impressed with their results. But there was something even more real and tangible tied to this exercise which she believes provided the biggest lesson of all.
“This project resonated more with the students than any other semester because it was tied to making a difference in the lives of these kids,” she said. “And that’s where the real value came in.”