University of Guelph students win marketing competition

For the first time in nearly 20 years, the Guelph student chapter of the Canadian Agri-Marketing Association (CAMA) has won the student competition at the annual National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) student chapter marketing competition.

Each year, 20 to 30 teams from universities and colleges in the U.S. and Canada participate in this competition, where they present a comprehensive marketing plan to bring an agricultural product to market to a panel of expert judges. Students follow the same practices and principles used by marketing professionals to develop their plans. This includes identifying a potential product not currently available in the market, naming the product, conducting market research, identifying target markets and performing an in-depth financial evaluation of the product over a three-year period, from development to market launch. 

A key component of the product must be that it has a benefit to farmers, says Guelph CAMA student chapter president Faith Fullerton.

This year, the University of Guelph CAMA team developed a marketing plan for ImmunoGo, a novel yogurt product made from milk from dairy cows genetically selected to produce milk with higher levels of immunoglobulins, antibodies that provide enhanced immunity. The team consulted with Semex to determine the feasibility of their idea for immune-enhanced milk, as well as a dairy processor.

The team developed a marketing plan for a novel yogurt product that offers immunity benefits to consumers. Artwork and packaging design was a requirement of the marketing plan, and was completed with the assistance of 31st Line Strategic Communications, a marketing communications agency based in Embro, Ont.

Students from the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) can apply to be on the team each September, and then work together for eight months to develop a written plan and refine their presentation. The biggest challenge this year, says Fullerton, a team member for three years, is that all meetings and practice sessions had to be conducted virtually over Zoom, “but we pulled it off.” 

The team only met once in-person, to take a socially distanced photo.

Fullerton credits faculty advisor Dr. Mike Von Massow, an associate professor in the department of Food, Agriculture and Resource Economics, for his expertise in consumer habits and for making the team develop and practice every possible question they could face from the judges’ panel weeks before the competition, held April 20-22.  “This really differentiated us from the competition,” says Fullerton.  

Fullerton says the University of Guelph CAMA Student Chapter is a great opportunity for students to gain practical experience in agricultural marketing and for professional development, which includes networking with industry professionals.

The Guelph CAMA Student Chapter competed against 23 other teams in this years’ competition.

The 2021 Guelph student CAMA chapter team consists of:

Faith Fullerton (4th year Bachelor of Commerce, Food and Agricultural Business student)

Joe Rastapkevicius (2nd year Bachelor of Science student)

Hannah Symington (4th year Bachelor of Science in Agriculture student majoring in Crop Science)

Janelle Gras (4th year Bachelor of Science in Agriculture student)

Michael DeKort (3rd year Bachelor of Commerce, Food and Agricultural Business student)

Liam Bracken (4th year Bachelor of Science in Agriculture student)

Emma Richards (5th year of Food and Agriculture Business (Co-op)) 

Radine Kruisselbrink (4th year Bachelor of Commerce student, majoring in Food and Agricultural Business)

Hannah McMullin (4th year student in the Bachelor of Commerce, Food and Agricultural Business program)