AMP Spotlight

Social entrepreneurship is a common theme throughout Fisher's undergraduate and graduate curricula, and it's part of what makes the Fisher experience meaningful for students. And when students have opportunities to interact with leaders of businesses that are concerned about more than the bottom line, it enhances their educational experience.

The Fisher Association of Marketing Professionals (AMP) recently held its second-annual Marketing for a Better World event, a day-long seminar that featured guest speakers, roundtable discussions and networking opportunities that centered around marketing that makes a difference.

AMP President Holly Honroth said the student organization created the event in 2015 to showcase companies and executives who seek to have a positive impact on the world.

"Our world, especially for people of similar age to those of us in business school, is seemingly focused on doing something for the greater good," Honroth said. "This changing cultural phenomenon can be infectious if you are surrounded by others who care about making a difference like you."

AMP Marketing for a Better World

Todd Smith, director of brand and innovation marketing at Kellogg's, leads the company's marketing efforts for its frozen vegetable business, including the Morningstar Farms division. He spoke to the group about marketing a product that promotes sustainability and some of the challenges the Morningstar Farms brand faces with convincing consumers that they can enjoy sustainable, ethically produced plant-based meals that taste good and provide proper nutrition.

Although Morningstar Farms is the market leader in the frozen vegetarian food category, Smith said that 80 percent of its customers aren’t vegetarians. The No. 1 reason why Morningstar Farms customers purchase the product is the desire to consume less meat for health reasons. Other reasons include the growing trend of consumers eating meals that are humane toward animals, leave less of an environmental impact by not using factory farms, and the rising cost of meat as worldwide demand increases.

Jared Golden, co-founder and president of Pear, spoke about how his company helps businesses compete through the use of community marketing. Pear helps its clients connect with consumers through community groups, such as youth sports leagues.

Golden said the average community group is composed of 38 supporters. These groups — along with their individual members' larger social networks — connect to brands through Pear. When a group organizer, such as a youth sports league coach or a parent, signs up with Pear, the company matches them with sponsors that provide group members with discounts in addition to donations to the community-based organization. The more connections or shares from the groups via social media, the larger the donations to the community-based organizations.

Amit Agrawal, a second-year MBA student, found the AMP event to be particularly informative from his perspective as a non-marketing major. He also appreciated the value of the event’s networking opportunities.

"The event was an interesting way to learn more about how companies are reaching customers," Agrawal said. "And it was an opportunity to learn about the issues that are emerging within marketing."

In addition to community involvement opportunities throughout his Fisher studies, Agrawal said he has benefitted from the numerous extracurricular opportunities, such as Marketing for a Better World, that have helped enhance his Fisher MBA experience.

"They mentioned in the presentation that during college, students get focused on academic issues, but in the real word you're going to work on very practical issues," Agrawal said. "Events like this help give you that type of real-world experience ahead of time and further augment your MBA experience."

The audience also heard from Pat Ross III (MBA '14). Ross serves as the deputy director of field operations for Team Rubicon, a non-profit that unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders in emergencies around the world.

Ross spoke of the two-fold benefits that Team Rubicon provides — veterans find fulfillment in putting skills that were essential to their military experiences to work; and those affected by natural disasters are able to benefit from the work that Team Rubicon volunteers provide in their communities.

Ross discussed the growing popularity of the Team Rubicon organizations and the challenges associated with meeting this demand, as well as the demand for Team Rubicon's services in locations around the world. Team Rubicon has sent volunteers to respond to disasters on five of the seven continents.

The event concluded with roundtable discussions that engaged attendees with representatives from non-profits throughout Columbus, including Kaleidoscope, the Ronald McDonald House, Green Columbus, the National Kidney Foundation of Ohio, the Ohio Psychological Association, the National Hemophilia Foundation, A Kid Again and Charity Newsies, among others.

Honroth hopes that events such as Marketing for a Better World provide students with a different perspective on marketing. She also said these type of events demonstrate to students the versatility of a Fisher education, which provides the fundamental skills that can benefit all types of companies — large and small.

"I think life after graduation is yours to choose coming out of business school," Honroth said. "Whether you choose a small company or a Fortune 100 company, at least for me, making sure your values are aligned may be more important than it once was."