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Richards marketing students operate like pros

Richards High School students check responses their smart phones during teacher Jamie Soderstrom’s marketing experiment. | Supplied Photo

Richards High School students check responses on their smart phones during teacher Jamie Soderstrom’s marketing experiment. | Supplied Photo

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Updated: February 28, 2013 6:03AM



After watching “Pay Attention,” a documentary on how teachers integrate technology into their classrooms, students in teacher Jamie Soderstrom’s marketing classes at Richards High School whipped out their smart phones for a contest.

They texted three questions to as many people as they could: How’s the weather there, what was the last thing you bought, and what did you have for breakfast? The class that received the most responses in the allotted time won.

By obtaining information without explaining why, students mimicked marketers who often secure personal data from consumers with little or no resistance.

“It helped them understand how to validate who marketers use for research because some consumers might not have any knowledge of the company’s product or service,” Soderstrom said.

At speed and with only the slightest effort, his students got what they wanted. After learning how marketers acquire information from consumers with virtually no scrutiny, his classes did the same thing.

The class receiving the most responses in 10 minutes won the contest.

“The goal is to have them understand that businesses retrieve mass amounts of information from us,” Soderstrom said. “We give them that information without hesitation or questioning.”

Many students said they loved the assignment and liked using smart phones in class. Many others emphasized the intrigue.

“(Marketers) use the Internet and sites like Facebook to find out what we like and who we are,” senior Sean Carpen said.

“We learned that companies collect information up front through surveys or focus groups,” Kevin Kozik said. “They also can do this discreetly by tracking buying history and other information available online.”

From Soderstrom’s course, students said they had developed greater awareness of tactics.

“I’m not as influenced as much as before I took this class,” Ted Groebe Jr. said. “I can see more clearly what a company is trying to do in its marketing.”

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