Going Against All Odds at the Junior Marketing Challenge 2017

Article by Jyra Ang

Are you ready to go against all odds?

The Ateneo Junior Marketing Association (AJMA) and their co-presenter Coca-Cola FEMSA launched the very first Junior Marketing Competition (JMC) last October 14, 2017 at Warehouse Eight.

According to Project Head Marco Landicho, the purpose of JMC was for AJMA to strengthen partnerships and create sustainable relationships between other successful marketing organizations, namely the University of the Philippines’ Junior Marketing Association (UPJMA) and De La Salle University’s Junior Entrepreneurs’ Marketing Association (JEMA), through a mini case competition.

The Problem The program began with talks from Coca-Cola FEMSA Representatives Miguel da Silva and Ian Ples, who gave the participants a crash course on Trade Marketing. They both discussed the basics on the topic and gave examples on how to implement these concepts into business. Laura Cardona, the trade marketing manager of Coca-Cola FEMSA, then gave the participants the premise of their case study.

The case revolved around Coca-Cola FEMSA’s new product, Wilkins Delight, which was doing well in the market – better than the company was able to foresee. However, due to stock problems and having the wrong target market, selling the product proved to be more difficult than anticipated. The participants were challenged to revive the brand and its sales while maintaining the basic premise of the product. They had to figure out what went wrong, what could be improved, and what styles they could adapt. They were given a two-month period of recovery and a budget of 5 million pesos.

They used their newfound knowledge from the crash course earlier that day to develop step-by-step strategies on how to tackle this problem. With the grand prize of Php20,000 in mind, the participants met with their randomly chosen groups, and began working towards finding the right solution to the problem.

Most of the participants were off to a rough start. Unlike typical marketing competitions, JMC uses Trade Marketing as their focal point, a topic most were unfamiliar with. According to Ian Ples, a speaker for JMC and Coca-Cola FEMSA’s Indirect Area Manager, Trade Marketing is putting oneself in a position to win. One must understand the terrain, in this case the sari-sari stores, and balance the retailer insight and the consumer and shopper insights. To ensure the success of the strategy, it must comply with three criteria – availability, visibility, and irresistibility.

The Solutions

After three and a half hours of ideation and discussion, the groups were ready to present in front of the renowned panel of judges from Coca-Cola FEMSA. The judges saw the potential and innovation in all the groups’ ideas and presentations, and after careful deliberation, three groups stood out the most and won, not only the cash prizes, but also interviews to work with or intern at Coca-Cola FEMSA.

The first-place winners – Alvin Dela Fuente, Andre Sanchez, Daniel Zarraga Jr., Janella Santos, Jaochim de Jesus, Kim Gono-Gono, and Regina Tan – caught the judges’ attention with their innovative, yet feasible, idea in solving the issue.

After a rough and chaotic hour of brainstorming and sporadically throwing out ideas, the members finally found their rhythm and decided to split the tasks to each member – some would deal with finances, while the others focused on channels, and so on – then collate their ideas after.

From their initial brainstorm, they were able to create the “Rainbow Package” wherein all the flavors of Wilkins Delight –  Orange, Pomegranate, and Apple – would be available in each box, rather than one box containing a single flavor. This method would be implemented after a week of the sari-sari store owners buying a box of two different flavors and getting one free, increasing the availability of the product.

To tackle visibility, the group decided to have Wilkins Delight take the center stage in displays for the two months it was trying to recover. Keeping it simple, they also decided to give out colorful posters and flyers once a store has bought a case to further disseminate information on the product.

Moreover, they proposed a consignment deal between Coca-Cola FEMSA and the sari-sari store owners, wherein the latter is guaranteed minimal risk if not all bottles were sold in two weeks, having Coca-Cola FEMSA buy back two bottles per case bought. With menu boards, provided by the company, declaring the product at the top decorating sari-sari stores and colorful posters of Wilkins Delight and its price, the promotions certainly fulfill the aforementioned factor of irresistibility.       

The competition challenged each and every member, and allowed them to immerse themselves into the real world of marketing. Although merely college students, each participant showed great potential and dedication to become movers and shakers of society.

According to winning participant Alvin Dela Fuente, the idea of joining the competition was daunting at first, however, the opportunity to learn and grow in marketing outweighed his initial fear. Even if he entered the competition with little knowledge on trade marketing, he left fulfilled and experienced through the help of the Coca-Cola FEMSA representatives’ talks and his group mates.

We certainly cannot wait for the next Junior Marketing Competition to unleash one’s capability to go against all odds.

Photos taken from the Ateneo Junior Marketing Association

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