BW DMC student consultants present a social media plan to Berea Police

Small and medium-size businesses in Berea and beyond are benefiting from the DMC's expertise, while students gain real-world experience.

Student-powered Digital Marketing Clinic making real-world difference

February 9, 2017

BW DMC student consultants present a social media plan to Berea Police

When Business View magazine looked at economic development in the City of Berea, the town’s economic development director, Matt Madzy, was quick to point to student-powered resources at Baldwin Wallace University as a key to success.

Madzy applauded BW’s Digital Marketing Clinic (DMC) for "providing…small and medium-size businesses with needed services, while simultaneously giving students real-world experiences." Part of this win-win partnership allows Berea businesses to apply for reimbursement to cover clinic expenses through Berea economic development grants.

Targeting real-world business objectives

BW student consultants arrive at the Union Club in Cleveland for a client meeting"The DMC provides paid, experiential learning opportunities for our students so they can stand out in the job market," said Tim Marshall, director of the DMC in BW’s School of Business. "The second part of our mission is to help local businesses thrive in the marketplace."

To achieve that goal, the DMC matches teams of highly skilled students majoring in marketing, public relations and graphic design with local businesses.

The teams provide marketing communications support, as well as an "actionable, comprehensive, digital marketing strategy" to "tackle real-world business objectives," according to Marshall.

Clients from the Police Department to the C-Suite

DMC client projects in the fall 2016 semester included an analysis of social media best practices in law enforcement for the Berea Police Department, as well as a communications consultancy with Northeast Ohio International Business Network (NEOIBN), a prominent group of C-level executives spearheading global business development in Cleveland. Other fall clients included an ACT-tutoring program founded by a BW alumna, a local salon and campus neighbor St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Student consultant David Brubaker leads a training session for a #BereaBizNight eventFor the spring 2017 semester, the DMC has 25 paid students serving six clients.

In addition to targeted client projects, the DMC also stages #BereaBizNight small business development seminars on a variety of topics. At a fall session, for example, business and computer science major David Brubaker '17 and marketing and finance major Tessa Louche '17 led a training session for more than 40 regional small business owners on social media management.

Producing powerful outcomes for student and client

The proof of the collaboration is in the outcomes for both students and small businesses. Marshall says the DMC, like many experiential learning opportunities at BW, provides expertise and value to the community, while building resumes and bridges for students.

"Students get a connection to the broader, off-campus community that they wouldn’t have had," he said. "We can talk about digital marketing in class all day long, but to give students the opportunity to interact professionally with external stakeholders is magic."

Next #BereaBizNight

The clinic has scheduled its next free #BereaBizNight event for March 29, 2017, which just happens to fall on National Mom & Pop Business Owners Day.