When W. P. Carey School of Buisness seniors Cassie Bromley and Ludwig Saint Fleur entered the judging room at the State Farm Marketing and Sales Competition, it was 4 p.m., and the panel had already seen 11 presentations. Saint Fleur and Bromley pumped music over a speaker and got the judges out of their seats, clapping and dancing, before presenting a marketing campaign that leveraged State Farm’s associations with sports and Gen Z’s connection to gaming and social media.
The result of the fun and light-hearted presentation? A first-place win, a $5,000 check and the experience of a lifetime.
“They knew they had to bring the energy, and they did,” said the team’s coach, Detra Montoya, clinical professor of marketing at the W. P. Carey School at Arizona State University. “Their idea was creative, and they delivered an exceptional presentation.”
Each year, State Farm invites 12 universities from across the country to participate in the competition at the University of Central Missouri. The competition held on Oct. 21 included two individual role-plays and a team presentation. For their presentation, Bromley and Saint Fleur developed an idea to target Gen Z customers, with a goal of creating brand awareness so customers would think of State Farm first when old enough to purchase insurance.
Their presentation, called #ItsGameTime, allowed students from Southeastern Conference Football universities to win the ultimate tailgate party by playing a game on their phone and earning points for their school. Bromley and Saint Fleur featured pop-up events at each university to promote the tailgate and weekly clues about a major performer. The participants with the highest scores won the party, which included a performance by the musician Drake. The campaign drew heavily on the participants’ social media and gaming use.
“We wanted something easy, something fast, but we also wanted something that created a network and connected the different students,” said Saint Fleur, a marketing and business law major. He explains that he and Bromley wanted the student participants, rather than marketing professionals, to promote State Farm’s product through connectivity and word of mouth.
“Gen Z is the most diverse and inclusive generation that modern marketers have ever had to engage,” Saint Fleur said. “The old days of market segmentation targeting different demographics are all getting bundled into just one, especially because people are so connected. You don't need to reach that many people anymore for the word to spread.”
The biggest highlights of the competition for Bromley, a marketing and sports business major, include connecting with the country’s top sales students and State Farm executives. “I was able to become confident when selling and learn to work under pressure," she said. "I had never participated in a sales competition before this semester, so I was able to learn so much about sales in the corporate world and develop my sales skills.”
Both Bromley and Saint Fleur say Montoya’s coaching was instrumental to their win. For a month before the competition, she met twice weekly with the students, then daily for the week leading up to it. In addition, local State Farm representatives Don Hagberg and Kristine Dunn provided them with an overview of State Farm and its insurance products.
Montoya says that previous competition participants have received internships and full-time positions as a result of networking. A big win, like that of Saint Fleur and Bromley, also reflects positively on W. P. Carey’s professional sales program, Department of Marketing and the five faculty coaches who travel with students throughout the year. Montoya has coached eight teams and said, “Coaching is a very rewarding experience, and it’s wonderful to see students like Cassie and Ludwig win big.”
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