Students in the Ohio State chapter of the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) recently returned from the 2014 National NAMA Conference, held in Jacksonville, FL, feeling inspired by the many learning opportunities offered at the gathering.
Through participation in this undergraduate professional development group, students hone their skills in market research, business writing, and public speaking. The students spend the months prior to the conference creating a fictional product to market, which they present a marketing plan for at the conference as part of the Student Marketing Competition, competing with teams from universities across the country.
AEDE Agribusiness and Applied Economics major Ashley Christman shares her experience.
By Ashley Christman
Ohio State’s 2014 NAMA Team created a gluten-free pasta product, Superiasta, with a pleasing taste and texture making it suitable not only for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, but their families, too. The product contains amaranth, quinoa, and a soy flour blend for optimal consistency. The ancient grains provides consumers with a nutrient rich product containing protein, calcium, iron, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids. Superiasta lacks the gummy and gritty texture of competitive gluten-free pastas due to this unique flour combination. It is not only nutritious, but the texture is similar to traditional pastas making it delicious for the whole family.
The product was developed and marketed to families that contain a diagnosed celiac disease sufferer or those with gluten intolerance. The team focused on marketing the following three qualities of Superiasta: taste, nutritional benefits, and convenience for the family.
The team developed the product and business plan. As part of the competition, we wrote a five-page executive summary and 20 minute presentation to market the product to a panel of judges.
The team presented to a panel of three judges during the first round of the NAMA Marketing Student Competition. Their score was comprised of the written summary, oral presentation, and ability to answer questions. During the luncheon with all of the teams, the semi-finalists (top 12) teams were announced and Ohio State was selected to move on.
In the second round, the panel of three judges only scored the oral presentations and the Q/A. Unfortunately, that was the end of the road for Ohio State’s team this year. During the remainder of the week, students were able to watch other presentations and attend the convention breakout sessions, giving them an opportunity to network with other students and business professionals.
I found this opportunity to be the most valuable part of my time here at Ohio State. It allowed me to work together with other students outside of the classroom giving me some very beneficial problem-solving and communications skills and knowledge that I will use regularly when I begin my career. Our team really believed in our product, but more importantly, in each other. After we walked out of our first presentation, we were all ecstatic because it went perfectly! All of our hard work paid off and we were all extremely excited to find out that we were chosen to move onto the semi-finals.
I want to give a HUGE thank you to our advisors Dave Hahn and Bob Hothem. They spent months aiding and teaching us simply because they believe that the NAMA competition is an incredibly beneficial opportunity for students. They brought in industry professionals to critique our paper and presentation multiple times prior to the competition. I would recommend this opportunity to any student because it is an incredible learning opportunity.
May 9, 2014