On October 28th 2013 two GCC Business students participated in the Buffalo Niagara Sales and Marketing Executives’ (BNSME) Student day in the field program. Alec Engel—a major in professional golf management—and myself (Fashion Business major) had the chance to network and ask questions during the 3-part program. First we went to Kegworks’ location in Buffalo to see a presentation by their marketing team; Next we went to Millennium Hotel and were able to sit down in small groups and converse with business professionals about their day-to-day activities; and lastly, we were treated to a networking dinner followed by a presentation on modern marketing strategies by personnel from the Manzella Marketing Group.
Our first stop at Kegworks gave a very unique view on one company’s marketing and retailing strategy. Kegworks, which now employs over 50 people began as a man looking to make it easier to make repairs on commercial restaurant and bar supplies and equipment through a one-stop online retailer. In March 2013, the first Kegworks Store was opened in Buffalo, sealing the deal that Kegworks was one business which successfully formed in the reverse order of typical retailers.
One employee at Kegworks that I found very inspirational and relatable was content writer/journalist Caleb Houseknecht. Like the company, Houseknecht is atypical in his career with Kegworks; he began working for Kegworks as the main social media writer in March of 2012, months before his graduation in May of that year. Houseknecht shared with us some of the insight he has gained so far in his career: sometimes you really learn things as you go, so you should always be open to new experiences. After answering many questions about various marketing methods Kegworks has used to get an edge up on competitors, director of sales, Jeff Conrad, was able to really sum it all up for us, stating, “If you don’t change, you don’t grow.”
For the next portion we met up with the rest of the students (half of us went to Kegworks and the other half to Rich Products) to have mini question answer sessions with professionals form a conglomeration of different industries. Some vital tips offered include:
- Meet customers’ objections with persistence and product knowledge
- Don’t be shy
- Be careful on Facebook (etc.)
- As a professional, it is most important to preserve your integrity and reputation
- If you want a job, keep sending your resume (every 3 months recommended) as a “gentle reminder” in case of openings
- Answer messages by the next day whenever possible; be prompt
With these wise suggestions in our heads, we headed to the dinner, where Manzella Marketing would be presenting. Before dinner we had time to mingle with the business executives and fellow students; many calling cards and handshakes were exchanged.
Manzella Marketing’s presentation served as a definite example of best practices for presenting. They covered many topics we have been learning in Professional Sales class, and how to put them into use in the real world. The presentation was interactive and included a great display of visuals, along with video clips and marketing samples they have used. With the conclusion of the presentation, we all said our goodbyes and began the drive home, our pockets full of new calling cards from potential employers, mentors, and connections.