Professor Bunch’s Marketing Strategy Spring 2023 course worked on a project for the Salvation Army of Dalton/Chatsworth. Students met for a presentation and tour of the Salvation Army in Dalton given by local community leaders who serve as volunteers with the Salvation Army. Following the presentation, students began creating the marketing campaign to define the mission and vision of the Salvation Army and detail the value of the Salvation Army within the community. WSOB Students researched and analyzed local and national statistics/ demographics to determine the target audience and how to best communicate with that audience. Partnerships with local churches, schools, and community service groups in the area were also highlighted within the project to gain more donations and create more volunteer opportunities.

Using analyzed data, students captured who the target audience for the Salvation Army Thrift Store and identified the reasons why customers choose to shop at the store. The students created an initiative explaining why people shop at thrift stores in general with reasons highlighting need, uniqueness, durability, and sustainability. The presentation showcased the importance of donating and how to increase donations to the Salvation Army. Students analyzed competitors in the area and provided side-by-side comparisons for product placement/displays, customer accessibility, product categories/variety, pricing, and promotion.

The project scope included helping The Salvation Army thrift store identify its target audience and engage with donors and volunteers through social media. Students created a detailed marketing plan including basic tips and tricks, a posting schedule outline, and general goals to be achieved through social media both for the main mission of the Salvation Army and the thrift store. This content strategy was created to provide information and advocate, while also promoting volunteering and donating. The marketing campaign highlighted suggestions, including future plans to promote the Salvation Army through digital social media platforms and non-social media channels.  

In late March, students presented a 100-slide marketing plan to Salvation Army Leaders resulting in a marketing guide to achieve marketing milestones. Tom Bundros, member of the Board with Salvation Army, expressed his thanks to the class, “I wanted to say thank you for the wonderful work your marketing class did for the Salvation Army.  I finally had the chance to read through the entire analysis booklet your group did and I was overwhelmed with the quality of the work.  It is obvious that you took our request very seriously and dedicated significant time resources to research, view local competitors, perform analysis, develop conclusions and make recommendations.  The zeal of yours students when making their presentation to us the other week was incredible as evidenced by some of your students coming up to us at the end of the class and volunteering their services. Again, thank you and your class for such an excellent job! Best regards, Tom Bundros”

Salvation Army’s Tom Bundros and Bryan Hair with WSOB’s Professor Cortnee Bunch and Dean Marilyn Helms