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Experiential Learning Center

Projects ~ 2007

John Deere

The U.S. Department of Interior funds the National Park Service and provides 15 million dollars for 27 National Heritage Areas. The Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area includes 37 counties in northeast Iowa and strives to tell the story of American Agriculture. The ELC team conducted a feasibility study for John Deere (www.deere.com/en_US/deerecom/usa_canada.html) on the expansion of the Silos and Smokestacks area to include ten northwestern Illinois counties. The study included:

  • Identifying and cataloging regional assets in the ten counties
  • Determining the potential economic impact in the ten counties
  • Recommending the inclusion of the ten counties

Opportunity International

Opportunity International (www.opportunity.org/) provides small business loans, training, and counsel to people in chronic poverty. The ELC team developed a model demonstrating the impact of donations based on historical data for the sales fundraising team. The ELC team also developed a sales presentation to demonstrate the difference donor contributions can make in the lives of poor families through microfinance.


McDonald's (www.mcdonalds.com) is one of the world's most well-known and valuable brands. With 30,000 local restaurants in more than 119 countries, McDonald's serves nearly 50 million people each day. The ELC team to investigated and provided recommendations for marketing to customers and employees through digital devices.

Anderson BMW, Volkswagen, & Mazda

Anderson BMW, Volkswagen, & Mazda (andersonbmw.reachlocal.net) in Crystal Lake, IL needed fresh ideas and insights to enhance an existing advertising and marketing campaign focused on very selective buyers. Two ELC teams presented recommendations for integrated marketing campaigns, web marketing, event sponsorship, dealership experience enhancement, social marketing and guerilla marketing.

Caterpillar Inc. - Market Analysis and Sales Entry Strategy

Caterpillar (www.cat.com) asked an ELC team to explore marketing opportunities in China for the 988H Large Wheel Loader. The team conducted primary and secondary research within three separate industries in order to provide the data requested by Caterpillar. In addition, four recommendations were made for Caterpillar to address in order to lower market entry barriers and increase sales of the 988H in China.

DeKalb County Rehab & Nursing Center

The DeKalb County Rehab & Nursing Center (www.dekalbcounty.org/RNC/RNC.html) provides short and long-term care to area residents. The facility is modern and is thought to have a good reputation within the community. The DeKalb County Rehab & Nursing Center asked an ELC team to conduct market research to assess the current perception of their services and develop a marketing plan and message. After conducting market research that included interviews, focus groups and surveys the team recommended:

  1. Incorporating a culture that is less institutionalized and more individualized.
  2. Providing adult day care.
  3. Continuous enhancement of the Alzheimer's unit.
  4. Enhancing the quality of the food to suit the resident's tastes.

FTD.COM - Point of Sale Software Market Research Study

FTD's Mercury Technology Division (www.ftd.com) asked an ELC team to identify the technology needs of independent florists. The team responded by creating and conducting two telephone surveys, analyzing the data and developing five recommendations for FTD to pursue.

McDonald's Corporation - Effective Knowledge Sharing Among Employees and Customers

McDonald's (www.mcdonalds.com) asked the fall 2007 ELC team to build on the ideas generated by the spring 2007 ELC team. The fall team included students from the College of Business, the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and the College of Visual & Performing Arts. The twelve students further developed three key areas for marketing to customers and employees through digital devices. They also produced a documentary on their experience. Click here to view the documentary.

The Solheim Cup - Market Investigation

Sponsored by the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), the Solheim Cup (www.lpga.com/solheimcup.aspx) is a biennial, trans-Atlantic event that pits the United States against Europe for three days of matchplay competition. In 2009, the Solheim Cup will be hosted at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, IL. The Solheim Cup staff asked the ELC team to investigate the perceptions of potential sponsors; make recommendations to increase sponsorship of the 2009 event; examine the non-golf club, golf enthusiast segment; and develop a campaign to attract them as spectators in 2009. The ELC responded with market research showing potential sponsor perception that the event did not have high enough viewership, a recommendation to pursue a major home improvement retail organization for sponsorship due to overlapping demographics, and an action plan for pamphlet displays to reach the non-golf club enthusiast.

Wal-Mart Realty Division - Create Integrated Appraisal System

The Wal-Mart (www.walmart.com) Realty Appraisal group asked the ELC team to automate their appraisal analysis system. In response, the ELC team created a central database linked to an intuitive web application. The new system allows users to enter appraisal data and generate reports with the information needed to complete an appraisal.

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