UW Ag marketing team garners national honors

Wisconsin State Farmer

MADISON – For the second time in four years, the University of Wisconsin-Madison student chapter of the National Agri‐Marketing Association (Wisconsin NAMA) took home first place honors at the NAMA Student Marketing Competition April 10-13 in Kansas City, MO, defeating 29 other teams from across the U.S. and Canada in three rounds of competition. Awards were presented at a formal ceremony on April 12 at the conclusion of the competition.

For the second time in four years, UW-Madison ag marketing students brought home first place honors at the NAMA Student Marketing Competition.

During the past 14 years under faculty leadership of Sarah Botham, Wisconsin NAMA has earned nine top four finishes, including four Reserve Championships and in 2016, another National Championship. The competition, hosted by the National Agri‐Marketing Association (NAMA), is part of its annual professional conference. Each competing team developed a full‐scale marketing campaign and 20-minute presentation for an agricultural product, following the same principles used in the professional marketing and business world.

“Twenty-two students from a variety of majors within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) worked diligently throughout the 2017‐2018 academic year to develop the five‐page executive summary, full-scale marketing plan and competition presentation,” Botham said. “They created a solid plan and presented it beautifully, sustaining the long tradition of excellence expected from students involved in Wisconsin NAMA.

Alison Wedig, a senior majoring in Life Sciences Communication at UW‐Madison and marketing team leader, recognized her team members for their commitment, work ethic and creative ideas in earning this high honor.

“Our team chose a unique product that focused not only on returning strong value to a producer, but this year solving a problem for individuals with swallowing disorders. The best part was watching my team learn together and have the chance to see our hard work pay off as we presented, confidently answered questions and were recognized with first place honors.”

The marketing team worked with Barneveld-based Botham Vineyards and used patented technology from Swallow Solutions, a UW-Madison research spinoff company, to develop the product, a ready-to-drink thickened wine for people with swallowing disorders, Wedig said. The accompanying marketing plan included market research, competitive analysis, business proposition, an integrated media launch plan and three-year roll-out, financials pro forma and methods for measuring the success of the plan against benchmark goals.

Seventeen students and Botham traveled to Kansas City for the annual competition. As a student organization at UW‐Madison, involvement in the NAMA chapter and its marketing team provides professional connections and real‐world experiences in agri-marketing and business. Wisconsin NAMA is housed in the Department of Life Sciences Communication in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at UW-Madison.