To the editor:
I'd like to thank Cazenovia High School teacher Christina New and her internet marketing class for the wonderful ideas they presented to me as part of a very clever class project. Mrs. New did an outstanding job in guiding her students to tackle the real life challenges of marketing a new business. In October 2012, I opened the Pewter Spoon Cafe and Eatery here in Cazenovia. Christina came to me with an idea: What if her students formed teams and presented marketing strategies that would help me expand the market for the cafe? It didn't take me long to jump at the opportunity.
After a few weeks of preparation, the class arrived at my real estate office (RealtyUSA) situated across the hallway from the cafe and we arranged the furniture like the board room of a corporation. Before the presentations began, I gave the students some pointers and said they'd be judged not only on the strength of their marketing suggestions, but also on the skill and persuasiveness of their presentations. As the current president of our local International Toastmasters Club, I admonished them to look me squarely in the face, try to avoid “ums,” speak clearly and sell me their ideas.
One by one the teams entered and greeted me in a professional manner and then proceeded to compete for the job of obtaining my “marketing account.” I was overwhelmed by their clever suggestions which included professional websites, tweeting, birthday specials, print advertising, radio ads and event specials. The great ideas flowed and I was so busy paying close attention that I wasn't able to take notes. The hardest part was that I was supposed to pick the winning team, but luckily that task was done for me. I did however pick one student to win a special Toastmasters prize for the most professional presentation.