The Southwest Marketing Advisory CenterLocated on the campus of Southwest Minnesota State University - Marshall, MN
OUR MISSION... To connect the demand for sound marketing strategies of America's
rural heartland with the proven skills of our finest marketing majors.
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SMAC is currently conducting 24 projects with a variety of clients, including AURI, Lyon County Library, and the 3D CNC. For a list of other SMAC clients, please refer to “The Clients” tab.
The process depicted here is the process followed by the majority of SMAC's projects. The projects are put into phases to assure accountability and reduce financial risk. Clients may quit after each phases if they so desire too. All of these steps are subject to change if a client has special needs/requirements. For more information about the process described here, please contact us.
Prior to beginning a project, SMAC meets with the potential client. We discuss your current situation and why the client has come to SMAC. After this discussion we create a proposal, which is sent to the client for their approval. This proposal outlines the phases of the project, fees, and conditions under which the contract will operate. Changes may be made to this contract after any phase has been completed to allow SMAC to better serve the client’s needs, should the research need a more defined direction. Once this proposal has been signed by both the client and SMAC's Executive Director, the project will immediately begin.
This is the secondary research phase. A secondary research guide will be created by SMAC to direct our data collection efforts. We will sift through multiple online archives and reference services, which are accessible, for data relevant to answering the research question(s) of the project. This step gives our staff a chance to get more acquainted with the projects market state. At the completion of this phase, a report of SMAC's findings will be given to the client. The client may then decide to end the project or proceed to phase II.
In phase II SMAC uses the information gathered in the project’s first phase to create a moderator's guide for use in focus groups. The guide will be approved by the client to assure the questions asked will provide beneficial feedback to their organization. Focus group participants are generally comprised of a homogenous population. These participants will be contacted by SMAC via telephone. Initially, one focus group will be held. If SMAC finds a high level of variance in the responses received, additional focus groups may be held. At the completion of this phase, a report of SMAC's findings will be given to the client. The client may then decide to end the project, or proceed to phase III.
In most SMAC projects, this is the final phase. This phase begins with a review of the findings from phases I and II. Using this information, SMAC creates a survey instrument to gather further information from the client’s consumer groups. This survey instrument will be approved by the client and also tested by SMAC for validity and clarity of survey questions. SMAC will then print, fold, and mail the number of surveys that has been agreed upon by the client and SMAC's Executive Director. As the returned surveys begin to arrive, SMAC will code the survey responses into our Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software. This software allows us to analyze survey responses and run cross-tabulations on the data in ways that other software cannot. This data will then be used to create charts and graphs, which will be utilized in the project’s final report and presentation.
Upon completion of our research project, some clients have asked we take the conclusions and recommendations made in our project and create for them a marketing plan, marketing materials, or a business plan. All of these tasks can be implemented for any project if the client would like to pursue the option and cost of additional phases.
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