There’s always something fun and intriguing about accepting a challenge. Testing your mental mettle to find out what you’re truly made of is always interesting. On average, entrepreneurs are driven by three characteristics: passion, creative vision and are risk-takers. This weekend, visionaries converged upon the Merchandise Mart to participate in a business design competition for a three-letter word: cold, hard cash.
From 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, November 7, students, coders, marketers, founders and entrepreneurs banded together in teams of three at Chicago entrepreneurial basecamp, 1871, to hash out a marketing campaign, as the William Wrigley Company is always looking for fresh ways to understand and reach new and existing consumers.
MARS IS Hack-a-Thon
The Wrigley Company was acquired by MARS and remains a successful global enterprise selling gum, mints and candy like Skittles and Starburst all over the world. MARS Information Services is looking to engage with the technology sector within Chicago and partnered with Business Models, Inc. to launch the hack-a-thon event on behalf of Wrigley. Business Models, Inc. is an international strategy and design company, headquartered in the Netherlands, with office locations worldwide.
The campaign rules
Registered participants were tasked with creating a platform that thought of the next wave of consumers while being tech-focused, while answering to important questions: Why should the Wrigley Company care? Why should consumers care?
Crafted content for the campaigns had to address entering into current tech markets, if not emerging ones.
In the end, each team had to pitch their crafted campaigns using websites, storyboards and post-it notes via a three-minute pitch (too short for most; eternal for others), before Wrigley Company and MARS executives. Chicago-based Business Models, Inc. executives ran courtesy interference by ensuring participants remained calm and encouraged, always answering questions throughout the day.
First and second prizes
The $7,500 grand prize winning team was led by Heather Johnston of the Milwaukee, WI-based Find My Spot, a web-based third-party provider to relocating professionals, relocation companies and employers to assist renting transferees.
The $2,500 second prize winning team was led by Vinesh Kannan, a computer science major at Illinois Institute of Technology.
All the better for the experience
Spending an entire Saturday crafting a marketing campaign that will never see the light of day – forever silenced by a non-disclosure agreement – had to have been fun, exhilarating, nerve-wracking… and disappointing. (When suffering loss, why lie?) But, when your team-mate’s advanced business and marketing acumen make your own skill-set seem you’ve just “leveled-up”, it certainly cements the entire experience as a worthy cause.
Besides, who isn’t drawn by self-improvement? Michael Dell once said, “Try never to be the smartest person in the room. And if you are, I suggest you invite smarter people … or find a different room.” The remarkable shows of talent who were also holed-up at 1871 on a Saturday, crafting real-world content was proof of excellent company.
To level up your own business or marketing strategies (and get clarity on crafting the perfect value proposition), visit Business Models, Inc. at www.businessmodelsinc.us . Relive the hack-a-thon experience via the event hashtag: #MarsHackathon .