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Frostburg State University Marketing Students Create Plan for Allegany Museum
05/26/2015

Frostburg State University Marketing Students Create Plan for Allegany Museum
From left, Frostburg State University marketing students Katie Morgan, Colby McGill, Mary Kehoe and Alex Diehl, present their marketing plan on how to boost revenue and visitation at the Allegany Museum in Cumberland.

The Allegany Museum in Cumberland could see more visitors and dollars come through its doors thanks to a study from Frostburg State University marketing students.

As part of a capstone course, MKTG 469 Marketing Plans Development, undergraduate marketing majors team up to take on clients from the community that receive free research and advice after a semester’s worth of work.

Alex Diehl of Grantsville, Mary Kehoe of Columbia, Colby McGill of Frederick and Katie Morgan of Great Mills presented their plan focusing on the Allegany Museum, which is housed in the Gov. William Donald Schaefer Building at 3 Pershing St. in Cumberland. They were one of several teams who presented plans to businesses in the spring semester, which had students solve real-world challenges while helping community businesses.

“It gave us real-life experience with a real client. We got to meet with the client outside of class and do all of this research outside of the classroom,” Kehoe said. “It was really based on what we learned up until this point.”

Among the highlighted suggestions the students presented were to:

  • Increase awareness of its third-floor ballroom by booking after-hour events with the Chamber of Commerce for free to entice business owners to rent the space during the week.
  • Create special events, including a Night in the Museum sleepover or team with local appraisers for a local version of “Antiques Roadshow.”
  • Engage the public more on social media
  • Educate the public more that the museum has a $2 million endowment campaign to pay for operational costs.

“We really want to help them,” Morgan said.

Dr. Julianne Ferris, chair of the museum’s endowment campaign and museum advisory board member, appreciated the students’ efforts and partnership to help boost heritage tourism.

“We’re very pleased the University and its students worked with us on that,” Ferris said.  “We think this kind of work has potential to be successful for both Frostburg State University and Allegany Museum. I think some of the suggestions they made can be incorporated.”

The museum’s executive board will receive the report and summary and decide whether to implement any of the findings, Ferris said.

Kehoe said she owes it to FSU for giving her a world of experiences she didn’t think was possible, including an internship at a museum in Dublin, Ireland, where she managed a product launch for L’Oreal cosmetics.

“I love Frostburg more than anything. It’s really become my home. Every opportunity I’ve gotten here is beyond my expectations,” Kehoe said. “I’ve been able to do things I never would have thought I could do.”

Diehl hopes she can return to Allegany Museum one day and see some of her team’s suggestions implemented.

McGill, who hopes the museum holds more events, loved the flexibility to run with a project.

“It was nice to have the freedom to do whatever we wanted and to have that support system if we needed, but ultimately it’s our project. It’s not anyone else’s,” he said. “It was nice to really be trusted with responsibility and to represent the University through the community.”

Dr. Carol Gaumer, professor of marketing, said students act as consultants in the capstone course.

“They really have to pull everything they learned in marketing together, go out and meet the clients and have professional interactions,” Gaumer said. “They also have to learn how to treat somebody’s business very carefully.”

If local businesses are interested in participating in a future marketing plan consultation, contact Gaumer at 301-687-4052 or email cgaumer@frostburg.edu.

Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 12 institutions of the University System of Maryland. FSU is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland. For more information, visit www.frostburg.edu or facebook.com/frostburgstateuniversity. Follow FSU on Twitter @frostburgstate.

For further information on this release, contact:

Office of News and Media Services
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-3171
Fax: 301-687-7589
E-mail: news@frostburg.edu