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Marketing class wrestling with ways to help businesses market on the Net (Released: 4/30/96)

by Richard Veilleux, Office of University Communications.

STORRS, Conn. -- The World Wrestling Federation does it. Ford Motor Co. does it. Nike Inc. not only said "Just Do It," it did it.

Now, the University of Connecticut wants you or your company to do it -- marketing on the Internet. And, if the WWF's experience is any indication, any company worth its salt should attend -- and go on-line.

A May 8 workshop, "Marketing on the Internet," is being offered free, as a community service, by the School of Business Administration's Stamford campus programs. The 8:30-11:30 a.m. program will be held at the UConn Graduate Center, 2777 Summer St. in Stamford. The two- section workshop, one focusing on consumer marketing, the other on industrial or business-to-business marketing, will offer tips on strategies, product development, market research, customer service and more -- all available from the comfort of a work station.

The success of the WWF should help push companies who don't have an Internet or World Wide Web presence to get on-line. Since signing an agreement with America On Line last August, the WWF area has seen an increase in paid accesses of more than 250 percent, from 102,282 in September 1995, to more than 440,000 in March, said Kristin Moriarty, an associate with Markham/Novell, the federation's public relations consultants. The March visitors spent a total of 47,000 hours on line, she added.

Karen File, a UConn marketing professor who organized the workshop with six students enrolled in UConn's MBA program, said businesses can benefit from the event in several ways.

"Unlike most of the Internet seminars you hear about, we're not going to teach people how to set up a Web page or become on-line experts. We want to reach non-technical marketing managers and show them how powerful the Internet can be as a marketing tool and what strategies they can use to reach the consumer -- or other businesses -- once they've gone on-line," File said.

The sheer size of the numbers posted by the WWF should be enough to convince naysayers that there is an advantage to being on-line, said Robert Mitchell, an executive with TitanSports Inc., the parent company of the World Wrestling Federation.

"All the press releases in the world, all the flyers and posters and TV spots money could buy, would not have had the impact this agreement with America On Line has had," he said. "There are thousands of fans, every day, talking to and reaching out to thousands of other fans, building excitement, sharing news of the federation's tours -- places, dates, times. I don't know how else we could reach so many people so rapidly -- and so inexpensively."

Besides the session on using the Internet to reach consumers, which includes a talk by Mitchell, the workshop also offers participants a chance to discuss business-to-business communication on the "Net," featuring a morning talk by Nancy May, a managing partner with The Marketing Trust Inc. of Westport, a firm that develops new technology on-line and interactive programs, products and training courses, and May's partner, Debra Polydys. After her talk, the discussion will focus on market research, electronic commerce and product development on the Internet.

The event concludes with a reception, featuring demonstration rooms, vendor networking and presenter interaction.

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