The Strategic Marketing Business Consulting Project requirements were introduced to Class 2014 just 10 months ago. The focus of the twelve-week Strategic Marketing course by Professor Guy Laflamme was to create marketing plans for seven not-for-profit or charity organizations. The project culminated on week twelve with a written recommendations and presentation to respective clients.
The choice of the client organization for Formula One was easy to identify given Danielle St-Aubin happened to be the Vice-President Donor and Relations and Communications of the Ottawa Hospital Foundation. The close engagement with the client enabled the team to understand both the marketing issues and opportunities from the client’s perspective. After countless engagement, the focus of the marketing project was determined.
The team would provide a structured marketing plan for a unique race within the event to increase the overall fundraising proceeds. Rattle Me Bones, with its distinguishing feature of running skeletons and a funky logo, is in its 19th years of operation and had raised more than $1 Million in fundraising efforts. The team’s marketing objective was to come up with creative ways on increasing the overall fundraising proceeds.
After extensive research and analysis, the team provided succinct recommendations that included a product strategy, a promotional strategy, a pricing strategy, and a sponsorship strategy. Within the product strategy the team had recommended an expansion to the race categories to include a ‘Zombie Run’. This clearly aligned with the Halloween theme of the event and it was a race that was successful in other cities such as Montreal and Toronto. The presentation and report were presented to The Ottawa Hospital Foundation in April 2013.
On the day of the spooky-themed event, the Telfer Executive MBA community joined in on the Rattle Me Bones festivities. The Telfer Executive MBA Program was a proud sponsor of the event and many candidates took part in the various races including members of Formula One team. In addition, several of the Telfer Executive MBA alumni had volunteered with the logistics of the day while enduring the colder temperatures that swept through Ottawa.
As the Formula 1 team looked around, they realized that the planning committee implemented many of their recommendations in addition to the Zombie Run.
At the end of the races, it was proudly announced the hard work of The Ottawa Hospital Foundation had paid off in the 2013 race preparation. The 20th annual Rattle Me Bones event had raised a record $115,179 dollars and in its first year in Ottawa the Zombie Run had sold out months in advance of the race, with more than 500 people ‘running for their lives’ on Sunday. A great success for the organizers and an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment for the Telfer Executive MBA Formula 1 team as they experienced the positive results of a report they had submitted as a part of their Executive MBA program.
It was a fast paced speed this morning - Sunday October 27th. My youngest daughter Dalys had been running a slight fever over the night, but she was as excited as my eldest, Miran, to get into her running costume for the 20th Annual Rattle-Me-Bones run, organised by the Ottawa Hospital Foundation in the effort to raise funds for Osteoarthritis/Bone Cancer. I knew the The Ottawa Hospital Foundation as one of my Executive MBA teammates, Danielle St-Aubin, works for the organization. In addition The Ottawa Foundation was also our not-for-profit organisation for which the Executive team, Formula 1, had worked with on Strategic Marketing Business Consulting Project during our 2013 winter semester.
It was only a high of 6 degrees today so I had to find a way to dress my children in their costumes while fending them against hypothermia- Ottawa parents can relate to this strategy, as we tend to encounter the same thing every Halloween. This meant that there was not going to be a Mavis Dracula or sleeveless Batgirl today. I had pulled out two wicking layers and a thermal layer for myself to wear, however up until last night I was still trying to figure out a costume. I giggled when I noticed that a Star Trek Engineering & Support badge was just the Asics icon upside down- but it gave me an idea! I printed an image of the Star Trek Badge onto iron-on paper, and then ironed it on to Iron M’s blue Asics running shirt and voila, I had Spock’s oriental replacement: SPIC. Add a bit of Harry Potter make-up and I also had Vulcan eyebrows. My costume was ready to go!
The drive to the Ottawa Hospital was a nail-biter, but not quite as I had remembered driving the same route the day I first gave birth to Miran. Traffic was not moving, however we were able to park at the former military medical facility- where I proud displayed my Support The Troops” magnetic car decal We high-tailed it across the field, past the Ronald McDonald houses, ran by Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, through the Ottawa General Parking lots, and into the warmth of the Tim Horton’s nestled in the Critical Care Ward of the Ottawa Hospital. We had 12 minutes to spare, although it seemed as though I had just ran a race! I headed to the start line for the 10km run. My husband, Daniel, and my girls saw me off. They would be running in the 2km distance run that started thirty minutes after my start.
Today was my eldest daughter’s first race with a timing chip. According to Daniel Miran had made us proud on the 2 km run. Unfortunately her racing timing chip never picked up, so she did not have a start or finish time registered to her name. However, Daniel had run alongside of her with our youngest in the stroller and his time as just over 12 minutes. I was very impressed that my 48” cutie had ran over just over 6 minutes per kilometer. Miran felt challenged for her second race, 1.5km, but her second wind drive kicked in and she finished the race.
I crossed the finish line maybe 15 minutes after Miran had completed her race. With The Telfer Executive MBA Program sponsoring the day’s events, it was a great feeling to see the Executive MBA Director Sophia Leong, and her sons volunteering by handing out the race medals as well as seeing my teammate, the inspirational Danielle St-Aubin, participating in phone and live interviews about the Rattle Me Bones event. I texted two other team mates, Danielle Matthews and John Texeira, who were heading for breakfast with another of our classmate, Connie Yuan, as well as my husband, who I was trying to locate. I found the family warming up in the Tim Horton’s corridor. Dalys looked somewhat miserable and was still running a mild fever. I looked at Dalys and asked her “Wanna go home?”
She responded, “No, I want to run with you!”
My heart fluttered, as I realized stubbornness is actually genetic.
Thirty minutes later I was once again I lined up at the starting line, this time with Dalys, to complete the 1km run. It was more challenging than her first run in July but very understandable given she was wearing more clothing and not feeling 100% this time- but something about running this race had healed her. As we crossed the finish line, we did not receive a medal but an even better prize: Hallowe’en Loot Bags!!! Oh, did my youngest scoop up her Frankenstein bag with enthusiasm! She was so excited about lollipops and chips that I think she shook her fever away. She even shared half her stash with her elder sister.
It was just as heart-warming to hear the announcer state that the day’s events had raised over 115 thousand dollars. This was so amazing and it helped the foundation reach a total of 1.1 million dollars raised over 20 years. They then acknowledged that the 5 KM ‘Zombie Run’ had sold out! I couldn’t believe it! It had been our Executive MBA teams recommendation to create the Zombie Run. Looking around I realized that The Ottawa Hospital Foundation had also followed several other of our recommendations as well.
What a perfect morning! Our team marketing project proved to be a great success; our young girls had started and finished all of their races, and my husband, Daniel, was a great supporter for all of us in enduring the chilly Fall morning.