Mount Union College Students? Marketing Projects Benefit Alliance Community Hospital

April 22, 2010

Several Mount Union College students conducted an extensive marketing analysis of Alliance Community Hospital with the objective of finding a way to increase revenue.

After receiving a phone call from Stan Jonas, the CEO of Alliance Community Hospital, William Schweizer, assistant professor of accounting, economics and business administration, asked several business students if they wanted to participate in an extra-curricular project doing a turnaround branding study for the hospital.

There were two teams of students who were involved in the project. Team one consisted of seniors Josh Faltot and Mindy Oberlin and juniors Daniel Luketic and Justin Shaub and team two included seniors Nick Massella and Rod Strata, junior Joyce Nieb and sophomores Lindsey Coyle and Angela LoBue.

Shaub said one of the main goals of the team project was to find a way to implement Planetree, a patient-centered service program, into the hospital's offerings. LoBue said ideas such as baking bread in the hallways, aromatherapy, massages, pet therapy and 24-hour visitation are all services that stem from Planetree.

'Planetree is a way of providing hospital services to make it not feel like a hospital,' LoBue said.

In order to determine whether Planetree was a viable marketing tool, team members gathered data about Planetree and the Alliance hospital and community. Members were responsible for researching financial information, producing public relations materials and investigating how other hospitals have implemented Planetree.

'We hope that our suggestions will show them how valuable networking with community organizations, institutions and focus groups can be for the Alliance Community Hospital reputation and marketing efforts,' Luketic said.

'The hospital can take the ideas they heard from both teams and combine them into one marketing plan that will be more beneficial for the hospital,' Oberlin said.

Oberlin said they were able to present their final product to the CEO of Alliance Community Hospital, the three team leaders, professor Schweizer and several others.

'The next day Stan Jonas, the CEO of the hospital, was wearing our 'Ask me About Planetree' buttons to the Richard Smucker lecture,' Coyle said. 'That was a big accomplishment for the team.'

Emily Kobak, who works in public relations for Alliance Community Hospital, said the hospital employees appreciate the students' hard work.

'Both teams did a great job,' Kobak said. 'They took the project and made it their own. We are excited to implement their ideas into our own marketing strategy.'

Kobak said she is glad the students took advantage of working on this project.

'This was not only a great opportunity for the students as an educational experience, but as a chance to further their own careers as well,' Kobak said. 'It was a pleasure working with them.'

Schweizer said he was also pleased with the work of both teams.

'They both took very different approaches to the challenge and came up with very different ideas for implementation, but both emphasized a strategic solution'be the best at what you do'differentiate yourself from the competition,' Schweizer said. 'I believe both teams represented the College in a positive way, gave sound business advice to the hospital and supported President Giese's strategic imperative to enhance the visibility and reputation of Mount Union College.'

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