NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Stephen F. Austin State University students in the Rusche College of Business recently provided feedback on a new sewing machine branding and marketing campaign while serving as focus group members for ABM International, a three-generation, family-owned-and-operated manufacturing company of industrial quilting machines that has expanded into the home quilting market with a line of longarm quilting machines.
Students enrolled in management and marketing courses taught by Dr. Marlene Kahla, SFA professor of marketing, and students in SFA’s chapter of the American Marketing Association met with ABM International representatives and provided feedback on various sewing machine packaging options.
According to Theresa Currey, ABM International’s marketing associate, the company was utilizing the focus group’s feedback as a tool to get into the minds of millennial shoppers and find out what they are looking for when purchasing a sewing machine.
“We are looking into several demographics to find the best avenue, or to see if there is any avenue at all, into the current sewing machine market, as it already is heavily dominated by several other brands,” Currey said.
According to Kahla, the student’s participation not only helped the sewing machine company, but it also provided an opportunity for students to practice the skills and concepts they learned from their recent coursework.
“This project enabled our students to take concepts in marketing research and product and marketing development, and apply them to real life,” Kahla said.
ABM International was pleased with its experience working with the focus group and will utilize the information gathered from SFA Rusche College of Business students.
“With the help of Dr. Kahla and the AMA chapter at SFA, we felt the focus group was a big success. We walked away with some great information and a better, albeit surprising understanding of the thought process of this generation of buyer,” Currey said. “We are incredibly grateful to SFA for allowing us to meet with its students and for offering its students’ valuable class time to help ABM International in our efforts.”