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Canfield & Tack Teams Up with Local RIT Students for Capstone Project


From left to right: J. Chris Bowen, Chris Bondy (bottom), Mitchell Morgan, Kat Zic, Abigail Austin, Emma Strongin.

When Canfield & Tack was looking to increase their digital marketing efforts, they chose a unique method: students. Chief Technology Officer, J. Chris Bowen, engaged four fourth-year Media Arts and Technology students from the Rochester Institute of Technology to develop an execution plan for Canfield & Tack’s marketing tactics.

“Working with the students allowed us to bring some formalities to our execution strategy and stay current with our KPIs,” said Bowen.

The professor of the course, Chris Bondy, reached out to local businesses to identify those interested in working with students on a semester long project. The projects ranged from digital marketing strategies to a marketing solution centered around a product launch. Once projects and companies were set, students could pick which they were most interested in working with. Abigail Austin, Emma Strongin, Kat Zic, and Mitchell Morgan all chose to work with Canfield & Tack because of their interest in both digital and traditional marketing. In their major of Media Arts and Technology, their primary focus has been on the print industry with a few courses in digital marketing. Canfield & Tack provided the perfect marriage of the two branches.

The first few weeks of the project were devoted to planning. The team developed their project using a one page project manager, headed by Austin, and outlined the scope of their project. Over the course of the next ten weeks, the team met with Bowen weekly to learn about Canfield & Tack and discuss strategy. While Canfield & Tack already had a marketing plan, there was one piece they were struggling with: the execution.

“This was the first time we got to work with a real company and get feedback from people who are in the industry,” said Strongin. “We can sit through marketing classes and write plans all day, but presenting our ideas and efforts to clients is a whole different story.”

The team developed four customer personas for Canfield & Tack based on the buyer’s journey and tailored each part of their strategy to a specific persona, ensuring their content would land in the right hands. Throughout the course of the project, the team created a comprehensive social media calendar, customer satisfaction survey, direct mail strategy, eNewsletter strategy, networking events, and metrics to analyze their efforts.

“I gained a lot of confidence,” said Austin. “As project manager, I was nervous in the beginning, but we figured it out and saw the reward at the end.”

Their project concluded with a 20 minute presentation in front of their peers, professors, and local business owners on the RIT campus, detailing the project and strategy they had spent the past semester developing. In the perfect culmination of digital and traditional, they printed their marketing plan on a high-quality booklet at their on-campus press.

“It was really neat to have a physical manifestation of all the work we did,” said Zic. “Seeing our project printed out in the booklet was very satisfying for me.”

The most rewarding part of the experience? “It’s rare for students to gain real world experience like this,” said Bowen. “They were immersed in the Canfield & Tack brand, came to Canfield & Tack events, and got their hands on tangible feedback from industry professionals. What college students wouldn’t love that kind of exposure?”

About Canfield & Tack

Canfield & Tack is Rochester’s premiere full servicing high quality commercial printer, serving local businesses through direct mail, printing, and finishing services. Canfield & Tack takes pride in being the go-to partner for print innovation. By leading the industry in what’s next, they create newer and better value for their clients, while continually raising the bar on quality. Whether the project is large or small, simple or complex, clients can always count on Canfield & Tack for the deep expertise that only comes with decades of experience, along with efficient, high impact work.

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