Marketing Class Teams Up with Local Start-Up to Promote Innovative Children’s Toothpaste

The College of Business’s unique student learning experience is focused on promoting hands-on and interactive activities. Not only is a senior-level Applied Business Experience lab course working this fall with GE Lighting on a class project to recommend the "next big thing" in light bulbs, but marketing classes are connecting with the business community in a real-world project with a local start-up that sells a children’s cavity-fighting, bubble gum flavored toothpaste across the U.S. Students in Dr. Steve Koppitsch’s Introduction to Marketing Management (MKT 2010) classes are collaborating with Branam Oral Health Technologies, located in Oregon, OH, to develop a marketing campaign to promote a toothpaste product that helps prevent tooth decay in children.

Branam™ All Natural Xylitol Toothpaste for kids and toddlers is made with FDA-approved Xylitol, a natural alternative to sugar found in sources such as corn, birch trees, fruits and vegetables that is clinically proven to inhibit the growth of cavity-causing bacteria. Dr. Stephen Branam, a leading pediatric dentist, is the creator of Xylitol Toothpaste and is founder of Branam Oral Health Technologies, Inc. According to Dr. Branam, 44 percent of children suffer from dental disease before kindergarten and his toothpaste cleans teeth naturally and is clinically proven to remove cavity-causing bacteria by 72 percent.

Students in Dr. Koppitsch’s classes listened to Mick Janness, president of Branam Oral Health Technologies, describe the toothpaste product and the goal of the marketing campaign. Janness wants the students to suggest ways to generate buzz about Branam’s product among parents and get more pediatricians and pediatric dentists to recommend the toothpaste to their patients. He is looking for strategies involving digital media, print media, crowdfunding (supporting Branam’s mission to improve oral health via sites like SeedInvest.com or IndieGoGo.com), and philanthropic activities similar to Tom’s Shoes (a one-for-one concept where a pair of shoes is donated for every pair purchased).

A written proposal describing the company’s target market, positioning strategy and a promotional strategy is due at the end of the semester. Prior to that, students will complete an assignment using market research to gain a better understanding of Branam’s customers, the competition, and its place in the market.

"With this project, students will be able to apply the marketing concepts they are learning in class to an actual company that is making real decisions to improve its market position. This is a unique experience that will be extremely valuable to these students as they begin their business careers," said Dr. Koppitsch.

Branam’s president shares the professor’s perspective about the value of this project. "Branam Oral Health is excited to partner with the BGSU Marketing Department in this capacity. We are confident the students will provide a plethora of fresh ideas and concepts we can immediately deploy into action."