Five Diploma in Business Administration (Marketing Management Option) students from Singapore Polytechnic (SP) were certainly not barking up the wrong tree when they presented their marketing plan for a pet concierge service called The Pet Keepers at the 5th Annual International Marketing Competition held in October 2008.
As a matter of fact, Ang Chze Wee, Lim Qin Yi, Soh Chay Ying, Yvonne Chua and team leader Sebestian Soh outperformed teams from Nanyang Technological University, the East Asia School of Business, the Chartered Institute of Technology and Nanyang Polytechnic, to emerge as the champions in the local category.
The team clinched the Gold Award at the competition organised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Singapore, with their proposal for a one-stop, door-to-door service aimed at pets. The team's presentation highlighted the convenience that The Pet Keepers would provide to busy pet owners by offering a range of services—from a simple shampoo and trim, to a cremation and funeral service—all in one place. Not only that, the team also outlined how they would promote the business through a variety of different media platforms and events to reach target audiences.
The team's marketing plan drew praise from the judges at the competition, who remarked that the advertising and promotional programme was well-conceptualised and that the market positioning and targeting was realistic for the Singapore market. One judge admitted to being so impressed that he would actually be prepared to invest in The Pet Keepers as a business start-up.
The team had worked with their advisers, Mr Chin Kin Yong and Mr M. Thiyagarajan, for four months to perfect their business model and marketing plan, as well as their presentation for the Finals.
Sebestian said that the competition was a major eye-opener for him and his teammates. "Taking part in such an international competition makes us realise where we stand in the international arena. We are humbled by what students from other institutions, both local and foreign, are capable of and I think we achieved our victory by a very close margin. This attests to the excellent training and education we receive at SP's School of Business which enables us to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the best from other institutions."
The team members also made many new friends at the competition when they got to interact with students from foreign institutions like China's Jiangsu Institute of Economic and Trade Technology, Thailand's Assumption University, the University of Wales, India's Global Indian International School and Vietnam's Hanoi University of Technology.