Theory Meets Practice in Applied Marketing Course

“We talk about real-life marketing all day, every day," says the instructor of the in-depth class that is exploring marketing for startups.
Posted on January 30th, 2020 by

Marshall Lichty '99 talks to students in the Applied Marketing January Interim Experience class.

Marshall Lichty '99 talks to students in the Applied Marketing January Interim Experience class.

Applied Marketing is not your average Gustavus Adolphus College class, and that starts with the instructor of the unique January Interim Experience course.

“Marketing is a skill I believe every student who comes to Gustavus would be wise to get curious about,” said Marshall Lichty ‘99, a lawyer, entrepreneur, and consultant who is teaching the month-long class. According to Lichty, the changing face of the economy is providing new marketing opportunities, and developing an understanding and appreciation of the field will open many doors for careers for people who might otherwise think that marketing is not for them.

Marshall Lichty ’99, course instructor, lawyer, and entrepreneur.

“I love this course because it’s not a thing that I could teach anywhere else or any other time,” Lichty said.

He learned about Gustavus from his parents, who both attended the College, as well as reading the regular installments of the Gustavus Quarterly that arrived at their home when he was growing up. Lichty followed in their footsteps to Saint Peter, graduating with majors in communication studies and religion. He went to law school at the University of Minnesota and worked for two law firms before taking on entrepreneurship at EntrePartner Law Firm, LLC, where he served as a small business lawyer, chief operating officer, and owner from 2013-2018. In addition to teaching the January course, Lichty’s continuing connection with Gustavus includes serving as a mentor in the Gustavus Mentoring Program and as a judge at the Gustie Entrepreneur Cup.

The class, which focuses on marketing for startup companies, is a creative, project-based introductory course that gives students hands-on skills related to marketing, communications, and brand management. “I think marketing and startups are a really nice collection of two things that I get really passionate about. Startups are unique and interesting and entrepreneurship undergirds every profession and influence every person’s career,” Lichty said.

Students are currently working on a month-long capstone project creating their own digital marketing video project. Projects include everything from delivering free college courses to creating a burrito roller and orange peeler. The capstone project enables students to learn and understand their target market, the benefits of their product, and develop practical marketing skills by creating a video used to sell the product or idea.

“I want to do something creative and innovative focused on what consumers want—a service that satisfies people’s needs and closes the gap in marketing,” said Chao Yu ‘20, a communication studies major who has taken several management courses.

Students are also exploring how marketing presents itself in everyday life when companies or organizations advertise products on social media, billboards, and in stores. According to Lichty, marketing continues to evolve just as products and platforms do.

“I really hope people understand that marketing isn’t a boring old subject that only applies to creative people anymore. If you have curiosity about marketing or about entrepreneurship, or about anything in your life, it positions you to succeed,” the instructor said. “Any space that we can find places to teach entrepreneurship is critically important for the students.”

Yu looks forward to leveraging his skills to reach his aspirations of working in finance and marketing. “One aspect that really caught me is how we’ve been looking at marketing from a consumer’s perspective,” Yu said.

Throughout the course, Yu has gained the experience of looking at everything with a marketing lens and perspective. Not only is he gaining a better understanding of the consumer outlook, but the business and organizational side of marketing as well. “I’m looking forward to see how I came to use this class to contribute to what I can do in the future after graduation,” he added.

Gustavus’ January Interim Experience courses allow professors to teach what they’re especially passionate about and gives students the ability to dive deep into interesting and innovative topics.

“We talk about real-life marketing all day, every day. Each day I ask students on a scale 1 to 10 how curious they are about marketing,” Lichty said.

The alumnus entrepreneur hopes that students take one thing away from the class: “I believe that marketing isn’t about hope, I believe that marketing is about change. I think it’s about helping people get to a decision or a place in their life that is better for them. Marketing, done right, is helping people lead better lives.”


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


Comments are closed.