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Student Experiences

BYU Marriott Marketing Students Finish First in Blip Case Competition

For three undergraduate marketing students from the BYU Marriott School of Business, the best part of winning Blip’s eight-month case competition wasn’t taking home the impressive $20,000 prize. Rather, the highlight was making a difference in the community by helping a local nonprofit achieve its vision.

The winning team from BYU Marriott, featuring (from left to right) Lauren Bushnell, Ben Daniel, and Marissah Hannig.
Photo courtesy of Marissah Hannig.

The first-place finishers consisted of 2022 marketing graduates Lauren Bushnell, from St. George, Utah; and Marissah Hannig, from Pleasant Grove, Utah; along with marketing senior Ben Daniel, from Apex, North Carolina. The team crafted its winning marketing strategy for Friends of the Children’s Justice Center Salt Lake County, a nonprofit organization that supports victims of child abuse.

This case competition was an exclusive partnership with BYU Marriott, lasting from January to August 2022. Blip partnered each of the school’s 10 teams with a nonprofit organization, and each team’s performance was judged on research, strategy, execution, and feedback from the nonprofit. To assist the students, Blip offered several training sessions where industry experts and Blip employees, including the CEO, instructed students on billboard design, nonprofit collaboration, and consulting. The length, depth, and hands-on experience made the case competition a full-on practicum.

“BYU was the first university we implemented the practicum with,” says Aspen Egan, manager of people & culture, at Blip. “We wanted to provide real-world experience to top-performing students, and this was the best place to start. We knew we were going to get high-quality work, and we were blown away at what the students produced.”

Each party involved—BYU students, Blip, and the nonprofit organizations—benefited greatly. “This was a phenomenal collaboration,” says Hannig. “Blip gave each team $5,200 of monthly funding for billboards, and we essentially offered months of free consulting. Most importantly, all of this went directly toward increasing brand awareness for the nonprofit organizations involved.”

For many of the students, working with a nonprofit became the highlight of the competition. "We were so blessed to partner with Friends of the Children’s Justice Center,” says Bushnell. “This organization had a strong vision but didn’t know exactly how to realize those ambitions. We crafted a totally in-depth marketing campaign to help, and I enjoyed providing something that would have taken the nonprofit a lot of bandwidth and time to do alone.”

Billboard ad created by the winning team for Friends of the Children's Justice Center Salt Lake County.
Photo courtesy of Marissah Hannig.

The team members note that the unique nature of this case competition contributed to a more comprehensive campaign. Instead of a weekend gig, the competition offered the team months to dive deep, think through, and implement high-caliber strategies. Daniel says that the team’s integration of so many marketing elements was exactly in line with the style of BYU Marriott.

Thanks to their diverse set of skills, the trio of students on the winning team helped bring the nonprofit’s ideas to life. “I worked on creating a more cohesive social media plan,” says Bushnell. “Ben had experience in Google ads and fully set up Google Marketing Suite for the nonprofit. Marissah dove into billboard creation and implementation.”

In the end, everyone involved agreed that the practicum was a success. “The nonprofits were so grateful for the immense value the students brought in such a short time,” says Egan. “In aggregate, the students provided an impressive 101% year-over-year (YoY) increase in donation volume, 22% YoY increase in awareness, and 30+ million net new impressions for the participating nonprofits.”

Egan says that Blip was so pleased with the outcome that the company plans to scale the practicum nationwide, partnering with other universities and nonprofits.

“Blip organized an incredibly practical opportunity,” says Daniel. “The company didn’t just give us a theoretical problem to solve. We did good in the community and actually made a difference.”


Writer: Jaden McQuivey