Holtville High School Marketing Class

Submitted / The Herald

Holtville High School internet marketing students Carlie Heath, left, and Haley Gordon practice their Central Alabama Works pitch before meeting with the client.

Holtville High School internet marketing students had the chance to gain professional work experience by evaluating Central AlabamaWorks current online marketing and providing recommendations as to how the organization should move forward with its efforts.

Marketing instructor Natalie Taylor said the opportunity came to her through a friend who works for AlabamaWorks, a workforce development initiative of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

“A friend of mine, Jill Corbin, brought up the idea to Gindi Prutzman who is executive director of Central AlabamaWorks,” Taylor said. “Central Alabama had a recent change in executive directors. Ms. Prutzman has been there for less than a year. She knew that they needed to evaluate what social media was in place, what was good, what was bad and what needed to be tweaked.”

Taylor’s class went to work and spent over two weeks reviewing Central AlabamaWorks’ website, Twitter and Facebook page, noting what they would do to improve the nonprofit’s online marketing then putting that information into a presentation for Prutzman.

“One student in the group looking at Facebook looked up the board of directors,” she said. “He started calling (the directors) and asking for feedback. That’s drive.”

Taylor said she left it open to the students to give feedback and think up of ways to help the staff of three at Central AlabamaWorks.

“Pretty much across the board, the students gave the same feedback,” Taylor said. “Everybody noticed the same things where Central Alabama could improve. The students suggested the organization add Youtube, Instagram and Reddit. That set our plan of attack.”

Junior Carli Heath focused on improving the organization’s website. She mentioned the biggest challenge for her was how to communicate to AlabamaWorks she thought certain features of its website needed work. 

“Just really rewording things is how I had to look at it,” Heath said. 

Taylor sat down with each group and reviewed their research and recommendations then asked the groups to create a presentation using Google Slides.

“A lot of groups brought research into the presentation,” she said. “For example, with Instagram they had user demographics which helped the students make a point of recommending when a post should be made so they will get maximum exposure.”

Taylor said it really was neat to see it all come together. 

“The students literally did it all,” she said. “Other than laying down the rough framework and what Central AlabamaWorks needed from us, the students took it and ran with it.”

Sophomore Haley Gordon echoed Heath’s concerns regarding recommendations to Central AlabamaWorks.

“I did not want to be mean, but I wanted to give them the truth and I wanted the presentation to look good,” Gordon said. “We wanted to make sure our facts were straight and what we presented is what we believed it would take to improve their marketing.”

She said her and Heath devoted a lot of time studying the company’s website.

“Every day we were looking at the website,” she said. “I’d say we looked at the website for 30 minutes a day for two weeks.”