PULLMAN, Wash. — What are the chances that General Motors, first in the Fortune 500 listing, and its local dealership listen to your opinions? The answer is excellent.

Twenty Washington State University marketing students spent five days in February polling more than 550 other students, faculty and Palouse-area residents with a 23-question survey. The students, all seniors, developed the questionnaire to learn about their target market for a semester-long General Motors Marketing Internship. GMMI sponsors are GM and its Pullman dealership, Chipman & Taylor Chevrolet-Oldsmobile.

“In our questionnaire, we looked for what kinds of cars people like and why,” says student project research leader Natalie Stevens of Fife. “Chipman & Taylor Chevrolet-Oldsmobile and GM are interested in our findings to determine the wants and needs of their clients.”

The survey provides demographic, vehicle ownership, purchase intent, product perception and dealership awareness information.

On March 2, the students will meet with Chipman & Taylor Chevrolet-Oldsmobile representatives and share survey results and propose market strategy. The General Motors Marketing Area Team also has been invited to the meeting.

“During the meeting, our class agency — ‘Perpetual Motion’ — will propose details of an April event on WSU’s Glenn Terrell Mall,” says agency co-coordinator Christy Lawrence of Fife. “We anticipate feedback and a go-ahead. The mall event will be called ‘Road Trip. . . What’s Your Destination?’”

During the week of April 9, the marketing students also plan a “Best Road Trip Story Contest.” Then, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. April 18, Perpetual Motion expects to draw thousands of students and others to the mall. While there, they can look at and sit in several Chevrolets and Oldsmobiles. They also can participate in a raffle, with prizes donated by area businesses and proceeds going to United Way. Also, games and a virtual road trip are planned. During the event, the road trip contest winner will be announced.

This is the fourth year Chipman & Taylor Chevrolet-Oldsmobile and GM have sponsored GMMI at WSU. “This semester-long course provides practical experience in time management, event planning, promotion management, group dynamics and teamwork,” says David Sprott, assistant marketing professor in charge of the internship class. “GMMI is an incredible opportunity for students to use their business skills by becoming a sort of marketing agency for General Motors.”

More than 200 colleges and universities in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, California, Nevada, Texas, Georgia, Florida, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Michigan have participated in the GMMI program since it began in 1991.

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