College of Business & Economics

Cases & Sponsors

Weekly cases for the Associate competition are provided by sponsoring businesses and organizations from the region. These cases pose real questions and challenges to which the companies can apply the candidates’ findings and recommendations. Cases have included planning round table events, organizing the consolidation of office space and developing marketing plans. Participating companies have included AOL, Inc., Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE), Baltimore Magazine, Enterprise, Target, Von Paris Moving & Storage and many more.

2015 Cases

Case 5

1st Mariner Bank

1st Mariner Bank is the largest independent bank headquartered in Baltimore. The Bank has approximately $1 billion in assets, 430 employees and 16 bank branches in Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Harford, Howard,  and Carroll counties in Maryland, and the City of Baltimore along with and access to over 24,000 surcharge-free ATMs nationwide.  1st Mariner also operates 14 mortgage offices in Central Maryland, the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and portions of Northern Virginia.  1st Mariner was founded in 1995 and after years of financial troubles beginning in 2009, the bank was acquired by a group of investors in June 2014 led by a new, local management team. Upon acquiring the Bank it was recapitalized with approximately $110 million in new capital, making 1st Mariner one of the strongest banks in the region. The management team has spent their entire banking careers in the Maryland market. The goal is to attract the segment of banking clients who value customer service and community-style relationship banking.

The Case
Retail business in general has changed over the years given the preference of consuming with eCommerce sites both of traditional retailers and new entrants such as Amazon.  Retail banking is no different as many consumers choose to interact through online and mobile banking channels and new entrants such as Ally and Simple have made new client acquisition more challenging.  Given the shift to digital banking, in-branch transactions are down and banks now have significantly less customers walking through the branch on a monthly basis, which represents less opportunities to give financial advice and to upsell/cross sell customers through this channel.  While many banks are exiting the brick and mortar bank branch strategy, 1st Mariner is investing in a new, state of the art facility in one of the busiest retail and commercial corridors in the country.  We feel that as an organization focused on customer service and community-style relationship banking, it is important for us to both maintain yet refocus our delivery to both drive traffic into the branches but also to maximize the income opportunities available through the traditional bank branch model.  While this case is focused on the brick and mortar channel, we understand that technology plays a big part in client acquisition and retention and we welcome the opportunity leverage technology and the digital channels to enhance the in-branch experience. 

 The Goals

  • Figure out the best use of the retail bank network to drive both prospects and customers into the bank branch.
  • Create a mock plan of a branch layout to implement this new use, to maximize the traffic flow through the branch, and to highlight the most profitable and/or sticky bank products.
  • Create a grass roots marketing message and campaign engaging the community to communicate and show the new focus, to explain the benefit to the consumers, and to create hype to ultimately drive traffic into the branches. 

Special Mentions

  • Generation X represents the most profitable sector of our banking segment today and their needs must be serviced through this new design.  Millennials and Gen Z represent the greatest opportunity and are historically the most difficult consumers to capture in a traditional retail bank space, thus we must focus our purpose and design in a way to capture this audience.
  • Closely held companies represent the greatest opportunity to acquire commercial loans and commercial deposits.  Closely held companies also represent the greatest opportunity to provide retail accounts to both executives and employees of the companies.
  •  Checking accounts are the most desired bank product to engage a customer because a customer who actively uses a bank’s checking account considers that their primary bank.
  • Online banking, mobile banking, and other electronic services (Bill Pay, Mobile Deposit, Person-to-Person Payments) create a sticky relationship, whereby it is more difficult for a customer to leave once these services are established and are used regularly.
  • CDs and Savings products are not considered sticky but are desired as they usually provide the bank larger deposits then would typically be found in a checking account.
  • Consumer loans represent a good opportunity to target new retail client acquisition.  Auto financing is difficult to acquire and to make a profitable given dealer financing options but home equity loans and home equity lines of credit represent a good opportunity to attract clients with solid jobs, significant household income, and children who represent future opportunities.
  • Mortgage loans and investment accounts represent a great opportunity for fee income and ways to further engage a banking relationship.
  • Banking can be a boring conversation though financial literacy is an important factor to creating and maintaining wealth.  Many adults aren’t financially literate but they likely don’t want to admit this as not to be embarrassed.  If designed properly, this could represent an opportunity to engage with customers and to provide informational resources that could lead to future banking opportunities.  
    • 1st Mariner has a pretty active blog where we strive to be viewed as a financial resource for our current and potential customers. Topics range from “The Benefits of a HELOC” to “How to Plan a Wedding on a Budget.”

 1st Mariner’s current marketing tactics include:

  • Relationship with Baltimore Raven’s Quarterback Joe Flacco
  • Off-Line
    • Local broadcast and cable television
    • Outdoor Advertising
    • Digital Billboards
    • Branch Signage
  • Radio
    • Traditional
    • Pandora
  • In- Branch Collateral
    • Flyers
    • Posters
  • Public Relations
  • Direct Mail
  • Online
    • Email Marketing
    • Content Marketing
      • Blogging (blogs, video, infographics, etc.)
      • Search Engine Optimized (SEO) Website and Blog
    • Social Media
    • Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
    • Mobile Marketing
    • Marketing Automation Software

Case 4 

Cintas Corporation

Headquartered in Cincinnati, Cintas Corporation provides highly specialized services to businesses of all types primarily throughout North America. Cintas designs, manufactures and implements corporate identity uniform programs, and provides entrance mats, restroom supplies, tile and carpet cleaning, promotional products, first aid, safety, fire protection products and services and document management services for approximately 900,000 businesses. Cintas is a publicly held company traded over the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol CTAS, and is a component of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

Cintas operates approximately 430 facilities in the U.S. and Canada, including six manufacturing plants and nine distribution centers that employ approximately 30,000 people.


Cintas is primarily a B2B company.  They typically do not do much marketing to consumers so their brand recognition though high among business is low among college students.  Cintas has a management trainee program which is an 18 month leadership program.  .  Additionally, Cintas is looking for Service Sales Representatives to deliver products and help manage customers.  Recent college graduates are targeted for both of these programs.

Cintas recruits on campuses around Baltimore.  We target 4 year higher education institutions to recruit management trainees and community colleges to recruit service sales representatives.  The challenge is marketing toward college students to get them to visit our hiring website and apply to either the Management Trainee program or Service Sales Rep position.  We would like for the students to develop 4 deliverables. 

  1.  A flyer to be posted and handed out at a local community college to recruit students who may be going to school at night to consider joining Cintas as a Service Sales Rep.
  2. A flyer to be handed out at upcoming college career fairs to recruit management trainees.
  3. A 30 second commercial that can be shown during out community college night to recruit Service Sales Representatives.
  4. A 30 second commercial that can be shown at the career fair to recruit college students to consider joining Cintas’ Management Trainee Program.


All logos must meet brand standards and cannot be edited.  Cintas can provide these.

The materials should be professional in nature and capture the essence of Cintas and give an overview of the position and the benefits of working for Cintas.

No copyrighted music can be used for the commercials.

Flyers should be formatted so they can easily be printed on 8.5 x 11 paper.

See attachments for more information about Cintas.

Winning Submission

The winning materials will be used at upcoming career fairs to help recruit local higher education students to work for Cintas.

Case 3

Merritt Athletic Club

Each day a person is bombarded with millions of marketing messages by hundreds of companies. How do you get the public to notice and purchase your product in such a noisy world? Maryland is one of the most competitive Health Club/Gym markets. So Merritt Athletic clubs is faced with a more difficult challenge of getting their message heard in a noisy and HIGHLY competitive health club market?

The Case
Merritt Athletic Clubs is looking for a new creative television ad that captures the attention of the 30-50 year old demographic and drives membership to the club. We are looking for an ad that focuses more on interrupt marketing (marketing that interrupts a person's day but that person is ok with it because it brings value to his or her day).

These key themes must be apparent in the spot:

  • Join during our New Year sale and pay $0 enrollment. Hurry limited time only!
  • Merritt is NOT a gym it is a lifestyle experience.
  • Be part of an Elite Group. Voted Baltimore's Best 2012-2014
  • Hometown Health Club since 1977 • 24 hour convenience
  • Official Training Center of the Baltimore Ravens Cheerleaders and the Baltimore Blast.

Case 2
B'more Organic

Bmore Organic Logo

B'more Organic is an award winning, Baltimore-based company providing organic protein smoothies. Founders, husband and wife Andrew and Jennifer Buerger, were on a climbing trip in Iceland when they were introduced to the one of the healthiest foods they had never heard of—skyr. Being lactose intolerant, Andrew was reluctant to try skyr but was urged it was safe to consume, thanks to the healthy probiotics that consume the lactose. Sure enough, skyr was the perfect bite to sustain his for the push to the summit. The Buergers have brought skyr to the States in the form of convenient smoothies- perfect for active lifestyles. All B'more Organic smoothies have over 32 grams of protein. They are fat-free, gluten free, have no added sugar, are teeming with probiotics, and are made with milk from grass fed cows.

In addition to their product line, B'more Organic has a mission to "Take a Bite out of Disease". The company is a Certified B-Corp, sourcing milk from family-owned farms and operating all facets of business on sustainable energy. The company prides itself on supporting causes that make the world a better place. B'more Organic donates 1% of sales to Jodi's Climb for Hope, an organization committed funding promising research for Breast Cancer and MS.

The Case
We hope our brand story is enough to create customers in the highly competitive health and fitness / natural organic product markets. Even though we are found in over 200 stores in the Mid-Atlantic we need to find a way to stand out to our customer base. How can we continue to expand, stand out in a crowded vertical, and become an integral part of our consumer's daily lives to better spread our mission?

Goal 1: to identify primary and secondary target markets, create an integrated marketing campaign to become better incorporated into our consumer's everyday lives, and build brand equity. Considerations: inbound-marketing, digital storytelling, social media strategy, events, traditional media, etc.
Goal 2: to develop ways to better educate the marketplace on what our product is and gain more attention from consumers. Considerations: packaging, positioning (skyr vs. protein smoothie), website
Goal 3: to develop a proposal for grocers to gain visibility (more SKUs/shelf positioning) in stores 

Case 1 
Port Deposit, Maryland

The Town of Port Deposit is a small community on the Susquehanna River in Cecil County, MD. Port Deposit was incorporated in 1824 and the entire town was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. There are several impressive older buildings made from local granite or brick, with the oldest dating back to 1725. The Town's location on the Susquehanna provides opportunities for fishing, boating, hiking, and other recreational activities. Port Deposit is also growing ecotourism in the town with a particular focus on the Northern Map Turtle, which is an endangered species in Maryland that has found a home in Port Deposit.

The Case
Port Deposit is currently in the process of renovating the Jacob Tome Gas House into a visitor's center and a research facility to study the turtle to highlight all of these opportunities. The Gas House will focus mainly on the ecotourism and historical opportunities of the Town by providing interactive displays, maps, and other information. A large challenge facing Port Deposit will be how to promote ecotourism, as well as our other amenities to get people to visit the Town once the Gas House opens. The Town has very limited resources and is unable to provide a budget for advertising and marketing.

• Develop marketing ideas for the Gas House, particularly related to the ecotourism and historical opportunities in the Port Deposit.
• Determine the best way to get out the message and attract people to Port Deposit with very limited resources and no budget.


Submit a case

Submit a Case

Does your company or business have an issue or idea it wants to explore but needs extra resources to do it? We're now accepting case ideas for the 2014 competition. Submit your idea to
Lisa Michocki,

College of Business & Economics

Phone: 410-704-3496
Fax: 410-704-2300

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