Born out of the pandemic, the clinic is here to help local businesses
The Concordia Marketing Aid Clinic (CMAC) is a new student group focused on providing marketing advice to student and community-run small businesses and nonprofits.
A group of Concordia Marketing students were inspired to open the clinic after one of their favourite restaurants closed, unable to survive the pandemic’s first shutdown.
“As a business student, there was this moment where I thought: maybe there is something I can do,” said William Boucher, the clinic’s president.
“At Concordia, there is expertise … We all have something to give and we are all future professionals,” said Boucher. “I thought one way I could help these businesses [would be] to help them do a transition into digital.”
Boucher’s idea to help with this transition would eventually evolve into what is now CMAC.
“We can’t contribute to the research, but we can help with the survival,” said Noubar Tufenkjian, the clinic’s vice-president of strategy.
The clinic provides free marketing advice to businesses in a similar way to Concordia’s current legal information clinic.
“The concept already existed with the law clinic,” said Tufenkjian. “Students are able to contribute a lot by offering a fresh pair of eyes to see a business, and give an opinion or another perspective … [Students are] a lot more aware of trends and what is going on in the business world.”
This fall semester, the organization underwent its first round of recruitment, first looking for motivated students to add to their team, then looking for businesses to work with. The clinic is not only working with Concordia students; their goal is to give back to the greater Montreal community.
“We want to help our fellow students, but we also want to help the same community that pays taxes for Concordia to be still alive today … We want to be part of Montreal and give back to that same community,” said Boucher.
In their first recruitment phase, more than 60 businesses reached out. The clinic received applications from as far away as British Columbia.
As the application process continues, the club narrows down the businesses they will work with, focusing on those in the Montreal community.
“We have a diverse [group of businesses] who applied, starting from non-profits to e-commerce stores and start-ups, some of which were born in Concordia … We were very surprised by the diversity of businesses who applied,” said Tufkenjian
At the moment, the club can only help four businesses at a time since it’s run only by student volunteers. Businesses that don’t make the initial round get put onto a waiting list for CMAC.
Once a business is released from CMAC, a spot is opened up and a new business takes its place.
Once the club selects a business to work with, they conduct interviews with owners and employees to see what they think of the business and assess how they can help.
“Our goal is to fix the marketing flaws in their plan … the way we work is we do an analysis of all their marketing channels and all their plans and we will establish a strategy and start working with them … The angle is to help [businesses] learn how to market better, [whether it’s] your business or your product.”
Logos courtesy of Concordia Marketing Aid Clinic (CMAC)