BY HALEY HODGES
Aaron Bell and Cheyenne Ramsay didn’t initially know what to expect when they signed up for Professor Andrew Norman’s upper-level business class over the summer.
As the only two students enrolled in the course, the seniors participated in the independent study with the purpose of assisting pianist Tom Splitt with his marketing campaign.
“(Splitt) wanted to get back into the music game; re-release his music and up his sales on his old albums and it was up to Cheyenne and myself, through five assignments that Dr. Norman gave to us over the summer, to put together a whole marketing plan for Tom Splitt, literally from start to finish,” Bell said.
Bell had taken a Marketing 101 class with Norman the previous year and was eager to sign up for another course with him, even if he may not have known exactly what it would entail.
While Bell and Ramsay may have been initially uncertain of their class expectations, Norman, a professor of marketing, had been in contact with Splitt and developed the class to assist him.
“I was 18 when I picked up a Tom Splitt album, and I picked up a couple more in the few years after that,” Norman said. “It really made a big impact on me because it was the time in my life where everything was changing, going from high school to college, and it was such beautiful, emotional music.”
Norman said he wanted to find Splitt’s music on either CD or as an MP3 download, which led him to Splitt’s website with the two getting into contact soon after.
“He asked if I had any input for him [as a marketing professor] and I thought about it and wanted to involve some students in it,” Norman said.
As an unconventional class, Ramsay said she never spoke to Bell or Splitt during the process and would only contact Norman as needed.
“I think the most challenging part was never meeting Tom and it being a virtual classroom,” Ramsay said. “Also never communicating with Aaron, although that was our own fault, and never meeting my professor until (recently).”
Both Ramsay and Bell said that Splitt has since reached out to thank them for their work and will get to formally meet both of them when he performs at Drake’s Harmon Fine Arts Center on Sept. 22.
“After the class was finished, Dr. Norman contacted Cheyenne and I and told us that Tom was starting an intense practice regime to come perform for us,” Bell said. “I’m really looking forward to it because I get to meet him … I’m excited to introduce myself to him, because I haven’t met him yet. I’m excited for my whole family to come with me. This is a big thank you from him to us so it means a lot that he’s taken all of these hours out of his day to practice as a thank you.”
The performance will be open to the public and will have free admission. Splitt will play on Sept. 22 at 7:30 p.m. in the Performing Arts Hall in FAC.
Leading up to the performance, Norman has recruited other students in advertising to help market and promote for the concert as well.
“Am I an expert in Indie music marketing? No, not at all, but I’m a music lover,” Norman said. “I created the structure for the course applying general marketing principles to a specific field and I directed them to go out and do some digging, do some research and figure out what the best practices are in these areas.”