Archive for March, 2012


March 26, 2012

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. One of the best features of  the WVU IMC program is the ability to do my coursework at any time and from any locale with an Internet connection.

Tonight, I’m sitting on the floor of a guest room in Fayetteville, West Virginia working on my discussion post responses. I am spending the night with family as I make my way to Covington, Virginia to attend a class to become a certified BBQ judge for the Kansas City Barbeque Society. Since I love to cook, especially BBQ, I figured learning to judge good BBQ would help me to be a better BBQ cook myself.

I’m grateful that the IMC program if flexible enough to afford me the opportunity to be a full-time graduate student and still have time to do the things I enjoy.

It’s Great to Have Options!

March 22, 2012

I can see this tree from my window while I'm working on schoolwork. The newly added buds make me smile!

Spring has sprung here in North Canton, Ohio, and when the weather gets nice, I seem to have a lot more energy!

A few weeks back, while wrapping up my Week 9 final project for Direct Marketing, I completed a lot of tasks at work, helped coordinate a networking event for my local young professionals group, ystark!, attended a jewelry party, and played some tennis. During the winter, all these activities (even the fun ones!) might have been struggle.

During this past week, I debated on what courses to take for Fall 2012. It was a hard decision, but I decided on Social Media and Marketing and Political Marketing. With just three courses left before Campaigns, I’m feeling the urge to make wise choices with my schedule.

Just like last year, I am taking the summer off from the virtual classroom and spending time volunteering, working, and playing.

Taking the summer off means enjoying the outdoors. I can't wait to see these flowers bloom!

Isn’t it great to have options both inside the classroom and out? With the IMC Program, I can choose which electives best fit my interests and choose a schedule that works for me. What could be better? What are some of the electives that you look forward to taking?

Couponing: A good fit for IMC?

March 19, 2012

My name is Nicole and I’m a not-so-extreme couponer. Over the past six months, when I decided to subscribe to my local newspaper, I discovered my love of coupons, and saving money in general.

I paid $28 for the six-month subscription and my goal was to save $28 in coupons over the six month period. Turns out, I’ve probably tripled that amount through coupons for groceries, restaurants, dry cleaning, hair salons, etc. Living by myself, this is a huge savings!

C'mon, can anyone really resist the Snuggle Bear?

What I also learned through my passion for coupons is that I’m not as brand loyal as I thought. If it comes to saving a dollar, or even 50 cents, on a product, I’m willing to try something new. Of course, I’m still brand loyal to a few specific products, including Snuggle fabric softener.

I think coupons are important for IMC. In fact, a while back, I found a free rebate coupon for Lysol disinfecting wipes. I had been using another brand, but figured if it was free, I might as well try Lysol. Turns out, they’re great and without the coupon, the item would have blended into my store shelves. 

Don’t Buy This Jacket

March 14, 2012

Hello from the great IMC beyond. I’ve regained the 15-30 hours of my life each week that were devoted to IMC for most of 2010 and 2011, yet somehow 2012 feels just as busy. My job search continues, even as I’ve been lucky to pick up some contract work and consulting gigs to stay busy, earn a little money, and keep my skills fresh.

Networking is a critical part of any job search today and so I decided to get involved with PSAMA, the local Seattle chapter of the American Marketing Association. My membership materials arrived this week, including my first copy of Marketing News magazine. I flipped through the issue over dinner and, frankly, expected it to be just another trade publication — nothing special. And then, this image stopped me cold:

"Don't Buy This Jacket" ad from Patagonia

You may have seen or heard about this ad back around Black Friday. I was too busy with Campaigns to notice much of anything in the outside world at the time, so I’m glad I found this interview with Rob BonDurant (pdf) of Patagonia. BonDurant seems to have a bit of a disdain for the M in IMC, but it’s still safe to say that the lessons from this ad — which ran just one time in just one newspaper — have implications for PR, direct marketing, cause marketing, storytelling, and probably a few other areas of IMC.

Click on the image and the article link, then let me know: Had you already heard about this ad? Do you think it’s possible for a retailer to convincingly encourage reduced consumption of its products?

IMC versus MBA?

March 13, 2012

A few weeks back I was asked the question “How does the IMC compare to an MBA program and which one do you think is better?” So I thought I would share my response to those out there that still may be evaluating which masters level program is right for them.

MBA programs

MBA programs will give you a broad understanding of all areas of business. They tend to have a heavy focus in accounting and finance with just a few high level overview courses in marketing. If you plan on going into a general business career and plan on being in the administration, accounting or finance areas – then an MBA is likely right for you. However, if you plan on focusing in marketing, an MBA will leave you short. As one person indicated “I have an MBA and while that gives me the ability to think through business processes and strategy, it didn’t make me a great marketer.

Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC)

IMC is completely focused on marketing. You will have a well-rounded degree that covers every aspect of marketing, including all of the traditional marketing approaches (PR, direct marketing, promotions, media analysis, market research etc) as well as all emerging media (mobile marketing, social media marketing, web metrics/seo etc). You will also be able to get specific in the areas of marketing that you would like to specialize or create focus in (health care marketing, sports marketing, cause marketing, multicultural marketing). For those that are really interested in the creative side, you can even choose courses in creative concepts, storytelling, interactive media, and visual information design.

IMC versus MBAYou have the ability to really strengthen your competitiveness for your career goals. You will be competitive and stand out against MBAs that are applying for a marketing position. 

So why the IMC program at West Virginia University?

There are certainly not as many IMC programs to choose from as there are MBA programs. So here are a few things that I think make the IMC program at WVU strong:

  • The program is constantly progressing to include new courses as the field changes and grows. Political marketing, internal brand communications and entrepreneurship are just a few of the new courses being added at the time of this post.
  • The professors bring real-life experience. These professors are not stuck in the classroom teaching only textbook material. While we all understand the importance of basic concepts that are taught in textbooks, they can’t compare to the real life situations that occur only on the job. The grounded concepts provided by the textbooks coupled with the experience of years in the field (of some pretty stellar brand names) is something you won’t find everywhere.
  • The flexibility. Life is busy, we are all juggling multiple things between families, jobs and courses. The ability to take a masters program online and fit it into your own schedule is a huge advantage. This program also has a lot of dialogue with classmates and professors on a weekly basis giving you the same interactions that you would have in the classroom setting.
  • Credibility. Seeing that this program was offered from an accredited university and not just an online program was important to me. I wanted to know that my Masters Degree would always be viewed as an advantage and did not come from an online program that ceased to exist some day.

So there you have it – why I think the IMC is a far stronger program than an MBA for those looking to focus on a marketing career.

Almost There!

March 7, 2012

The Late Spring term is about to begin, and that has me thinking about where I’ll be next year at this time: preparing for IMC 636, my final course in the IMC Master’s program. That’s right – a little over one year until I have a WVU diploma to hang up next to my Bachelor’s Degree from Walsh University.

Truly, the time has flown by, but when I think about where I was in 2010, when I started the program, it seems like such a long time ago. After all, I was juggling two part-time marketing jobs, living at home, and dreaming of a day where I’d be working one full-time job.

I’ve come a long way since then, and that’s directly related to the IMC Program. The fact that I am working toward a Master’s Degree no doubt helped me find my current full-time endeavor. The added confidence, new friends, and unbeatable connections have changed my life as well.

Of course, in one year, as I’m working toward finishing my final class, I’ll be looking back to 2012 thinking how much I’ve learned in the past year.

You Are Really an Expert

March 5, 2012

When you position yourself as an expert with useful information for people, your marketplace will always have a need for that information. You have successfully pulled people into your funnel, you have their attention, and now you need to do something great for them.

Are we really an expert? As students of new media and individuals passionate about all things related to marketing and communication, can we really call ourselves an expert? Do we have our own clout that increases our value?

The answer is a resounding, “Yes!”

You are an expert. Yes you…reading this blog post.

Why? You might ask?

Because of the simple fact that you are interested in a particular niche and have amassed the necessary know-how and skills to share what you love whatever that might be. In his clever and value-filled book UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging, Scott Stratten offers us some good advice in regards to being an expert.

You may not be the expert in the field, but you can certainly be an expert.

What is stopping you from calling yourself one of the experts in your field? Being an expert is not an official designation. You don’t get a certificate in the mail, nor do you get a cookie. You are an expert when you say you are one.

That’s it! All it takes is a simple affirmation and recognition that you have a particular set of skills and knowledge that bring value to others. In our case, this takes the form of social media know-how or the ability to create masterful pieces of content on the subject of integrated marketing communications.

Go ahead, don’t be afraid to call yourself an expert.