Archive for the ‘IMC Coursework’ Category

Reaching Target Audiences in Time and Space

October 18, 2016



Think about it. As consumers, we live in a three-dimensional world where messages come to us in time sequences largely governed by our digital devices and the skill of marketers trying to reach us.

Writing recently in Advertising Age, Garett Sloane noted that “marketers are trying to understand when their messages reach consumers on different devices throughout the day, identifying users accurately as they switch screens.”

So, these multiple platforms may actually be helping to deconstruct media initiatives, and one could reasonably argue that there are message subsets, just as there are audience subsets.

To use the terminology of Audience Intent, IMC 612, these audience subsets can be called cohorts because they are groups having something in common, usually age, income or culture.

Well, messages, too, can be categorized into cohorts. For example, one type of message is the urgent one: the message that you have to read because your mobile device just prompted you of its arrival in your inbox. Another is the message coming from a site you visit often, such as when Amazon presents products similar to those you have just purchased. A third could be suggested article links that your digital news concierge, trolling your online metrics, suggests for you. In large part, the second and the third examples unpack in consumer-controlled time segments.

However, marketers cannot afford to wait patiently for a message to be processed in a linear progression of time when it suits the consumer. Rather, the advertiser wants the information to reach the audience cohort in a multi-directional movement across time, and in time to influence the consumer decision-making process, all topics we talk about in IMC 612.

As Sloan explains, “sequential messaging, also known as sequential targeting, often requires cross-device capabilities to accurately reach the same consumer across screens when they visit different digital properties.”

These marketing tactics are often on display during webinars and meetings of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA). Retailers of fast food outlets have added social media experts to their in-house communications’ teams. Typically, these professionals are themselves in the millennial generational cohort, so they are used to conveying messages via live streaming and digital apps.

However, traditional media components, used for decades in integrated marketing and communication, co-exist with newer techniques of message dissemination. For example, product collateral, outdoor advertisements, and conventional radio and television persist, though on modern platforms.

This combination of technology and tradition allows the message to be pushed out to different audience cohorts on different platforms and at different moments of time. Once conveyed, the sequential message continues a life of its own.

Early theories of information dissemination thought that messages went in only one direction from the sender to the receiver. Over time, messages were viewed as circular, since the receiver-audience replied directly or indirectly to the marketing initiative.

Today, audience feedback is a blog entry on a social media channel of an individual consumer or a burst of tweets in a stream of reactions to a concept or product. The sheer volume of this consumer reactive traffic shows us that we do indeed live in a three-dimensional world.

Kathleen DeMarco teaches IMC 612, Audience Intent.

Reference: Sloan, G. (2016, Oct. 5). Digital marketing glossary 101: words you wanted to know about but were too afraid to ask. Advertising Age.

3 Reasons why YouTube Deserves to Play a Bigger Role in Your Digital Marketing Efforts

October 4, 2016


YouTube has catapulted it’s way into search engine excellence! Since it’s introduction to the world in 2005, YouTube is now the second largest search engine, falling short to no other than their owner, Google. Not to mention,  it’s bigger than BingYahoo!, Ask and AOL combined!

Impressive right? But, why does YouTube deserve it’s spot at the top and why should be a major part of your digital marketing efforts?

Is it because it’s filled with racks on racks of organic content – created by consumers for consumers?

Or, maybe because it’s so easy that even a cave man can do it?

Yes! No…not sure, well  it’s fine. Sit tight, as I pinpoint 3 reasons why YouTube is a top resource for consumers and why you should tap into it.

1.) It Humanizes a Brand


YouTube offers a unique quality to businesses. It allows companies to effectively humanize their brands. YouTube videos allow consumers to begin putting faces with the brand and it also offers a much more casual platform in which consumers can engage with visual content.

A way in which a company can begin doing this is by recruiting a few YouTubers who embody every element of their brand and who also possess a large YouTube following filled with their target audience, to serve as brand ambassadors.

Additionally, companies could also start posting their own videos. Videos featuring employees and industry professionals speaking genuinely about their products and services.

So now you are probably wondering why this can’t be done in digital marketing solely through Facebook, Twitter, or whichever other social media networks you can think of?

Well, with different forms of emerging media being on the rise within digital marketing, some consumers have began preferring to be reached visually – as opposed to by text. Plus, YouTube videos are universal.

Video content should be a pillar of your digital marketing strategy because it is only second to face-to-face interaction as a tool to humanize your brand. When people are searching YouTube, they are actively trying to learn more about products and services. It is extremely easy to share YouTube videos via social networks, or embed on websites or blogs.

YouTube allows a brand to reach those consumers interested in their products on a platform that they enjoy using, which also allowing room for commentary and suggestions … i.e. the comment boxes.

2.) People flock to YouTube for Product Reviews


Before I may any major purchases (and by that I mean any purchases that can’t be classified as necessities to live), I always search for product reviews. While written reviews were once the norm, I have noticed that I, just like a lot of consumers, now prefer video.

There’s just something about seeing someone else with the product that you are about to buy… actually having it and using it.

Luckily, I am not the only one obsessed with utilizing YouTube for this reason.

More than 25 percent of participants said they used online video to learn about products “a few times a week,” and more than 20 percent use it “a few times a month.” 47 percent said they would be more likely to investigate the product upon seeing it in a video. While some reported feeling neutral about products in videos, less than seven percent said they would prefer to see no products in the online videos they watched.

The majority of survey respondents said they were more likely to buy a product they saw in a positive online review, and more than 42 percent believe YouTube to be the most trustworthy source of product reviews.

So how does product reviews contribute to YouTube’s greatness. A lot of the content posted on YouTube is reviews and YouTube has became a trusted entity within consumer’s eyes when researching product reviews.

Now, how can your company benefit from this? By monitoring what consumers are saying in their product reviews about your products and services. This will allow you to gain greater access into the minds of your consumers and will help with identifying any changes that need to be made to improve your product.

Additionally, this is where your brand ambassadors could come in again. After offering them an opportunity to serve as a face for your company, you can begin endorsing their videos that showcase products that you sent them for review.

3.) People also search YouTube for Tutorials


I wanted it. I bought it. Now how do I use it?

Along with product reviews, a lot of consumers jump right into searching for tutorials right after. The reviews are the persuading force that solidifies their want to purchase the product, and if the are mostly positive, the consumers usually move forward with buying the products.

So after buying these products they have invested so much time researching, it usually urges consumers into wanting to fully understand how to get the most out of their purchases. This is where tutorials come in… to show them how to use nearly every feature or maximize their service.

Once again, this is where those ambassadors can come into the picture and save your day. They can upload tutorial videos of them utilizing your products or services.

Or, your actual company itself can upload a few different tutorial videos on their page for consumers interested in learning more about their products or services.

Well that’s all folks! YouTube is definitely a resource that should be utilized by your digital marketing department. It could essentially help make or break your efforts in converting potential consumers into actual consumers.

P.S., make sure to check out this amazing info-graphic from Mushroom Networks all about YouTube’s claim to fame as a top of the line search engine!

Created by Mushroom Networks

-Katra Cunningham

Katra Cunningham  is an IMC student currently in IMC 619 Emerging Media & the Market. This blog post originally appear on her blog: Emerging Media…as told by Katra. Check out her blog for more posts!



Top 10 Reasons to Love Social Media in Marketing

September 22, 2016


1.Social media is present. – See things as they happen. Watch as conversations around your posts develop and mature over time. See what your consumers and clients are saying as they say it.

2.Social media is measurable. -You can track which messages are received the best by your followers. Data is present in almost every form of social media. Analyzing that data will give you actionable information to react to, whether that is discovering that sharing more photos will boost your click through rate or offering promotions as part of your posts will net your company more followers and likes.

3.Social media is fast. – Get your message out to your consumers faster without delays or airing schedules. Social media allows you to share things with clients and consumers faster than traditional media or news sources. If an event happens that paints your company in a bad light, you can use social media to respond and reassure your consumers all in one place hours before the evening news or newspaper.

4.Social media is able to put you where the customers are. – You can reach large amounts of people at the same time!. Social media gives you one more channel to allow consumers to discover your products or services without leaving the social media sites they already use.

5.Social media is global. – Anyone anywhere in the world can find you and follow you. Reach consumers in every country in the world through a social media site.

6.Social media is flexible. – There is a platform for everyone. Microblogging, blogging, pictures, videos – whatever the consumers would like to see, social media can do. The only limit is your imagination in how to use a particular platform to reach your consumers.

7.Social media is easy. – Almost everyone can use social media for their businesses. The platforms already exist, so no need to set up something special to try to reach consumers. No need for forums or listservs when your Twitter or Facebook account will serve the same purpose in getting out your message.

8.Social media is conversation. – Businesses can start a conversation with their followers and get in the minds of what they are really thinking. Hashtags and content tagging give consumers ways to find the content and allows you to link conversations as they happen. Follow the conversations through the content to find out what is really on your customers’ minds.

9.Social media is a way to see what your competitors are doing. – “Spying” is easy on social media. Discover what your business competitors are doing (or not doing) on social media and follow their trends and conversations to find out what is working and not working for them. Know why their customers love them and follow them. It may give you ideas about how to approach your own customers for the same products or services.

10.Social media is “digital word of mouth.” – Followers will share things with their own friends and families. This is probably the most powerful part of social media. Given the right motivation, enough people can share your message through “digital word of mouth” that no other advertising may be necessary. Find those passionate about your product or services and watch as they share that information with their own followers. Those followers may share that information, whose own followers may also share.

What are your favorite reasons to use social media in marketing?

7 Tips to Succeed in an Online Learning Environment

September 13, 2016


According to D. Frank Smith, 5.8 million Americans are enrolled in an online course—that’s one in four students!

For many, the thought of online classes is unnerving, yet virtual enrollment continues to grow. It can’t be that scary, right?—Right! Here are some tips we put together for succeeding in online classes.

  1. Print your syllabi

Keep a hard copy of any and all documents distributed by your professor, especially the syllabus. Printing these documents will help you to better understand and keep track of the course assignments, as well as remember your instructor’s expectations.

  1. Designate a workspace

Choose a space in which you feel you will be the most productive to complete your course work. Use this space only for class-related activities and, while you are there, turn off your cell phone to avoid all distractions.

  1. Remain organized

Keep a master schedule of when all of your assignments are due. To ensure you do not forget anything, write yourself daily to-do lists, complete with detailed instructions for each project.

  1. Communicate problems early

Communication is key! Whether it is a problem with your server or a question about an assignment, communicate issues are their onset, as they will then be much easier to resolve.

  1. Space it out

Work a little bit each day. Don’t procrastinate or try to complete all of your assignments in one sitting. This will do nothing but overwhelm you and put a damper on your creativity.

  1. Participate

Participate, participate, participate! Online classes allow you to learn as much from your classmates as you do from your instructor; however, the responsibility is yours. The amount of effort you put into a virtual course will reflect the amount of knowledge you gain.

  1. Reward yourself

Incentivize yourself with periodic rewards. After completing a large project or a difficult paper, treat yourself! You deserve it!

Online courses can take time to get used to; however, their benefits are undeniable. Online learning provides students with flexibility, lower costs and greater technological knowledge. So…don’t be nervous about online courses. If you keep in mind these seven tips, you are sure to succeed in any online learning environment.


5 Reasons Why You Need a Social Media Influencer on Your Payroll

September 6, 2016


Everyday, more and more companies are integrating content creators into their emerging media efforts. From YouTube beauty gurus to Instagram celebrities, influencers have wiggled their way into becoming a major element in specialized content marketing efforts.

Using social media influencers in your marketing is the practice of building relationships with the people who can build relationships for you. Whether an influencer’s audience is small or large, an influencer can reach consumers via their blogs and social networks that your brand may not be able to.  – Group High

So let’s jump right into it! Here are 5 AMAZING reasons why you need to add a Social Media Influencer to your payroll.

1.) They are well known… 

Social Media famous people have branded themselves so well online that your consumers already know them and consider them the gatekeepers in their respective fields.

Just check out this clip of Tyler Oakley on The Ellen Show … and he is famous for social media alone.

2.) Their audience trusts them…

Consumers want authenticity from the brands they interact with. When marketers equip influencers with an entire experience to share about a brand or product the posts are more engaging.

Let’s be real, influencers have positioned themselves to be thought of as experts in everything from hear to politics, and consumers would much rather hear what they have say about a product as opposed to a employee for a company.

Nine times out of ten, if a consumers had questions about the quality of a product and asked both a employee for the company and a respected influencer what they thought of the product; they would probably allow the influencers’ words to outweigh the employee.

90% of consumers trust peer recommendations. Only 33% trust ads

Your employees are like a walking advertisement for your company. This alone makes it hard for consumers to believe that if your product really isn’t as good as you claim it is, your employee would actually tell the truth and admit that it isn’t.

But, with influencers, they see them as regular people, just like them, and often feel as though their opinions are more organic – making it more truthful in their eyes.

3.) They are trendsetters…

Their supporters  look to them for the latest trends and for guidance in incorporating them into their daily life. Now, more than ever, social media personalities are being considered the trend setters (and in some cases, enders). They are able to use their platforms to urge large groups of people into thinking that something is in, out… or going to be in.

A recent study from the Journal of Consumer Research has found that people who are active in social media are likely to be influenced by the opinions of those they follow on those social media channels. For marketers and business owners, this means that connecting with trend setters who have a large amount of followers is more important than ever.

To keep a long story short, you need them to say that your company or products are in!

4.) They have a pre-assembled target audience…

When executed correctly, influencer marketing has the ability to reach niche audiences and create a greater impact than traditional advertising methods.

Influencers have already developed a close knit relationship with their followers who are members of your target market. This means that hiring them will allow you to tap into it and convert their fans into your consumers.

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With social media influencers having audiences of sometimes more than a million people, it’s a win-win situation for both parties!


5.) They are flexible

Social influencers can provide a cost-effective way for startups and smaller businesses operating on a limited marketing budget to reach new customers.

If you aren’t ready to add them permanently  to your payroll, there are ways in which you can still work with them. You can draw up an endorsement deal or just pay for them to attend one of your events, post online about your products,  or you can even get them to review your product or give them a promo code to promote online.


The best way to gain the trust and attention of the influencer’s audience is to have the influencer engage with your product and either create content around the brand or testify as to what the product has done for them.

The possibilities are endless, but it’s up to you to make sure that you take advantage of this new and happening buzz ed-about strategy to increase your stake in your target audience.

-Katra Cunningham

Katra Cunningham  is an IMC student currently in IMC 619 Emerging Media & the Market. This blog post originally appear on her blog: Emerging Media…as told by Katra. Check out her blog for more posts!

Facebook Finally Gave Its “LIKE” Button a New Makeover

August 30, 2016


The “like” button on Facebook has now evolved. In the beginning of the year, Facebook decided to officially change its “like” button to a range of emotions.  A dislike button couldn’t be added due to Facebook understanding that there would be too much controversy among its users.  Instead, Facebook members can now react to their user’s statuses by choosing from a variety of six different reactions which include: “Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, and Angry”.

“Not every moment you want to share is happy,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post. “Sometimes you want to share something sad or frustrating. Our community has been asking for a dislike button for years, but not because people want to tell friends they don’t like their posts. People want to express empathy and make it comfortable to share a wider range of emotions.”

These reactions that were invented reflect upon the emojis that are used in text messages on most used touch screen cellular devices.

On a daily basis, news articles and videos that go viral are shared on Facebook users news feed.

I’m curious to know if this new makeover of integrating more than just a “like” button has effected the way businesses post on their Facebook profile page. Aren’t you curious?

If you’re curious to know the full breakdown of reactions for each post you put out their on Facebook then you can simply view your Facebook page’s Insights.


I personally would try to convince my Facebook friends/fans to make use of the new reaction buttons.  These reactions are tools that are used for marketers to distinguish whether or not they posted something worth reading, engaging with, and/or talking about on Facebook.  If a marketer such as Nike receives an angry emotion “like” on one of their video promotions they share then they’re not going to take the post down.  Instead, they’re going to use that response as an initiative to improve their next video promotion.

I decided to see if marketers are actually receiving a variety of different reactions through their postings on Facebook.  I compared Nike and Adidas.  Both Nike and Adidas receive almost the same reactions. Facebook users are responding to their video promotion ads and/or images with either a “like”, “love”, “wow”, or “haha” reaction.  None of the users responded with the “sad” or “angry” emoji.

Many of us especially those who are Millennials or part of Generation Z are frequent users of social media. With that said, we’re growing rapidly through a world of change.  We’re emerging with so called “new makeovers” that are happening to our advancements in technology, and we’re accepting these changes.

So many of us want what we cannot afford, but most of us will do all we can to save up enough money to purchase or upgrade to a new Apple phone, because we see every one else getting one.  Many of us follow others, because we want to continue staying up to date with a specific trend we want to follow.

-Kayla Kesselman

Kayla Kesselman is an IMC student currently in IMC 619 Emerging Media & the Market. This blog post originally appear on her blog.  Check out her blog for more posts!

Top resources for IMC students

August 11, 2016



I asked IMC faculty what resources they recommend to IMC students, and this is what they had to say! I hope this list is useful to you. And, if you have any resources you’d like to add, let me know in the comments🙂.

Industry news:

All about social media:


All things digital, technology and trends:






Ally Kennedy is the communications manager for WVU Reed College of Media’s Online Programs. She earned her master’s degree in communication from Duquesne University and her bachelor’s degree in English from Washington & Jefferson College.

Start With The End Game In Mind

May 23, 2016

EndGameBlog.pngcurriculum map

Retrieved from

As Capstone drew near, one of the things I focused on was how can I leverage my other classes to help me deliver the best capstone project?

For Crisis Communication, I developed a plan for the CDC and in Audience Insights I tried to look at why people were or weren’t vaccinating. Both of these built on the campaign I had developed for PR Concepts & Strategy.

All of this pre-work really helped me get a head start on my campaign; don’t get me wrong, there was still a ton of heavy lifting and questions to answer. Having spent time researching vaccines and the CDC, I was acutely aware of new articles and research and filed them away into my capstone folder.

So what does this mean to you? As you lay out your course schedule, try to be conscious of the end game, developing an integrated marketing campaign. If you know your company already, which classes will help you get there? How can that company be represented in those classes? For example, in Brand Equity I selected Taco Bell, perhaps I should have picked the CDC or the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (my campaign was focused in Michigan). Will your campaign require a big internal communication plan, then take that class? The bottom line, don’t take your schedule lightly, take the time to plan it out.

Here are few tips:

  • Decide when you will take 636 Campaigns. Campaigns is only offered in late fall, late spring and summer. Plan your schedule to hit one of those. Personally, I do not recommend taking a semester off before Capstone, I would have lost all motivation.
  • Check your electives first. Unlike the core courses, every elective isn’t offered every semester. If you want to take Global Brand Communication, you will have to plan for it.
  • Which teachers? Deciding if there are teachers you want to take is also important. Talk to other students. WVU IMC also awards the Alexis Vanides teaching award, you can see past winners here
  • Put it on paper. Lay out your schedule (use this with your wish list and your back-ups. Prior to registration, find the course numbers and copy them there. That way when registration opens, you’re just copying and pasting the numbers into the system, not searching.

Here’s to #owningit!


Why Do We Go To School?

April 27, 2016



Why do we go to school? There are many answers to this question…. We go to better ourselves, to stay connected to trends, to make more money or to teach. Ultimately the answer should be… “we go to school to learn.” In the era of trophies for everyone, it seems we have lost sight of learning. Learning means you will not have a perfect score; you may not get an “A” and you will most definitely have to work hard, otherwise you are not really learning.

I must admit, in the throes of school there were moments when I was extremely frustrated when I did not receive a perfect score. There were a few classes where I racked my brain until I wanted to dump my laptop on its head and throw my books out the window. But the one thing that kept me going was the fact that I was growing. I was challenging myself to learn and do something different, something that did not always come easily.

Capstone was no different. In our weekly discussions, I completely missed the media objectives and did general objectives. I reviewed previous work and the objectives I had done were not focused on media, they were campaign or PR objectives. I was pretty hard on myself. It was the end of the program, how could I possibly get that wrong, after all I have learned? Then my professor said something, “I wish students weren’t so focused on the grades, but on the learning process.” I was suddenly reminded that even after two years, I am still learning.

Cheers to all of us for making this huge investment and a reminder that we all should strive to be learners even when we have reached the finish.

From the Campaign Battlefront

April 19, 2016


Rest assured, I am not writing a post about the 2016 election (you’re welcome). Rather, I’m reporting on my own mêlée: the exhausting, empowering, sometimes petrifying, but mind-blowingly rewarding human experience that is IMC 636 Campaigns. These last seven weeks and beyond have challenged me in more ways than I could have imagined, but I am seven days away from sending off what has become my most prized piece of work and alas, I can [almost] see the light at the end of the grad school tunnel.

sneak peek

Sneak peek!

For those of you who have achieved your MSIMC degree, perhaps you’re having flashbacks to those final days of scrambling, and for those who have yet to experience it, strap in. I know I’m making 636 sound like some untamable beast, but I assure you that this has been the most gratifying course of my college career. Today, between working full-time, building my IMC campaign, and teaching yoga on the side, I’ve somehow managed to find a free moment for reflection, and this is what I’ve realized:

The phrase, “Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life” is a sham. I entered into this program because I love marketing communications, and I suspect that I share this passion with many of you, but I think that we can all agree that it will never not be work. This program, let alone this profession,  is undeniably challenging, and it requires large amounts of attention on a nearly daily basis. But what keeps us in the game is that feeling of pride after a job well done.

I have been eating, sleeping, and breathing IMC for the past month and a half, and not because I have to, but because I want to. Something shifts in you during the capstone course; the more effort you put into your campaign, the more effort you want to put into it. In the dwindling days between me and this due date, I genuinely look forward to sitting down at my computer to continue construction of my personal masterpiece. I’m reveling in the chaos, and that’s how I know I’m doing what I love. So, instead of aiming to never work a day in your life, aim to find something you love so much, you’re willing to work your ass off for it.