Posts Tagged ‘INTEGRATE’

A Few Final Tips for the WVU IMC Program

July 15, 2015

kat shanahan wvu imc reed college of media


I feel like I’m forgetting something. I keep reaching for my computer thinking that I have copy to write, an ad to design, or a budget to adjust. The reality is that I’m not missing anything. My final IMC campaign for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is uploaded and in the mail.

I’d be lying if I told you submitting the campaign was all sunshine and puppies. I needed a reality check after I submitted it because I was worried that someone was going to steal the mailbox…yes…the entire mailbox. Putting everything you have into a campaign for roughly nine weeks takes a toll on you. I’m still working on processing the fact that I’m actually done, but as I reflect on my 3 years (90 weeks of class) in the program I wanted to share what I learned.

  1. Plan, but don’t over plan. I LOVE to plan.  I’m the kind of person that enjoys planning their free time. When I started the program I went through and planned out my entire schedule. I picked and scheduled all of my classes including my electives. While planning my academic future was beneficial, as I moved through the program my areas of interest changed. As I learned more about different areas of IMC I wished I could go back and change some of my electives. I will say it’s a good idea take your electives when they’re offered (because they’re not offered every term), but keep in mind that your interests may change over the course of the program.
  2. Remember why you’re doing this. Prior to enrolling in the WVU IMC program I told a friend of mine that I would never get a master’s degree. As I started to change my mind I looked at the WVU IMC curriculum and my mouth started watering. I fell in love with the content and immediately made connections between what I was doing at work and what was being offered in classes. I started this program because I wanted to grow as a professional. I didn’t start the program to earn As in all of my classes. It can be easy to get wrapped up in grades and making sure you get a 10/10 on discussion posts, but that’s not why we are here. Think back to your undergraduate days. Do you remember every single assignment in which you didn’t earn the grade you wanted? You’ll forget about grades, but you won’t forget about putting in the work and getting everything you can out of your time in the program.
  3. Get to know your professors: When I met Prof. Sader for the first time at INTEGRATE 2015 he told me that I worried too much. He was 100% correct. He also told me that he was there to be a mentor for me and not just give me a grade. He encouraged me to reach out with questions or problems. Professors actually want to help you grow as a professional. I didn’t take advantage of that enough while I was in the program. They want to get to know you and help you learn everything you can. Take advantage of that because you may not be able to find those resources elsewhere.
  4. Go to INTEGRATE! This is a big one. My entire graduate experience changed when I went to INTEGRATE. The second I stepped on campus I felt like a Mountaineer. You can’t get that feeling unless you visit campus. INTEGRATE is a fantastic conference. You get to meet classmates, build relationships, and talk to professors and program administrators, while hearing from amazing industry professionals. The first year I went I traveled by myself and knew no one in the program. Now, I’m in a book club with WVU IMC alumni and get to talk marketing with them every month. You never know who you’ll get to meet and connect with, so take advantage of it!
  5. Fill out course evaluations. I know this sounds like a plug on behalf of the program, but I promise you it’s not. My life motto is that I can’t complain about things I have the power to change but decide not to. So I either stop complaining or step up and do something about it. We have the power to implement positive change in the program, but change cannot happen if we don’t use the right channels.
  6. Develop your voice and personal brand. I’ve already shared my thoughts on personal branding, so I won’t bore you with that again. But, I will say that this is the time to experiment with your voice and your style. Use this as an opportunity show your style in a professional way.
  7. Develop and trust your process. In the program you’ll write roughly 99 discussion posts, 400 responses, 70 papers and 1 enormous campaign. Start to develop and trust your writing process. This took me a long time to develop and I’m still working on it. But here’s what I know
    1. I need to spit out a first draft before doing anything else (The Ugly First Draft if you’re an Ann Handley fan, which you should be.)
    2. I need to re-read things the next day
    3. Most of the time, I get a second opinion
    4. I need to cut myself off – If allowed, I will read and read and read until the absolute last minute. At some point, I need to stop overanalyzing and hit submit

I’m sure if I sat here long enough I could come up with 100 more things to keep in mind, but that I think it’s time to wrap things up.  If you’ve made it this far I want to say thank you. Thank you for reading my thoughts over the past few years and thank you for sharing yours. To all of you in the program – best of luck. You can absolutely do this and you will be a stronger marketer for it. Reach out to alumni if you need anything, we are nerdy marketers who love to connect with students in the program.

All the best,


Express Yourself… with a Powerful Resume

May 30, 2015

If you weren’t at #INTEGRATE this year or if you weren’t able to have your resume reviewed, here are a few resume pointers shared by the IMC professors.

Pay attention to consistency. You want to make the best first impression, so make sure your format, font, and framework is consistent throughout your resume.

View your resume as a living document: Make sure you have an offline (traditional resume) and online resume (ex. integrated website tying into social media work, profiles, and examples of work) as well. But, both of these documents have to be connected with each other.

– Professor Karen Freberg

I am a huge fan of people listing a wordpress site or LinkedIn profile so employers can see the multiple dimensions of an applicant.

– Professor Mike Fulton

If you are asked to limit your resume to a page, then build out your LinkedIn page or personal website to promote your professional and/or academic accomplishments.

When you detail your experience with a specific position, make sure the statement is measurable. (i.e. Increased media coverage of my company by XX% over a year). Additionally, if you include social media as a skill on your resume, be able to back up your activity with specific results (campaigns developed, measurement statistics, etc.)

– Professor Rebecca Anderson

Be sure to have specific objectives rather than broad, meaningless terms. Customize the objectives so they are in alignment with the position you are applying for.

– Professor Bonnie Harris

Once you build or update that resume, put it to use! If you’re looking for a new position, the WVU IMC job board is updated every Friday, and is full of outstanding opportunities.

If you did have your resume reviewed today, please add some of the best practice tips you received in the comments section below!

Culture For Hire

May 30, 2015

Culture can make or break a company. It sets the tone for everything from how a team interacts to how customers are treated and to how new hires are made. Culture helps to sustain employee enthusiasm, and thus aids in productivity.

Today, every organization is looking to hire the brightest and best employees to help forward their business – and company culture can be employed as a powerful and important recruiting tool! Successful companies understand the values that are core to their culture. They don’t only look for talent in new employees, but they also consistently hire people who will practice those values and project that image effortlessly.

Below, IMC Professor Kohler shares his thoughts in a Q&A about building company culture and the important role it plays in the hiring process.

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Question: What advice would you offer a company that is looking to build a stronger company culture?

The good news for any company that expresses interest in strengthening its culture is that they’ve already taken a step in the right direction. You have to want it, and saying so sets the right tone.

Culture change takes patience. A nuclear solution may seem tempting, especially if the organization is confronting some toxic issues, but developing a game plan and then executing incrementally has the greater chance for success. Incremental doesn’t have to mean slow. To satisfy those favoring urgency, I offer this reminder, that the enemy of a good plan is the perfect plan. There’s no need to wait for an exhaustive, fully-baked plan if there are small steps that can send positive signals to the workforce and start to make a difference.

Question: How can internal communications aid in developing a company culture?

In matters of culture and branding, you have to look to the core of the organization. Top-down communication is a business reality, and not a negative one. But in order for top-down to be effective, it must start at the top but then be two-way and transparent. The workforce looks to its leaders to set the agenda, and buy-in happens when employees are trusted and respected to be “in on” the game plan.

Employees feel trusted when their managers engage in real dialogue with them about the business. Meaning and purpose are much bigger factors in an increasingly millennial workforce. A CEO Corner of the newsletter means nothing without evidence that actual dialogue is happening in the organization. Our imperative as professional communicators is to act in an ambassador role and facilitate the dialogue.

Question: Why is it important for companies to infuse culture into their hiring process?

“Hire for fit” is a philosophy that I wish more companies would practice. Some may say they like to hire for it, but when they rely on keyword matching to identify qualified candidates, they’re likely to miss back stories of candidates who would be ideal matches for their culture.

The same applies to the interview process. The employer and the candidate need to be candid with one another to make sure they share matching values. That doesn’t mean there’s a textbook values statement that fits every employer. Both parties just need to know what those values are.

Question: Which companies do you think do this best and why?

Thanks to my internal brand communication students, I get to vicariously experience the “greatest hits” of the business world in terms of strong, positive cultures. Some of the most noted success stories, of course, are companies like Google and Zappos. They are famous for their incredibly progressive work conditions, things like game play, flex time and other perks. But I don’t think that’s the whole story. I know of fast-food and even beef-packing plants that have strong cultures that are based on human relations – just treating people with trust and respect.

Question: Can you share a resource or two that can help students that are interested in learning more about the impact the internal communications and culture have on hiring the best employees?

Two recently published books come to mind, partly because I know the authors and have benefitted directly from their fantastic teaching. The first is Ripple: A Field Manual for Leadership That Works by Chris Hutchinson of The Trebuchet Group. Chris has helped many dysfunctional organizations get their act together. Another is David Firth’s Change Your Organization One Word at a Time. David transforms organizations from “have to go to work” to “want to go to work” cultures.

Professor Michael Kohler was just recognized at #INTEGRATE2015 as the winner of the Alexia Vanides IMC Teaching Award, an award based solely on student nominations. Speaking from personal experience, he is an extremely inspiring educator, advisor and mentor. He pushes students to be their best and I’m thrilled to see him as the recipient of the award this year. Professor Kohler teaches Internal Communications as an IMC elective and if you are interested in employee engagement, internal communications and company culture it’s the elective for you. If you’ve already graduated or don’t have any more electives left, read Inside the organization: Perspectives on employee communications by Jack LeMenager, one of the class textbooks. It is a quick read that provides an outstanding overview of the importance and impact that internal communications and culture creation have on a company.

While sometimes overlooked in the IMC landscape, Internal Communications and company culture impact everything from talent recruitment to employee productivity and marketing transparency. Don’t forget how important it is!

INTEGRATE 2015: Speaker Profile – Steve Radick

March 23, 2015

“Integrated marketing can’t be a mandate. It has to be a mindset.”
– Steve Radick VP, Director of Public Relations at Brunner in Pittsburgh 


The tweet-worthy quote Steve shared with me in the interview below highlights the quality of thought leadership content that will be shared with attendees at the INTEGRATE conference.

Registration is still open. However, early bird rates end on March 31st.

@Julie_Long_: On your blog you stated, “Integrated marketing involves a lot more than simply bringing the SEO guy to the meeting.” How do you define IMC and who should be attending meetings?

@sradick: There’s this misperception in the industry that integrated marketing means having a bunch of boxes on an org chart. Just because you have a Director of Search, and a VP of Media, a Director of PR, a Senior Social Media Strategist, and a User Experience Czar doesn’t mean that you’ve got an integrated marketing agency. You’re actually more likely to have an old-fashioned game of Hungry Hungry Hippos on your hands – everyone’s scratching and clawing to get more money and power for their respective discipline. Integrated marketing is about more than giving each department a seat at the table – it’s about making sure the people in those seats are more concerned with the business than themselves.

If you focus only on involving people because of where they are on the org chart, you’ll get people who build from the bottom up. That is, the social media guy thinks social media will solve everything. The paid media guy wants a paid media solution. And so on and so on. You end up with a bunch of strategies and tactics that someone then has to cobble together into a single, coherent strategy. Shouldn’t we instead strive to build strategies from the top down? Get the people in the room who are focused on meeting the business objectives first, not his or her line of business. Integrated marketing can’t be a mandate. It has to be a mindset.

@Julie_Long_: At INTEGRATE 2015, your presentation will be focusing on the arms race currently taking place in content marketing. Can you tease us with any of the topic areas that will be discussed?

@sradick: Just like the hammer in search of a nail, marketers are spending more and more of their time and energy reducing every conversation, article, and photo to a piece of data, all in an effort to maximize their ROI and deliver the most eyeballs at the lowest price. There was a time wayyyy back when, in 2010, when content marketing best practices were to write a blog post and post to Facebook 3-4 times a week. As more content was created, it became harder and harder to stand out though. Marketers took this as a challenge and figured that the best way to solve this problem was to pump out even more content. The more you post, the more chances there are of people seeing it right? Instead of a world where brands created content that solved problems, added value, or created deeper relationships with customers, we created a world where more simply equals better. That’s why there’s so much spam and so many banner ads. It’s easier to spam a million people in the hopes that 1% of them will click rather than creating something valuable for 50,000 people where 20% will click. Where does it stop?

Content marketing gives us the opportunity to rethink how brands market themselves for the better – if we can stop ourselves from trying to game the system and instead think about how to best optimize our relationships with our customers.

@Julie_Long_: Students/Alums: Submit one career advancement question for Steve and the winning question will be personally answered by him at INTEGRATE.

Post your question in the comments section below.


A special thank you goes out to Steve for taking the time to provide his thoughtful contributions to this article.

INTEGRATE 2015: Speaker Profile – Lisa Nirell

February 18, 2015

How many times have you encountered marketing efforts that epically fail to deliver value to customers?

Last week, I came across a promotion from a car dealer that offered free wiper blades with any visit to the service department. When I presented my coupon to the Service and Parts Manager, he advised me that the free blades were of sub-standard quality. Instead, he recommended that I pay for the factory guaranteed wiper inserts. (#marketingfail)

Failed marketing efforts come in all shapes and sizes. Brands that continue to rely on the old bait-and-switch marketing tactic may get customers in the door, but the failure to deliver value will not keep customers coming back for more. As savvy customers, we expect more from brands. Customers, like myself, want brands to be transparent. A smart transparent brand would not even bother advertising a sub-standard product to a repeat customer.

Brands that still rely on advertising or promotional tactics without providing any value-add content need to become more mindful of the wants, needs, and desires of their customers. Otherwise, they simply become irrelevant.

Building content and fostering behaviors customers trust requires adopting a mindful approach. Lisa Nirell, chief energy officer at  EnergizeGrowth®  and the author of the book The Mindful Marketer: How to Stay Present and Profitable in a Data-Driven World, understands the current power struggle taking place in the marketing field between big data and mindfulness. Her advice to marketers is to “Set your intentions so that your best marketing innovations and programs improve your customers condition, and society as a whole.”

Portrait of Lisa Nirell

Lisa defines a mindful marketer as a “leader who influences the hearts and minds of others to improve their condition, or the world at large.” To make better decisions, she encourages marketers to find their Inner Marketing Guru (IMG). Contrary to what today’s technology and consulting providers will tell you, big data and quick promotional wins to get customers in the door will not win over your customers. Instead of encouraging marketers to do more, Lisa suggests you need to be more; to cultivate your inner wisdom.

I highly recommend reading The Mindful Marketer! The book is divided into three sections consisting of twenty-two chapters. The opening chapter titled, “Why CMOs Are Facing Extinction” helps to set the tone of this no-holds-barred book. Within each chapter, Lisa presents contemporary examples that will validate and confirm your feelings on the existing power struggle plaguing many marketing departments. At the close of each chapter, she poses a question to readers to help them to find their Inner Marketing Guru.


Lisa will be a featured speaker at INTEGRATE 2015. As we wait in anticipation for the event,  I asked Lisa what attendees can expect from her keynote. Here’s what she said:

@Julie_Long_: What can attendees expect from your presentation at INTEGRATE?

@lisa_nirell:  “Get ready to discover new approaches and strategies to help you eliminate the most common mindless digital marketing habits, build stronger customer communities, and create more time to innovate. You will hear fresh examples from my top clients, as well as Miraval, 15Five, Blackboard, and other marketing innovators.”

@Julie_Long_: I am looking forward to Lisa’s mindful session! I would also like to thank her for providing me a copy of The Mindful Marketer, which helped me to prepare this blog post. Be sure to follow Lisa on twitter (@lisa_nirell) and her complimentary book resources and videos here.

Please join us at the INTEGRATE conference from May 29-30, 2015 in Morgantown, WV! Click here to register and learn more.

INTEGRATE 2015: Speaker Profile – Rod Brooks

December 22, 2014

To make sure that you have the best experience at INTEGRATE 2015, I will be profiling a few of the speakers as part of a multi-part blog series.

Rod Brooks

Rod Brooks, V.P. & Chief Marketing Officer – PEMCO Insurance, is the first speaker on the list. In an email interview, Rod answered a question I presented to him about digital strategy. His answer below is a great preview of the caliber of marketing wisdom he will be sharing when he takes the stage at INTEGRATE.

Rod – On social media you posted the following Forrester quote: “74% of business executives say their company has a digital strategy, but only 15% believe their company has the skills and capabilities to execute.” This is a very scary statistic! Of the 15% minority, what skills and capabilities do you view as being important to their success? Would having an integrated marketing skill set be a plus?

It’s a great question Julie. There is definitely a talent gap between the digital marketing requirements of today’s brand marketers and the skills that exist within the available work force. There’s no doubt that students with an understanding and experience of an integrated approach to marketing will have an advantage. Keeping in mind that there isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” solution, I believe that it will be critical for successful marketing leaders to close the gap in six key areas.

1. Business Planning. In order to execute a digital marketing plan you first have to be capable of writing or informing one. A digital marketing plan must serve a business purpose. Starting with a clearly written objective, a business plan should outline the goals, risks, resource requirements, budget, and a high level concept of the plan. From there a digital roadmap, or plan of action, will be created to serve as the “blueprint” for execution.

2. Analytical Planning and Assessment. You can’t improve what you can’t measure. And you can’t measure what you aren’t analyzing. In this era of relevance, marketers must use data driven marketing to assess the competitive landscape. Similarly, marketers must be equipped to analyze customer segments for their uniqueness and specific interests in order to deliver relevant messages to the right people at the right time. It will be essential for digital marketers to have members of their staff who have learned the ins and outs of web analytics, including conversion optimization and A/B testing. The talk about “big data” is more than hype. Brands that fail to close the analytics gap will quickly fall behind in today’s fast-paced digital world. And, I must add, these are not skills that baby boomers – people like me – were taught as we entered the business world and advanced in the marketing profession. This will be an era of the employee teaching their leader.

3. Mobile Marketing. The mobile first revolution is real and it’s now. Brands are working hard to catch up with the momentum that this wide sweeping technology has put in the hands of consumers. Unfortunately, the talent that is needed to make the move is scarce and underdeveloped. Talent requirements include a clear understanding of how to drive business success through the use of responsive design, differentiated mobile applications, and contact management systems, just to name a few.

4. Marketing Automation.  Those who understand the tools and platforms that enable increased effectiveness and efficiency are in high demand by winning brands and agencies alike. I don’t see this trend slowing down anytime soon. Students who are able to influence and introduce best practices in areas like big data, predictive analytics, customer relationship management, and lead scoring and nurturing are certain to have an advantage in the marketplace.

5. Creativity. In order to set brands apart from their competition an element of creativity is going to be required. This is as true in digital marketing as in any other discipline – if not greater. Whether writing website copy, instituting a lead nurturing plan, or developing your brands “killer app,” creative talent is needed to design the user experience. There’s no real substitute for creative confidence. I encourage everyone to build it within themselves in the areas that they are most passionate about.

6. Writing. I was in the audience when former CBS News anchor Dan Rather addressed an audience of college students attending a communications symposium. Rather offered three tips that, he said, would ensure the success of every student with an ounce of ambition in the room. His list, in priority order: First, learn to write. Next, learn to write. And third, learn to write. His point was well made and is of critical importance. While our world is changing and digital sharing and marketing are here to stay, nothing has replaced the need to be capable of communicating. Learn to write.

Attend INTEGRATE 2015 and learn from incredible marketing leaders at St. Jude, HGTV, SeaWorld and more!

Use code IMC2015 through the end of this month for the best rate.

Be sure to save the following dates: May 29-30, 2015

Looking forward to seeing everyone this May in Morgantown, WV!

Who has already purchased a ticket? 

Breaking Down the Tao of Social Media Marketing with Mark Schaefer

August 20, 2014

Two years ago, I was a first year graduate student looking to find a sense of professional purpose. With four classes completed, I decided to make the journey to Morgantown, WV to attend the annual INTEGRATE conference. Any obstacles that stood out in my mind to get there were outweighed by the knowledge I gained when I departed. One presentation, in particular, still stands out in my mind as being a pivotal moment in my journey to finding my professional return on influence.


WVU Alum, Mark Schaefer took to the stage at INTEGRATE on June 2, 2012  to present key points from his book Return On Influence. With a Klout score of 75, Mark knows more than a thing or two about social media, blogging, and marketing. In addition to his successful Businesses Grow blog, Mark is an accomplished author. His widely popular book The Tao of Twitter has received high praise as being a  #1 Best Selling Book On Twitter.  In the past two years since the book was first released Twitter has drastically changed so much so that Mark revised and expanded The Tao of Twitter. 

If you have not seen Mark’s presentation, I highly suggest watching it before reading the questions and answers presented below.

Mark was gracious enough to answer a few questions I had in regards to what has changed in the Twitterverse, best practices for live tweeting along with the realities of social media marketing.

Return On Influence: The New Realities of Power and Marketing on the Internet

Long: At the WVU INTEGRATE 2012 conference, you highlighted key points from your book Return On Influence. Two years later, have the realities of power and marketing on the internet changed, or have they stayed the same?

Schaefer: I would say that everything I talked about indeed has come true, perhaps even more rapidly than I could have imagined. Big agencies and small are creating influence marketing departments. Being an influencer is becoming increasingly lucrative (even I am starting to make some money in this area!). And new measurement platforms are emerging.

I think the dynamics of acquiring power that I talked about in my book and my speech are the same. Yes. I called that one correctly! : )

Long: For graduate students starting to provide social media consultation services, what advice can you offer?

Schaefer: The biggest mistake I see is the people enter this space without any real marketing experience. Before you go out on your own, get a marketing job and learn about the broad spectrum of activities before focusing on social media. If you are a social media “hammer” and everything is a nail, you would be doing a disservice to both youself and your customers.

I also think an exposure to statistics is a must. You don’t have to be an expert, but increasingly, marketing insight is coming from big data and math. You need to know enough about it to ask the right questions.

If you are going to go out on your own, be prepared to be broke for two years. Build your personal brand through blogging, videos and public speaking.

Long: With the rise of live event tweeting, what best practices should both presenters and attendees be putting into practice?
Schaefer: For presenters, be sure to include your Twitter handle and the event hashtag on all your slides. Embed tweetable moments [– short key points — on slides to make it easy for the reporters. Don’t go too fast and make your slides available after the event.

For reporters, don’t get so involved in the tweeting that you miss the presentation. Proof read everything before you tweet. Remember that a tweet has the same legal weight as a blog post or other online article so you need to be fair and accurate. If the speaker says something controversial or inflammatory, remember that you might be held legally accountable as the person sending out the tweet.

Long: If you could only follow ten people on Twitter who would make it onto your feed?

Schaefer: If I could only follow 10 people, they would all be my customers. Twitter is an amazing opportunity for marketing insight, and I would not want to miss a thing!

Long: You recently revised your widely popular book The Tao of Twitter. How has Twitter changed in the 2 years since the book was first released? 

Schaefer: So much has changed in the Twitterverse since I wrote the first edition. In fact, I really had to consider whether Twitter is still the hub of human connection it was when I fell in love with it many years ago. Does Twitter still have a heart or is it just another broadcast channel?

Specifically, there have been four powerful new developments driving Twitter:

• Twitter has experienced explosive growth, finding new audiences among younger and older users as well as new fans globally and corporations. Twitter is being used in so many creative new ways we could not have imagined just a few years ago.

• It has matured into a public company with a responsibility to shareholders. This has altered its strategy and how it relates to its customers and fans.

• Twitter has developed innovative advertising programs that are accessible to businesses with nearly any budget. But many businesses don’t understand the unique features of these programs.

• Twitter has become the de facto “second screen” for television, providing the channel of interactivity for live programming. This is a role that is now driving many of its strategies. It has also driven the hashtag (#) into our everyday culture!

Make sure to follow Mark to keep up with his latest endeavors in the social media field.

Linked In

If you have read one of his books, let me know what was the biggest lesson that you were able to realize out in the social media field?


INTEGRATE2014 Recap: Lee Odden

May 31, 2014

Digital Convergence: The Integrated Marketing & PR Imperative was a knock out session. Lee Odden’s dynamic presentation style captivated the audience and gave us great tips and reminders to incorporate into our IMC worlds.

After engaging in the session, I think my blog title is a bit misleading.  There is no way a blog post would even make a dent in recapping Lee’s session or capturing the amazing information and presentation style shared with us this morning.

So, if you weren’t at the session (or even if you were) I challenge you to think of the word “optimizing” very differently.  It seems as though every time I mention the word “optimize” people automatically think of it in terms of digital media or graphic design.  The biggest take away from the session today was optimizing content for your audience.  Lee encouraged us to start the marketing process with empathy.  As marketers we need to think of what are customers need and how we can help them get it.  How can we optimize our content to help our clients get where they need to go?   How can we make their jobs and their lives easier so that they will want to communicate with us?  He mentioned journalists as a prime example.  Years ago journalists were not thought of as a target market, but Lee saw them as a target market and changed the way he provided information to them.  Instead of simple press releases the information was rich and included materials journalists need, but don’t have the time to track down.  Starting with empathy lead to significant changes in the way the information was presented. You need to make sure that when a customer is looking for answers, your information is there to help them.

Lee also empowered the audience to think a bit differently (Not surprising).  He reiterated that we can change the game in regards to content marketing.  As he says, “If you want to be in the media, become the media.”

I”ll leave you with Lee’s 3 Key Takeaways and highly encourage you to speak with him at the conference, or see him present in the near future.  If talking to people isn’t your thing, you can read his blog or check out his book, Optimize.

  • If you want to be in the media – become the media
  • Build amplification into the content design process – be the best answer wherever customers are looking
  • Keep content accountable across channels – attract, engage, convert


If you attended Lee’s session or have read his book, Optimize, what were your favorite parts? What got you the most excited?

INTEGRATE 2014: General Session 2 – Gini Dietrich

May 31, 2014

As a presenter at day one of INTEGRATE 2014, Gini Dietrich was charismatic, insightful, and straight to the point. She won the audience over with her smile, quick quips and train wreck worthy media examples of how not to promote clients to their publics. The correct way being to avoid the “spin zone” and the use of the “sex sells strategy” at any and all costs.

During the presentation, Gini got to the heart of why “spin sucks.” Spin being defined in the following ways: whisper campaigns, astroturfing, or anything else that could be loosely viewed as spin worthy.

Gini encouraged attendees to think with integrity. She stated, “Spin sucks and you cannot afford to be unethical. You have to think about it from a long-term perspective. And if you do, you will win in the end.” Wise words coming from a veteran professional who has no problem telling her clients that her team will not be able to do X for them.

When faced with a difficult situation Gini kept mentioning the phrase, “This is a marathon and not a sprint.” How many times in the IMC field have you tried to figure everything out all at once? Sometimes it is better to enjoy the marathon instead of sprinting to the finish line.

A special thank you to Gini for mentioning my participation in her blog ambassador program for her new book Spin Sucks: Communication and Reputation Management in the Digital Age. If you did not read the article she mentioned that went viral on Twitter you can find it here.




                (Pictured: Myself, Gerry Michaels, Gini Dietrich)

 Which lesson from the presentation will you take back and apply to your industry?

The virtual handshake.

May 27, 2014

Nine weeks. Discussion posts due Wednesday night. Four response posts due Friday night. Writing assignments due Monday night.

Whether you’re a student in Brand Equity Management or Emerging Media and the Market, most class formatting in the IMC program is consistent.

First day of term. What’s Week 1, Question 1? You know the drill: “Introduce yourself to the class.” Adding my own thread to the discussion board, as well as reading where fellow classmates are from, what work they do, and how they enjoy their free time, is almost like a virtual handshake. Once you learn about someone, it makes learning with that person so much more interesting.

That being said, those of us attending INTEGRATE this weekend have the chance to shake hands and introduce ourselves in person. It’s a unique opportunity for us to communicate without hitting “submit”!

Central Europe 165

As Kat mentioned in her post, please say hi if you see one of us bloggers at the conference sessions or events! Looking forward to INTEGRATE!



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