Posts Tagged ‘INTEGRATE’

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 

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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.

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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. http://imc.wvu.edu/integrate/register-online

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.

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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.

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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

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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.

 

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                (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”!

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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!

-Rebecca

Preparing for Integrate!

May 23, 2014

I am ecstatic to be attending INTEGRATE next week. I wasn’t sure I would be able to make it to Morgantown before I graduated, but am thrilled I was able to use this conference as a professional development experience this year. Before heading out I wanted to share with you five of my tips for attending conferences.

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  • Pre-network: I’m a bit of an introvert and walking into a networking session not knowing anybody is very challenging for me. One thing I do to prepare for this is to reach out to people on Facebook, Twitter, and in class to see who is attending and when they’ll be arriving. That way I’ve already started to make connections with people and feel more comfortable walking into those events. (I’m serious…if you see me walk right up and say hi. Networking is only awkward for the first few minutes.)
  • Bring business cards! It may seem like a no brainer, but I cannot tell you how many times people have asked for my card and I’m out. Additionally, I’ve notice that my phone number isn’t on there. I write my office number of the back of the cards in advance so that it doesn’t take time away from a great conversation. I also find it very beneficial to write on the back of someone else’s business card how I met them or something else to help me remember them. You meet a lot of people at conferences and even though you think you’ll remember them chances are you won’t!
  • Research and schedule: I find that I can look through the conference schedule 100 times beforehand, plan everything out, and as soon as I get to the conference I go rogue. All my planning goes out the window and I find sessions that I didn’t see before that might be interesting. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I do recommend looking at the schedule in advance. I also think that doing a little background research on the keynote speakers helps you be more engaged in the presentation and helps you make a connection with the presenter if there’s time for questions.
  • Develop your system: While I was at the ACUI conference in April I was still trying to figure out how to make the most of my conference experience during the conference. I was taking notes in Evernote on my iPad and my iPhone. There was a syncing issue and I lost everything that had been documented on my phone. I recommend trying to figure out a system so that you’re not scrambling to document things or lose valuable information.
  • Dive in: Again, not rocket science, but I do think it is valuable information. Like I said, I’m a bit of an introvert and buying into things that are out of my comfort zone is not always an easy task. I encourage you to dive right into the conference so that you don’t walk away saying “I wish I would have tried this” or “I wish I would have done that.” You only get one chance to build these connections and have these experiences, so it’s important that you take advantage of them.

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I hope you found this information beneficial. If you see me at an event or session please come up and say hi. I really do love meeting new people! I also encourage you to join the Facebook event so you can “pre-network” with others that are attending!

Seven things I wish I had known when I started the IMC program

May 1, 2014

It’s hard to believe that I started this journey to get my Master’s Degree three and a half years ago and it’s about to end in less than two weeks! I have learned A LOT in the last 3.5 years — about marketing yes, but also about endurance, time management, writing, research, and myself. Some of these lessons I picked up early on, and others only more recently. But all of them are things I wish I had learned a bit sooner. So here it is. For all of you who are just getting started in the program (and even those of you who have been with it a little while), here are seven (because five was too few and ten was too many) things I wish I had known when I started the IMC program.

1. Time management takes on a whole new level in the IMC program. No matter how good you think you are at time management, you will find yourself hitting that submit button with only seconds to spare at least once per semester. At first I thought maybe it was just me. But then I started connecting with some of my classmates offline and found out I wasn’t alone! Even the most dedicated and disciplined of classmates has had a week or two (or 9) when they have found themselves working feverishly on Monday night only to click that upload button at 11:54 p.m. I don’t recommend doing this a lot (I personally have had way too many close calls), but cut yourself some slack if it happens every once in a while. And know that Murphy’s Law will prevail and those assignments that you think won’t be such a big deal will end up taking you twice as long to get done! So try and start early as often as you can to save yourself the stress.

Calvin and Hobbs on procrastination

We all find ourselves hitting the submit button at 11:54 at one time or another.

2. Quality sources make all the difference! As I progressed through the program I learned from each professor which trade publications and sources they favored for quality information when doing research. Some of these I subscribed to early-on and used throughout the course, others I only discovered late in the game and I wish I had thought of them sooner. So, here are a few that I recommend you sign-up for now: AdAge, AdWeek, PR Week, DM News, Pew Research, and MarketingProfs. I also highly recommend you take advantage of the online library databases for accessing journals and competitor/industry information. They’re free and they will give you information you will not find in a Google search. I’m sure there are more that classmates can recommend, but those are the gold standards that have helped me through many a discussion board post and weekly paper!

3. INTEGRATE is awesome. Seriously. You should go! At least once. I almost didn’t go last year and changed my mind at the last minute and I’m so glad I did. Not only were there some great sessions, but it was the first chance I had to meet classmates and professors in person and see the WVU campus. It made me feel so much more connected to the program. I only wish I had gone sooner.

Evernote on an iPad

Evernote helps me work on school work from any place or device.

4. Empower yourself to be mobile. I think I was about 3 semesters into the program when I read a blog post by Kevin that talked about some of his favorite tools that helped him find success in the IMC program. It was the first time I had ever heard of Evernote. It has since become one of my favorite go-to programs for school, work and personal life. Using a tool like Evernote or Microsoft OneNote allows you to save your research, and even write your discussion board posts or papers in one place, but access it from any device. So whether you’re in your office at your desk, sitting on the couch at home with your iPad, or even on your phone while waiting for your kids to finish their piano lessons, you can sneak in a little work and pick right back where you left off at the next opportune moment.

5. Every professor is different. It’s true. No matter how consistent the program is (and trust me, it’s pretty darn consistent compared to others I know about), or how standardized the syllabus, each professor is going to communicate differently and grade differently. They are human, after all! Yet for some reason I’ve seen a lot of classmates get very upset by this fact. Were your undergrad professors all the same? I highly doubt it. I know mine weren’t. You will have favorites and some that kick-your-butt! And there may not be consensus on this by your classmates…so just because your friend said they loved Professor so-and-so doesn’t mean you will. All I can say is accept this fact now and it will save you a lot of disappointment and frustration down the road. For my part (and I have nothing to gain by saying this since I’m pretty much done with the program), I found all of my professors to be reasonable and fair.

6. Connect with classmates outside of Blackboard. It wasn’t until very recently that I got invited to a Facebook Group for IMC students, that was created by a classmate (and is not officially affiliated with the IMC program). This has been one of the best discoveries of the last 3 years because it has allowed me to “meet” people I’ve never had class with, ask for suggestions, tips and recommendations relating to certain classes, share ideas, commiserate about our lack of a life on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights, and just in general talk…you know that thing you did in the hallways when you were in undergrad? The stories that got shared around the lunch table or in the lobby of your dorm room? That stuff is missing when you’re in an online program. But thanks to social media there are ways to connect with colleagues outside of class. Whether it’s through Facebook, LinkedIn or even email, I highly recommend you get connected to other students outside of the Blackboard classroom! In fact if you’re interested in joining the Facebook group let me know!

7. At some point you will want to quit. OK, maybe this won’t happen to everyone, but I know that a good majority of the people I’ve met through the program have contemplated it at least once before they finish. And some even do quit…for a semester or two. Whether your personal life changes, your work life gets too hectic, or you just plain need a break, at some point you may find yourself wondering – “Can I really keep doing this?” The answer is YES! Yes, you can, even if you have to take a break — don’t give up! You will be so glad when you cross that finish line.

A Good Night and a Goodbye

June 4, 2012

Hello from Washington, DC, where I’m spending a few days with family after participating in last weekend’s Integrate Conference. The conference wrapped up in fine fashion, by the way, with the keynote dinner at Milan Puskar Stadium on Saturday evening. The setting, networking, and food were excellent, as always, but the big news is how the conference staff stepped up the educational content this year by securing a keynote presentation from Fred Cook, CEO, GolinHarris.

If you’re wondering what the head of a top ten agency was doing at a banquet in Morgantown, WV on a Saturday night, well, so was I. It quickly became clear, however, that he is an ideal messenger for IMC, having just led his firm through a complete overhaul to prevolve in the face of media, messages, and channel convergence. See for yourself:

It says a lot about Mr. Cook that he travelled to speak to our group and a lot about the IMC program that they asked him to do so.

After the keynote, it was time to say goodbye to everyone and call it a day on another successful conference. And now, it’s time for me to say goodbye and hand the reigns over to other IMC bloggers, both new and continuing, so they can give their perspectives on what it’s like to participate in this valuable, innovative program and community known as IMC at WVU.

I entered the Masters program in early 2010 with an eye towards transitioning to a career that was more focused on marketing and communication. Now, having graduated in December and accepted a position in the field just ten days ago, I feel like the pieces are falling into place. It’s too early to declare success (I probably never will), but I do know I’m more confident, knowledgeable, and connected now than I was three years ago. I have my professors, fellow students, and the IMC staff to thank for that. And, I’m glad I was able to thank so many of them in person during the past few days.


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