Posts Tagged ‘Marketing and Advertising’

IMC Professionals Need to be Teachers

September 19, 2013

One of the things that I’ve come to realize working in IMC is that in order to be successful you need to be a teacher.   Co-workers need to feel as though they’re part of th6779845035_2811391941_oe team, even if they have no marketing experience.  Last year our organization decided to create IMC plans for each department, which resulted in nine different plans in our building that all worked up to overarching IMC goals. It was a tremendous amount of work, but now our marketing efforts are more aligned and more measurable.

Just as we did when we started developing our branding project, the first step was to teach staff the importance and value of creating these campaigns.  This included multiple presentations and workshops in order to teach the staff about IMC.  Those workshops were followed by a group discussion that helped our staff, as a team, come up with our SWOT analysis and overall IMC goals for the organization.  At the workshops, departmental IMC workbooks were given out in order to help the staff organize their thoughts and ideas.  Staff members were challenged with setting marketing objectives for their department that helped the overall organization achieve overarching IMC objectives.  During the next year, multiple meetings were conducted to create comprehensive IMC plans for use in the 2013-2014 fiscal year.  Here are some valuable lessons learned during this process that I hope will help other marketing professionals in their quest to integrate marketing efforts.

  • Teach the importance and value: When you think about it, it’s a good thing that not everyone in your organization is completely focused on marketing.  Everyone at the table is there because they have a skill set that helps make the company productive.  Utilize this to your advantage! Use presentation time to teach the important of IMC and how it will better individual departments and the organization as a whole.  You don’t have to prepare lessons plans, but it is important to teach the significance of what you’re doing.  If co-workers do not understand the value, they won’t be invested and your job will be much more difficult.
  • Make things as simple as possible: As previously mentioned, not everyone lives and breathes marketing.  Listen to ideas – you many not use them – but listening helps people feel valued and invested.  Relate marketing topics to things that make sense in their daily work.  What will be meaningful to them? What will make them care about marketing?
  • Work together: Our organization is made of individual departments, so it was very important to work with each one and listen to their needs and ideas.  What will work for one department will not work for another.  It is critical to incorporate departmental needs into that of the overall organization.  Facilitating discussion and providing ideas is great however, if individuals feel they help create the ideas and goals, they will be more invested.
  • Start with tactics and work your way up: We found that the easiest way to make this happen was to have everyone write down the tactics they’re doing now in the categories they believe they were in (direct, paid ads, public relations, etc.).  Then we worked up to objectives – thinking about what we wanted all of these tactics to achieve.  This was much easier for everyone because they were able to see how much they were doing.  This helped calm nerves and make the project a little less overwhelming.  Then we were able to show how achieving those goals would support the goals of the overall organization.
  • Check in consistently: Marketing goals are not the primary responsibilities of everyone in your organization.  Continually checking with departments and sharing information is a great way to keep top of mind awareness and show the value of taking an IMC approach.  There is always emerging media, ideas, and processes that are suppose to simplify life, but consistency is the key to maintaining and getting staff buy in with marketing efforts.

Every organization is different and these ideas may not work for everyone.  I believe that no matter who the client is or who you’re “selling” IMC to, you need to be a teacher.  You cannot tell people to be invested, you have to convince them they want to be part of the solution.

What have you learned from working in IMC?  Any other teaching tips you’d like to share?

Let’s {Not} Talk About Branding

August 5, 2013

Everywhere you go branding seems to be a hot button issue.  “Pick us! We can help you create your brand!”

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So often branding, or your brand, is viewed as something we need to do or talk about.  As our beloved IMC 618 class and Marty Neumeier taught us, a brand isn’t what you say it is, it’s what your customers say it is.  Yes, companies have some control over their brand however, it really boils down to how your customers view your product, service, or organization.  That being said, companies and organizations need to stop talking about branding, or a brand, as something you can completely manipulate and control.  Discussions around branding should stem from a great understanding of who you are as an organization and how you are viewed by your clients.  Your promise to them (who you say you are) should be the foundation for every major decision within your organization.

A few years ago, my organization went through what we lovingly refer to as our Branding Project.  We created a process, similar to the Brand Gap, in which we reevaluated who we were as an organization and how we were viewed by the students on our campus.  It was a very long process that we’re still developing today.  Yes, we did come out of the project with a shiny new logo, but that wasn’t the most important development.  We also came out of the project with a much deeper understanding of who we are, why that matters, and what we need to do in order to live up to the expectations of students on campus  Now, a company can’t be all things to all people and by staying true to your brand you may lose people.  That’s ok! Your remaining customers will become more invested and you will find new customers.  It’s important to think of branding as attempting to align your identity (internal) and your image (external).

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If a company aims to improve their brand image, and discussions on branding need to occur, those conversations should run the gamete of the entire organization, not focus solely on the marketing department.  Are your employees happy and do they treat customers with respect?  What kind of environment are customers stepping into when they walk into your business?  Is the facility clean and welcoming?  Do your customers understand the message you’re trying to convey?  Many times, companies measure the results of initiatives aimed to improve their brand image in a marketing scope.  Increased brand awareness is equated to increased website traffic, more engagement on social media, or an increase in sales.  Those are all great measurement tools however, companies and organizations must measure the content of the message as well as the effectiveness of the  marketing.  Organizations today should set separate branding and marketing goals.  Think about measuring the effectiveness of the content and the effectiveness of the content placement.

It is extremely important for your organization to take their brand image and identity into consideration every day.  However, a shift needs to occur from talking ABOUT branding, to talking from a branding perspective.  Incorporate how you want your customers to view you into every aspect of your organization and you’ll find greater success!

And we’re off!

June 2, 2012

Greetings from Morgantown and the #Integrate2012 conference. It’s a long way to get here from Seattle, but I knew it would be worth it just to have some more face time with other IMC students, grads, and faculty/staff. In fact, I decided to travel back for this program in lieu of graduation because the networking at last year’s program was so fun and valuable.

What I didn’t know when I registered back in April is that I would also be attending as the newly-selected marketing manager for a high-end research software company based in Seattle. I’ll be starting in that capacity later this month, so I’m now choosing which sessions to attend based on their applicability to my new position. That’s one reason I was at this afternoon’s session by Susan K. and William Jones on “How to help sales and marketing bring out the best in each other.”

The Jones’, a husband-and-wife team who are both IMC professors, discussed the historical reasons for tensions between the two roles and then modeled some concepts and behaviors that can lead to a new, more-profitable path. Bottom line: a focus on the customer, backed by incentives that reinforce that focus, is a great place to start in bringing sales and marketing together. It got me thinking about the fact that salespeople are often the key brand ambassadors for their customers and prospects and wondering how IMC pros can do more to bring sales into the loop on key messages about the organization or brand. What are your thoughts on that front?

The other workshop that I participated in covered the application of IMC to events of all types, from small receptions or training programs to huge tradeshows and conventions. As a former planner and training manager with 245 programs under my belt, I was curious to learn some new ideas for event-related strategic messaging. Bottom line on this one is that no detail is too small when it comes to events and that everyone from the organization and the facility need to a) be on-message regarding the goals and theme for the event and b) working to bring that messaging to the participants. But, at the same time, it’s important not to take yourself, your message, or your event too seriously — proof of this was delivered through a “case study” that was shown near the end of the session, which you can (and should) watch right here:

The lessons from this session were on-display at tonight’s networking reception, as current and former students shared war stories with each other about the IMC at WVU program. We also encouraged prospective students to get involved and educated other attendees about the unique features that have made this program that right choice for so many of us.

And that was day one in Morgantown. Tomorrow’s a full day, so see you all in the morning.

Don’t Buy This Jacket

March 14, 2012

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

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

"Don't Buy This Jacket" ad from Patagonia

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

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