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Marketing Communications Today Blog


About Marketing Communications Today

Marketing Communications Today is a collection of resources for marketing communications professionals filled with industry research, marketing trends, and career information about integrated marketing and data-driven communications. Learn industry insights through the Marketing Communications Today blog, podcast, as well as Integrate Online.

Fueled by the academic innovation coming out of WVU’s own Integrated Marketing Communications, Data Marketing Communications and Digital Marketing Communications programs, this content will provide both aspiring learners and seasoned marketing professionals with better insights into what’s now and what’s next in marketing and communications.

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3 Takeaways from the Authenticity Boom

During one of our latest Integrate Online sessions we talked all about the authenticity boom – a recent trend in the marketing communications industry. Authenticity isn’t a new word, but has been showing up more across the industry, likely as a growing consumer need. Our panelists included the following: Takara T. Pierce, Alex McPherson and Justin Hoot. In addition, this conversation was moderated by IMC professor, Bonnie Harris. Here are the top 3 takeaways from the conversation:

If consumers are shifting their behaviors to support brands that align more closely with their values, how can brands meet this need? Ultimately, your actions have to align with everything you are saying – authenticity cannot be manufactured.

As many brands are going green with growing concern for our planet, there are now certifications to ensure that greenwashing is less likely to occur. Although these measures have been put in place to avoid greenwashing, there are still brands using buzz words like “sustainability” and “clean energy” without the actions to support their commitments. On the flip side, you have brands like Patagonia who radically transformed how they makes products and money, all while fundamentally understanding the importance of systems change. This brand practices its commitment to change internally and externally as it shares its mission with the world.

Read Full Article: 3 Takeaways from the Authenticity Boom

Can the Travel and Hospitality Industry Get Out of its Own Way?

Since the pandemic, airlines and hotels have taken a huge kick to the stomach. But now, it seems they can’t get out of their own way. Delays, poor service, and inadequate staffing, all in the face of massive demand and booming revenues. The result? Record low customer satisfaction and defections.

Joining us from Singapore is Mark Ross-Smith, founder of Travel Data Daily and CEO of Status Match. Mark has 20 years of experience leading loyalty programs in telecom and travel, most recently at Malaysian Airlines. In this episode, he explains why loyalty programs are not only hugely valuable to airlines, but are in some cases THE value, with important lessons for marketers everywhere. Listen in as Mark explains the extraordinary power of loyalty programs, and the financial benefits of “selling the dream.”

Ruth Stevens: Why is the airline industry as bad as it is today? Is there any hope of emerging out of this from a marketing perspective?

Read Full Article: Can the Travel and Hospitality Industry Get Out of its Own Way?

What’s the Secret to Marketing Innovation?

Michael McCathren, innovation lead at Chick-Fil-A, and author of a new book: 6Ps of Essential Innovation, is an expert on the “innovation organization.” In this episode, he shared with us specifics about how marketing departments can develop the capabilities and the culture needed to implement new ideas. Listen in to learn how marketing leaders should adopt an innovation mindset, to make new ideas welcome, and to stimulate “idea equity” in their companies. Michael explains why an innovation organization is NOT the same as an innovative organization, and why it matters. His secret weapon for innovation: Stay close to your customers and let them speak for themselves.

Cyndi Greenglass: What do you mean by the term innovation?

Michael McCathren: Depending on how large or complex your organization is or what industry you're in, innovation can take on a different definition. In my book, I try to identify how important it is as a philosophy as you're creating this innovation organization that you define it in a way that aligns with your culture. We define it at Chick-fil-a as transforming ideas into business value. It could be something that the consumer may not ever experience, but supporting our restaurants is an ongoing area of innovation that we're that we're continually trying to improve.

Read Full Article: What’s the Secret to Marketing Innovation?

What is Wrong with Subscription Marketing?

Memberships, subscriptions, loyalty programs—relationship marketing models of all sorts—have long been a staple of the marketing toolbox. But why is Peloton in such deep trouble right now? And Noom postponed its IPO? Join us as Mark DiMassimo explains what’s really going on, and how we can fix the apparent problem with membership marketing today. Spoiler alert: It’s not the model itself, you’ll be happy to know. Tune in for Mark’s advice on how to motivate customers to “start, stick and stay.”

Cyndi Greenglass: What's going on with subscription and membership models?

Mark DiMassimo: There’s good news and bad news. The good news comes out of the context of a very difficult marketplace for folks. There are a lot of folks out in Silicon Valley working through marketing technology and media technology that are changing that stuff so fast that people are being driven over the edge.  Netflix literally says, our strategy is to compete with your sleep. What's legitimately happened in the marketplace is that people want to have more sense of agency and control over their lives. Products alone don't help enough. Memberships, true relationships with continuity go deeper, and they can help more. There's a really good market-based, consumer-based, person-based reason why memberships and subscriptions have been taking off. The dark side is that any human social truth is going to also become a cause. What happened is that the investors saw in subscriptions and memberships ongoing, predictable revenue. They started to value the profits and revenue of subscription companies at a much higher multiple than other companies. They kept bidding up the prices of these companies, which you know predictably drove, especially the leaders right over the edge. The only way to keep up with them was to start to do bad business and take the head risk. The leadership of the company has to choose between looking worse to the money - the people who give them loans and investments - by being moderate in a moderate environment, or by taking the huge risks of following the money.

Read Full Article: What is Wrong with Subscription Marketing?

What Does the Future Hold for Search?

The uber-networker David Berkowitz answers our burning questions about search marketing and where it’s headed. Learn why paid search advertising is growing so quickly (hint: the proliferation of small screens is a factor). And what marketers should be doing to maximize this powerful tool. David has been predicting trends in this field long before most of us, and in this episode, he gives us the skinny.

Ruth Stevens: How are you seeing the balance between organic and paid search?

David Berkowitz: Well, one of the biggest things that's changed, and this has been changing quite a bit over the past five or ten years, but it just looks more and more visible every time you go into Google is Google gives more and more prominence to answers which include ads. Google wants to give you what you want. Back when I started out in working with I SEO firms in 2004, there was a lot of focus on how to rank on the first three pages of Google. Two things have happened with that one is that if you're not on the first page, you're essentially invisible for any search. The second is there isn't even such a concept of pages anymore, because you have these tiny mobile screens. There's very little real estate to see results, and far less patience. You have to be on top or close to it or you are basically not there. That means that Google continues to be able to sell the importance of paid search to make sure you’re on that first screen.

Read Full Article: What Does the Future Hold for Search?

Healthcare Marketing is Moving Fast, but Where?

The term “Healthcare” covers both the medical and the life sciences industries, and marketers in these fields enjoy all kinds of opportunities. Professionals are navigating the dynamics of an increasingly engaged and empowered end-user patient base, while also juggling a complex and diverse channel strategy—all within a highly regulated environment. While this may stunt the speed of change in other industries, there’s no such slowdown here. Our guest, Jean-Francois (JF) Denault, shares with us what’s going on in Healthcare marketing, from AI-driven chat and social media, to the move from cost-based to value-based messaging. JF has worked in Healthcare and life sciences marketing for over 20 years, and has his own consultancy working with big names in pharma and medical devices. JF has written two books on the subject and is located in Montreal, Canada. Join us for a lively, informative conversation.

Ruth Stevens: I hear a lot about healthcare marketing, life sciences marketing, pharma marketing and medical device marketing. What's a good way to categorize this?

Jean-Francois Denault: We can split these into two broad categories. When we talk about healthcare marketing, we're mostly talking about providers — hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, physiotherapist, dentist. They're the people that are providing care directly to a patient. When we look at life sciences, it's a little broader category. It'll vary from one person to another. From my perspective, life sciences include all companies that are developing these technologies, being drugs or medical devices for the care of the patients. It will include the pharmaceutical companies, the biotech, the Med Tech, digital therapeutics, digital health.

Read Full Article: Healthcare Marketing is Moving Fast, but Where?

Of the Four Ps, Pricing may be the Key to your Future

In the marketing profession, we have depended on the Four Ps as foundational to business success. But is that still relevant today? Tune in and learn why Rick Spear says ignoring the Four Ps is like ignoring the alphabet. In this episode, we discuss how pricing, above other strategies, has become the secret weapon for marketers in managing through these uncertain waters of inflation, recession, and constant change. But to wing it or make guesses benefits no one. Pricing is the top strategy to gain—or regain—value. Find out why Rick says that the critical question we need to keep asking is: “What will it take to earn 1 point of market share?” HINT: A few key insights can trump terabytes of data.

Ruth Stevens: Looking at the Four Ps, where do you think pricing rests in terms of importance and impact?

Rick Spear: Pricing, independently of the other Ps, drives top line. It's where the rubber meets the road in terms of value proposition and go to market. The real question is not just what is your pricing level, but in fact, how are you capturing value? In the world of capital markets the question is, are you a price maker or are you a price taker? And the answer is, it really doesn't matter. Because if you're a price maker you still have to take the right prices. If you’re a price taker, you have to think if you’re taking the optimal amount of money off the table for the short term, the medium term or the long term. The idea is that value is constantly being redefined. Pricing represents the ultimate dynamics in terms of competitive positioning, in terms of the needs of the of the customers in terms of the value that the products that we're bringing to the table provide today, as well as the promised value of those products tomorrow.

Read Full Article: Of the Four Ps, Pricing may be the Key to your Future

The Emergence, and the Future, of Purpose Marketing

Purpose is an important new way for brands to differentiate themselves in a competitive market. Our guest Diane Primo, CEO of the agency PurposeBrand, explained that a brand’s purpose must be authentic, and be established with the buy-in of all stakeholders. Only then can it be successfully presented externally for marketing benefit. Join us for a lively discussion about why consumers' growing interest in a brand’s purpose matters, and how to quantify the impact of purpose on your investment. Hint: Take the long view.

Cyndi Greenglass: Why do you think purpose needs to be top of mind for marketers today?

Diane Primo: Because it's top of mind for the public and our consumers. We’ve done our own research, spanning across generation, race, gender, politics and what we’ve learned is that they care deeply about things that are purpose related like social justice, the environment. It is really at the center of culture. They don’t care as much about professional sports, fashion, and so on if it’s not at the center of culture. We are all doing cool stuff and what we’re seeing is these things are crossing over into the authentic cool, the cool we can be proud of.

Read Full Article: The Emergence, and the Future, of Purpose Marketing

Meet the Newest Fall 2022 WVU Marketing Communications Students

Each semester the WVU Marketing Communications Online Programs are excited to welcome a new group of students into the Reed College of Media! The WVU Marketing Communications graduate student population consistently varies in their levels of experience and expertise, with some just completing their undergraduate studies to those holding senior-leadership positions at the world’s most elite agencies and brands. Each student brings a unique style and perspective to the program.

Meet some of the students who will be joining the WVU Marketing Communications Community in the fall semester:

Why did you choose to pursue a WVU Marketing Communications Graduate Degree?

Read Full Article: Meet the Newest Fall 2022 WVU Marketing Communications Students

Will the Future Still Have a Place for the Intuitive Marketer?

With the rising demand for marketing accountability, and the emphasis being placed on data-driven decision-making, is the intuitive marketer under threat of extinction? Our guest, Susan K. Jones, says that AI and science will allow the intuitive marketer of the future not only to survive but to thrive. Listen in as we discuss how smarter AI and tech will lead to smarter “informed intuition” for marketers everywhere.

Susan is the author, co-author, or editor of more than 30 books. Academically, she is a tenured full professor of marketing at Ferris State University in Big Rapids MI, and she is also a marketing practitioner with a background in banking, collectibles, insurance, and business-to-business.

Ruth Stevens: What do we mean by intuitive marketer?

Read Full Article: Will the Future Still Have a Place for the Intuitive Marketer?