Marketing Communications Today is a resource for marketing communications
professionals filled with industry research, marketing trends, and career
information about integrated marketing and data-driven communications.
Fueled by the academic innovation coming out of WVU’s own Integrated Marketing
Communications and Data Marketing Communications programs, these articles
will provide both aspiring learners and seasoned marketing professionals
with better insights into what’s now and what’s next in marketing and communications.
As a discipline, Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) attempts to unify all
pieces of marketing communications, including advertising, public relations, direct
marketing, social media, and sales promotion. In a fast-paced industry, with highly
saturated marketing channels, forward-thinking and staying on trend is the only
way to make an impact on your target audience.
“2020 Watchlist for Marketing Communicators,” presented by West Virginia
University’s IMC and DMC Graduate Programs, provides insight into the future of
marketing based on the rising trends and tactics today, backed by insights from
our extensive network of alumni, industry leaders and professional faculty, as
well as case studies and tactic examples to help inspire your next-level marketing
Influencer Marketing is the practice of leveraging an individual’s following
to promote, endorse or support brands.
For many families, Thanksgiving and the winter holiday season comes with the annual
return of many holiday traditions. For many families, this may include traveling
to visit extended family, having family holiday brunch at the same restaurant or
hosting an annual gift exchange. One tradition unique to my family growing up was
attending the Thanksgiving Parade in Philadelphia.
Each year we would overtake a curb along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, or as I called
it as a kid, the street with all the flags. Floats, clowns and bands marched down
the road as I shared hot chocolate, baked goods and blankets with all of my cousins.
Growing up, I didn't really notice all of the branding and sponsorship that took
place; I was more concerned with making sure the volunteers dressed as elves got
my letter to give to Santa on his float that was always the caboose of the parade.
Now, as a hyper-sensitive marketing communications student, the logos and branding
interest me more than if the massive character balloons are going to make it all
the way to the art museum steps.
Here is a breakdown of all the pieces of marketing communications that make up one
of the most festive events of the season:
Thanksgiving is a perfect time to reflect on how we show gratitude toward clients
and consumers. Bonnie Harris, founder of Wax Marketing, and host Michael Lynch
will explore the ways you can authentically express thanks.
Many companies confuse gratitude with a rewards program, but they are quite different.
In this session, we’ll discuss how gratitude benefits an overall brand, its contribution
to the customer experience, and companies that are outstanding at demonstrating
an attitude of thankfulness.
As the founder of Wax Marketing — an integrated marketing agency based in St. Paul,
and her team design and implement
strategies for clients across the United States, focusing primarily on mid-sized
companies in the healthcare, technology, and manufacturing industries. Harris is also an instructor for the IMC program.
For those who don’t know the story of my undergraduate college search — it was pretty
non-existent. Long story short: I was a nursing major, I applied to maybe four
schools, WVU gave me the largest scholarship, I enrolled, changed my major in July
before school because I’m deathly afraid of needles. I stepped on campus as a strategic
communications major with an emphasis in public relations.
I had no idea what strategic communications or public relations were when I started
my courses. My orientation course opened my eyes to the world of communications
and marketing, and I realized I had a lot of options upon graduating, an overwhelming
number of options. It’s great to do research, read job descriptions and take a
variety of courses, but you still won’t be able to get a grasp of the full capacity
of the industry this way. It was only when I was able to connect with people who
were leading the industry and my high-achieving peers that I began to develop an
idea of what my path could be in the vast world of marketing communications.
These connections, whether they be industry professionals, WVU alumni, internship
supervisors, professors, advisors or senior peers, are my mentors. The relationships
I have been able to build and the advice given to me have helped shape the young
professional I am today.
Hosting a Thanksgiving meal is an intricate process. With multiple dishes and specific
requests from family members, it takes a lot of planning to create the meal of
the season. While you work hard in the kitchen, you may notice that your dinner
preparation looks a lot like some of your IMC/DMC homework…
Everyone has a specific job when it comes to setting the table, whether it be designing
the centerpiece or simply placing silverware. To have the best set up for your
Thanksgiving dinner, a plan of who is in charge of what needs to be in place. The
table setting is like the initial project planning stages of an IMC campaign. Clients
provide specific requests, then account managers delegate tasks and deadlines.
Careful planning ensures everything can be delivered to the client, or hungry relatives,
on time and while it’s still hot.
Whether it’s surfing Pinterest, or paging through old family cookbooks, planning
your Thanksgiving meal takes a lot of research, like the background for your campaign.
Research should be hyper-focused, based on the desires of your consumers, or your
family members who are picky eaters. Utilizing credible resources, you are bound
to find information and recipes that will guide the creation of a standout menu.
Celebrating 30 years, the 2019 American Marketing Association’s (AMA) Symposium of
Higher Education included record attendance with nearly 1,500 higher education
marketers in attendance. The annual conference covered a variety of topics including
reputation campaigns, changing student demographics, free speech on campus, and
not surprisingly, this year’s varsity blues scandal.
Undoubtedly one of the most relevant presentations, “Selling Higher Education,” with
Brandon Busteed president of Kaplan University Partners, outlined the dramatic
difference between the cost of attendance and the median earnings of bachelor’s
degree holders. Since 1990, average tuition and fee costs in the United States
have increased nearly 400% –– more than double that of healthcare costs. Median
earnings for college graduates, however, have remained relatively flat.
Digital advertising has greatly evolved since the turn of the century. Search engine
advertising is still around, but campaigns are more complicated than ever before.
Social media, as we know it, didn't begin for a couple more years. Flash forward
to 2019. Not only have Google and LinkedIn become behemoths in the B2B digital
marketing space, but we also have more targeting options than ever before. In this
podcast, you will learn how B2B advertisers can leverage the latest digital advertising
tools to build and scale profitable lead generation programs.
Justin Seibert, from Direct Online Marketing, joined us on our podcast to talk about
how B2B advertisers can leverage the latest digital advertising tools to build
and scale profitable lead generation programs.
Nathan Pieratt: What can marketers do in highly competitive industries
to get the most bang for their buck or leverage these tools in the best way?
In 2015, the outdoor recreation brand
REI boldly chose to close its doors to encourage employees and customers to
#OptOutside. The company paid employees to take a hike on the most stressful shopping
day of the year based on the most important consumer insight for their target audience:
these people would rather be outside than standing in line for hours.
REI has turned this "moment" into a "movement" by continuing the #OptOutside tradition
each year. The brand continues to engage with user-generated content on social
media and highlight consumers who did #OptOutside on Black Friday. They have created
several promotional videos and even partnered with other large companies like Google
to create a platform to help consumers who are looking to participate in the campaign
find hiking trails near them.
Other brands who will be, or have taken the leap and focus on the consumer by "going
dark" for Black Friday and Cyber Monday include:
As an award-winning professor, author and consultant,
Susan Jones has had a well-rounded career in direct and digital marketing.
Jones is a professor of advertising, social media, content marketing and B2B classes
at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan. Her practice focuses on corporate
training and seminars, as well as marketing planning, product development and copywriting.
Susan is also an IMC instructor here at West Virginia University, teaching
Direct and Digital Marketing online in the Reed College of Media.
We had the pleasure of interviewing Jones on our weekly
Marketing Communications Today podcast — here are her thoughts on Trout and
Ries' ideologies, particularly tying in contemporary brands.
Matthew Cummings: Can you tell us more about the philosophy of Trout and
Ries as it was first presented a few decades ago now?
As the holiday season draws near,
Pinterest may be the first thought of many moms and millennials looking to
"pin" recipes for family parties and catch up on the latest fall fashions. But
what about your brand? How are you using Pinterest? Are you using it at all?
Does Your Audience Use Pinterest?
According to Sprout Social, Pinterest has 291 million monthly active users both inside and
outside of the U.S. In 2018, 80% of new registrants for the site were individuals
located outside of the United States, meaning marketing on Pinterest has a global
reach for your brand.