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Marketing Communications Today Blog

About Marketing Communications Today

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, Data Marketing Communications and Digital 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.


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The 12 Don'ts of Marketing in 2020

The 12 Dont's of 2020

Video content is becoming increasingly more important for both social media and website landing pages. According to Forbes,  a user spends 88% more time on a webpage if there is video content on it, but this means the video content has to be accessible.

Videos without captions make it difficult for those who are deaf/hard of hearing to view and understand the content, as well as create a barrier for those who come across content while in a sound-sensitive environment, like when you're scrolling through Twitter during class or a work meeting. It is reported that  85% of videos viewed are played without sound, meaning if your messaging is highly reliant on voiceover information or audible information, the target audience isn't being exposed to that content.

Having a landing page or full website for your brand, product, organization or service is great to provide consumers with more information, content or a call-to-action, but only if they can access it.  Roughly four billion individuals access the internet from a mobile device globally. If your online content is not optimized to fit a mobile screen, you may be missing billions of potential consumers.

Read Full Article: The 12 Don'ts of Marketing in 2020

EZ Insider's Best of the Internet 2019

Woman Yelling at Cat Meme

Whether it's because I am a Gen Z, or because the internet and social media is such a large part of my studies, I love "Internet Culture." Internet Culture is the blanket term given to social movements, trends and conversations that stem from the various communities individuals are a part of online. Many classic examples of this manifest themselves in the form of "memes" and "viral" social content. It's the content we DM to our coworkers and friends, the photos we repurpose to get a laugh on our own social media pages. These are what I think were the highlights of this content for 2019.

*Presented in no particular order and based on the opinions of EZ only*

This photo collage of a pair of unhappy "Real Housewives" and an unbothered, or confused, take your pick, cat from Tumblr made jumping to conclusions and voicing your pet peeves potential for viral content. The original meme began trending on Twitter in early May 2019, but seemed to hit its peak trending point in the middle of November. If you scroll through your Twitter feed, you're still bound to see some version of it.

Read Full Article: EZ Insider's Best of the Internet 2019

[Ask the DM Experts] Direct Mail + Video = Success for Kalispell Credit Union

By Susan K. Jones
Susan K. Jones & Associates
and Ferris State University

Q. We direct marketers know full well that direct mail is far from dead, but rumors of its demise continue to swirl in the business world. Do you have any recent examples of direct mail success?

A. It was a pleasure to hear Josh Wilson, Vice-President of Marketing for Whitefish Credit Union (Kalispell, Montana) speak at the recent Integrate conference at West Virginia University. This event is sponsored by WVU’s Integrated Marketing Communications and Data Marketing Communications master’s degree programs.

Read Full Article: [Ask the DM Experts] Direct Mail + Video = Success for Kalispell Credit Union

5 Gifts for Your IMC/Data Student

5 Gifts for Your IMC/DMC Student

With the holidays creeping up in just a week, many of us are frantically Googling what gifts can still be shipped in time for our gift exchanges. While a Yankee candle or a pair of fuzzy socks are great, for the IMC/Data student on your list, here are some more creative ideas they will actually use.

It really doesn’t have to be that big, but IMC/Data students have a lot to schedule. Between lessons, required readings, projects, and potentially a job outside of school, deadlines, and appointments, things can get lost without writing them down. While a digital calendar is great, having something to hang in an office or bedroom will help them look at the tasks ahead and plan accordingly.

Marketing communicators also have schedules that are always changing. With a whiteboard, deadlines and plans can be easily changed, and it will serve them for the entire length of their degree!

Read Full Article: 5 Gifts for Your IMC/Data Student

Five Lessons in Crisis Communications

Marty Machowsky

Chief communications officers (CCO) and the entire communications/PR team at every business and organization will face no greater challenge than a real, full-blown crisis. It is the only time that your work will be scrutinized and evaluated in real-time; that one slip-up can cost you your job; and that success will never be forgotten.

All eyes will be on you. Fortunately, you are not alone. All eyes will be on everyone in the C-Suite, too, especially the chief executive officer (CEO) and the general counsel (GC).

Crises never evolve as planned, that’s why they are crises. Your long-term planning efforts, while important, will not be enough. You may have a plan and protocols in place, draft statements ready to dust off, and a dark website ready to turn on, but it will not be sufficient.

Read Full Article: Five Lessons in Crisis Communications

5 ways to become an expert content marketer

Content Marketing

By Kristin Meeks

By 2021, 3.1 billion people are estimated to be using social media and four billion are estimated to be online regularly. In a culture where the majority of life is spent in a digital world, authentic and exciting content is the only way to break beyond the noise. To take on this competitive digital media environment, content marketers should focus on five important practices to become an industry leader:

Research and, more importantly, follow industry leaders, publications and other sources of content specific to your industry. You can subscribe to emails, read blogs and follow on social media easily those giving your up-to-date content in your industry. This first step helps you establish a funnel of good content at your fingertips whether you share or curate your own this will help you stay on top of your industry trends.

What is important to you, your clients or your boss in terms of results. That is what you should be measuring. Write your objectives based on these key points to see clearer results of your content marketing efforts.

Read Full Article: 5 ways to become an expert content marketer

Trends for Marketing Communicators in 2020

2020 Watchlist for Marketing Communicators

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.

The “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 communications plan.

Influencer Marketing is the practice of leveraging an individual’s following to promote, endorse or support brands.

Read Full Article: Trends for Marketing Communicators in 2020

EZ Insider: A Very Branded Holiday Tradition

EZ Insider: A Very Branded Holiday Tradition

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:

Read Full Article: EZ Insider: A Very Branded Holiday Tradition

Showing Gratitude Toward Your Clients

Bonnie Harris speaks about showing gratitude toward your clients

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, Minnesota — Bonnie Harris and her team design and implement IMC 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. 

Read Full Article: Showing Gratitude Toward Your Clients

EZ Insider: The Benefits of Mentorship

EZ Insider

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.

Read Full Article: EZ Insider: The Benefits of Mentorship