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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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Using Data to Make a Difference

Using Data to Make a Difference

Measuring the return on investment for communications and marketing initiatives is essential across all industries today but how does data-driven decision making differ for nonprofits, especially for those operating in the public policy arena? We recently interviewed Ann DeFabio Doyle, Vice President of Communications for The Pew Charitable Trusts, a non-partisan, global research and public policy organization in our WVU Marketing Communications Today podcast. Ann and host Susan Jones will discuss how mission-driven nonprofits use data to make a difference in their work and how Pew has created new communications initiatives to reach key audiences.

Susan Jones: How is communication and marketing different in the nonprofit context, versus what many of our listeners might be used to in the for-profit world?

Ann Doyle: I would say scale is definitely different between a consumer products company and a nonprofit. Pew or other nonprofits aren’t trying to sell things; we’re trying to advance a mission. At Pew, we’re trying to inform and educate people and move policy goals. Of course the end result could be different, but I think some of the core strategies and tactics are the same right now. Across the private sector, nonprofit, other sectors, the decline of organic reach of content is a huge trend people are talking about. Nonprofits didn’t use to advertise, but we are in paid media now, even if our resources or budgets aren’t as large as private sector organizations. But we’re in there too, now, because we see the decline of organic reach on social media, and we want to make sure our information is actually getting into the hands of the people who need to see it. I would note that the environment has gotten so noisy, everyone is really looking for ways to make sure audiences are engaging. Email continues to be a significant powerhouse in that regard. We have a deep focus on email at Pew because we love that people have signed up to receive updates from us and are engaged. We can look and help segment and see the types of content pieces that people are interested in. We really can see reliable results overtime in that way. Another trend we see in nonprofit space and communications and marketing that I think is probably pretty similar to other industries, is the turning back to data and the investment in data infrastructure. We all have to be looking at our data sources and understand what it means.

Read Full Article: Using Data to Make a Difference

EZ Insider: The Soundtrack of Being a “Second Semester Senior”

As a new year and semester begin, some students will find themselves embarking on the title all college students are striving for – second-semester senior. This title means going out on any random weeknight because “I’m a senior dude” and only writing four pages for your five-page research report because “it’s our last semester, what are they going to do, fail me?” (The answer to that one is yes; they really can fail you).

While it may seem like all fun and games at the beginning of January, take it from someone who has been there, it’s a rollercoaster of a few months. Looking back on my experience, there is a lot I wish I had known about how it would all play out, so here is what I learned, but set to music.

Coming Back to Campus After Winter Break: Good As Hell – Lizzo

Read Full Article: EZ Insider: The Soundtrack of Being a “Second Semester Senior”

A 20/20 Vision for Your Personal Brand

The start of 2020 is the perfect time to clarify and sharpen the vision for your personal brand. Too often we take for granted first impressions and how others perceive us. However, such perceptions frequently form the basis for personal and professional success. And today, many first impressions are made online through search engines and social networks. Your personal brand is bound to exist, especially in an online environment — whether you explicitly create it, or whether it is implicitly created for you.

In this interview, Dr. Dawn Edmiston will discuss the value of a personal brand promise and examine practical tools that can be leveraged to create and maintain a professional online profile. Dr. Edmiston will also share how LinkedIn was responsible for finding her dream job and tips for how to leverage your personal brand for success in 2020.

Nathan Pieratt: Could you explain more about the value of a personal brand promise?

Read Full Article: A 20/20 Vision for Your Personal Brand

EZ Insider: New Year, New You, But SMART-er

EZ Insider: New Year, New You, But SMART-er

After recovering from the evening before everyone swears THIS is the day, they will start hitting the gym every day, eat more spinach, waste less time and become the “best version of themselves.”

I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions, but as a rising marketing communications professional, I think I have a good idea of how to set a goal. We have all studied the SMART method for writing marketing objectives, but how can this be applied to our New Year’s resolutions?

“I’m going to work out more,” that’s a great goal, but what does “more” mean. Make sure your goal is clear and outlines steps you will need to take to achieve it. If a goal is focused and specific, you are more likely to stay with it because you know what you need to do to reach it, there is a level of accountability to it.

Read Full Article: EZ Insider: New Year, New You, But SMART-er

The Importance of Understanding Data in the Agency World

Tradd Salvo

Tradd Salvo, Senior Data Strategist at Droga5, shares his industry expertise on the importance of understanding data’s role in an agency workplace and why young professionals should seek education on data-driven marketing.

I think what makes someone coming into an agency, or interviewing for an agency, more useful is their understanding of critical thinking. Anyone can teach a skill, like Python or C-Force or something like that, those are easy to teach. The hard thing is understanding how to solve a problem and the steps that it takes. So, that fundamental critical thinking is what everyone is really looking for right now. Also, understanding the role that data plays. Data doesn't really answer the question, it helps you answer a question, but it doesn't do all the work. Understanding how you put systems in place and use data to solve a problem means you inherently understand the overarching goal of that campaign. You use your critical thinking to do all that. That's really what's valuable to agencies.

I think that data's a buzzword. I think that a lot of people just assume that it's just spreadsheets or measurements, which in a lot of cases it can be, but I think people need to really hone in and focus on what they want to get out of data. Data is essentially a tool, right? So, it's more of understanding what companies need from that tool and learning the types of skills needed to get that information moving forward.

Read Full Article: The Importance of Understanding Data in the Agency World

Content Marketing to Build Lasting Relationships with Your Audience

Content Marketing to Build Lasting Relationships with Your Audience

By Anthony Gaenzle

Think about the brands to which you feel strongly connected. The brands that really seem to get you. These are the ones whose newsletter you look forward to and from which you’d never entertain the idea of unsubscribing. The ones with the social media presence you instantly navigate to each time you sign on to your favorite channel.

Now think of those annoying brands that leave a bad taste in your mouth. The ones you run from rather than to. The ones that leave you pondering how you even wound up subscribed to their newsletter in the first place. The ones whose posts you banned from appearing in your social media feeds years ago.

Read Full Article: Content Marketing to Build Lasting Relationships with Your Audience

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