GUEST BLOG: DR. CORIE MORELL MARTIN

Submitted by Dr. Corie Morell Martin, Director of Web Services & Digital Marketing at WKU, PMA’s June 2019 guest speaker:

I once witnessed a conversation between a sales director and a marketing director of a global software company.  It went something like this: “Marketing – You spend money.  Sales – We make money,” (implying sales was the better of the two).  I remember at the time thinking the sales director wasn’t entirely wrong, though this person had missed the point of marketing altogether.  To you and me it’s no secret that we have a tough job as marketers.  We have to filter endless noise while trying to break barriers that separate our products and services from our prospective customers.  Research, data, messaging, creative, analysis – it’s no simple task. Does it all cost money? Sometimes.  Does it make money? You betcha.

I have been a professional marketer for 23 years, eleven of those with Western Kentucky University Public Affairs and Admissions, and I have been a Marketing professor for the past four years.  I research, practice, teach, live and breathe social media, yet, I don’t consider myself an expert.  I don’t believe such a thing exists. Things change so quickly in our industry, it’s almost impossible to keep up.  In fact, just today I watched a webcast about the upcoming annual Facebook and Instagram algorithm changes that will cause a general upheaval in the lives of marketers worldwide.  (You can check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESVjLy_UV9o&feature=youtu.be) In marketing, the cycle of change never ends.

At WKU we market primarily to young people, which, until the last year or so, meant Millennials.  Now, we have Generation Z– young people with a new focus, new priorities, and new uses of media.  Of course, this isn’t new to us.  Ten years ago, social media marketing was all Facebook, all the time, with a little Twitter and YouTube thrown in.  Today, it’s not as complicated as you might think – no more than a decade ago, really.  People say Facebook is dead. They should look again.  Generally, we have lower student engagement on Facebook, yet, we had tens of thousands of engagements over the recent Commencement Weekend alone with parents of students “nag-tagging” photos, posts, and more.  They are there – they’re just not engaging with our content.

And therein lies the conundrum of the modern-day marketer.  Probably one of the most frequent questions I have had from folks over the years is how to engage with audiences. “How do we get our message in front of the right sets of eyes?”  “How do we convert visits into sales?” “What types of content work best with what audiences?”  I can offer answers to all these questions that are generally applicable to all different sorts of audiences.  Our products, services, and audiences might be different, but the formula for connectivity is the same.

I hope you will come to the PMA meeting on June 18th to learn more about how to make sense of all these things and more.  The solution is not complicated.  It’s useful for small and large businesses alike. We’ll demystify Generation Z for you, and get you prepped for the impending changes and what they will mean for your business.

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