It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

The holiday season has come and gone, so you may be thinking that the timing of that title is a little off. While it may seem strange to those who don’t know me well, the reason for my excitement is because the looming spring season means that baseball is back!

I loved watching my sons play Little League, and I still get to enjoy my youngest playing for South Warren Baseball. I get to cheer on the Toppers at the college level, and the major leaguers are getting back into the swing of things (see what I did there?) in the Cactus League and the Grapefruit League.

The whole family loves the sport, and our summer vacations typically revolve around major league baseball parks. Last season we saw the Cubs, Braves, Blue Jays, and Indians play at their home fields. This summer we’re debating between heading to Boston, Houston or Seattle. We try to visit at least one park each year that we haven’t been to before, and we have an MLB map of all the parks that gets flagged once we’ve been there to see a game.

wrigley   toronto   cleveland

This week I asked my Social Media Marketing students to blog about the best video they ever saw and why it’s the best. There have been some great responses so far. It only seems fair that I should post one of my favorites as well. While this may not be the best video ever made from a production standpoint, I enjoy it because it’s cute, and it’s catchy, and it celebrates my favorite team. Good luck getting this song out of your head the rest of the day! #GoCubsGo

Taking on a new challenge

It seemed like such a good idea when they asked…

What was I thinking?…

I can totally do this…

What if I can’t do this?…

This is going to be fun!…

Am I really ready because it’s almost time to get started…

These are just a few of the thoughts that have plagued my brain over the past few weeks as I prepare to teach a Marketing course this spring for the Gordon Ford College of Business. If I’m being perfectly honest, I must admit that perhaps I was slightly overzealous in taking on a class in addition to my regular duties as CMO (which seem to be anything but “regular” in 2017), my volunteer work, the upcoming high school baseball season, and generally trying to keep my sanity.

Ready or not, starting on Tuesday, January 24, there will be 30 students in my Marketing 331 class who will be looking to ME with the expectation that I know something about Social Media Marketing (SMM). Being in the trenches of SMM every day versus teaching it to others are two very different things. My goal is to present information in a way that provides a new perspective, that makes sense from a professional standpoint, and that gives students the opportunity to gain some real world experience.

As I’ve been working to build the content for the course (with a ton of help from Dr. Corie Martin and others), I realize that this is a great opportunity for me to evaluate the things we do in the Marketing & Communications Office, to read the latest research on the topics we’ll cover, and to really appreciate the value of an area that has become so vital to what we do every day. At a minimum, we rely on social media for WKU branding, for customer service, for engagement with current and prospective students, for communication of major news and events, and the list goes on. Other businesses and organizations use social media for their specific purposes, and – heads up to my students – those are all things that we will cover in class.

Even though this new endeavor is taking up a big chunk of what little free time I had, I’m convinced it will be worth it, and I’m looking forward to the challenge!

There’s always something new to learn!

I am at a Marketing Seminar in Scottsdale this week.  It’s great to be around other people from all over the country who have a job very similar to mine.  I always learn so much from the group – especially the ones who are already doing things that we haven’t tried yet. I wish I had just a fraction of the creativity that some of these folks have.

This seminar has been all about online marketing and using social networking to market to our target audiences.  We have advertised on Facebook for Summer Sessions and Winter Term.  We are doing Google Adwords campaigns, Google Alerts, Google Analytics, etc. but there is still so much more that we could do.  There have been a lot of good ideas thrown around during the sessions.  Some things that we need to do (or need to do more of) are videos on our websites and on YouTube, more consistent e-mail marketing campaigns, more search engine optimization, adding more testimonials (maybe even video testimonials) to our sites, simply asking customers exactly what they’re interested in and other questions to help us meet their needs, and we need to add widgets for Facebook and other social networking sites to some of our pages.  That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Did you know that 15 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute?  Staggering numbers from John Ploumitsakos, a presenter from Google.  Some other interesting tidbits…Google of course gets the most searches, the second most is YouTube.  These are things we need to capitalize on, and we’ll make it our mission to do so over the next 12 months.  One of the most attention-grabbing online videos I’ve seen is from Kaplan University.  Check it out – it’s worth a minute or two of your time.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e50YBu14j3U

Here are some great resources to check out online (the last one is specifically for higher ed folks):

google.com/trends, google.com/domorewithless, quantcast.com, highered.prblogs.org

I’ve been in the marketing field for quite a long time now, and I’m excited to always have something new to learn.  These seminars are expensive, and they take precious time away from the office, but they are worth it.

Sometimes thinking is harder than doing

In marketing, planning is essential and planning requires a lot of thinking.  What I call “thinking” days are sometimes more tiresome than days when manual labor is required!  Today was just one of those days.  The Marketing Department I work in  got a lot of thinking and planning projects knocked out today, and I’m pretty certain that everyone’s wiped out and ready for the weekend.  Not that it’s difficult work…just a bit of a brain drain when there are a dozen projects going on at once.  It’s a  great thing to have a really productive day though!  If you work in marketing, take the time to plan your day, plan your week, plan your month, and plan your year.  Expect delays, be flexible, and understand that things don’t always go as planned…but make a plan anyway!