Marketing Group Learns’ Cummins’ Diversity

Jacob Sheridan ’14 – On Monday, through our connection with recent graduate Paul Liu ’12, the Marketing Immersion Program visited the Cummins satellite office in Indianapolis. Our host was extremely generous to us, which reflects their attitude and service towards their customers. Mr. Liu provided us with some Cummins giveaways including a t-shirt and a book on the history of Cummins. He opened the presentation up with a brief history and background of the company.

We learned that Clessie Cummins and W.G. Irwin founded Cummins in 1919. We quickly moved on to learning about the modern day Cummins. Cummins is most popular or well known for their diesel engines, but that is only one of their four product lines; the other three being power generation, distribution, and components.

As we sat in the 18th floor meeting room with a great view of the downtown, we were able to listen to several leaders in the communications department. We first listened to the Director of Executive Communications who told us about her job, the companies mission statement, and their message triangle. Our group then learned about the Visual Communications department, which focused on creating media for the company including: training and motivational videos, documentaries, and executive presentations. The department head of Internal Communications talked about how they strive to provide good communication between all their employees. One way he said they were doing this now, was installing large TV’s in all of their factories that would display company relevant news. His other roles included issues management, communications planning, and crisis communications.

The next speaker was the department head of External Communications. I found this part of the communications department the most interesting. He quickly talked about his duties, which included press release coordination, crisis communications, media strategy, media training, media monitoring, and to serve as the company spokesperson and/or media contact. He wanted to focus on the bigger picture of his job, which he said was developing relationships both with his coworkers, but also especially with the media reporters that he connected with on a regular basis. Next up was the head of Functional Excellence, which seemed to have the main goal of maintaining the right direction for the company. She further explained the importance of the message triangle, saying it was like the thesis statement and three main body points of a paper, except it represented the entire Cummins Company. She also talked about their Six Sigma program, which provided a universal communications training that enhanced communications between employees of the international company. The last speaker we heard from was also particularly interesting and he spoke about his job as the head of Digital Communications. He was in charge of managing the company’s external and internal websites as well as the company’s social media strategy. He said that his department was like an iceberg in that there were basically two other people who worked with him on the executive level, but that there were over 300 people company wide that were involved in content creation and editing for the digital communications department. He also noted the importance of company diversity and listening to your customers.

Mr. Liu wrapped up the presentation with some advice, distributing his contact information, and encouraging us to apply for internships, especially with Cummins. The visit was exciting, interesting, and educational. We were able to see what these people did and learn about careers that we might like to pursue. Although, I had known Cummins was a good company before, I think it is fair to say that most guys got to learn a lot about a company that they wouldn’t mind working for someday.

Marketing Immersion Visits Angie’s List

Ricardo Aguirre ’13 – The Marketing Immersion Program has been an exciting opportunity as we have had ample opportunities to both learn and enjoy ourselves.  Our schedule has been filled with great activities that connect us with alums and allow us to talk with very experienced marketing executives.  Today, we visited Angie’s List in Indianapolis and were given a presentation by multiple different departments.  We also met with alumni JP Patterson ‘08, Curtis Peterson ‘10, Craig Vetor ‘10, and Hugh Vandivier ’91.

During our morning discussion, we had an interactive activity which involved coming up with a quick and short presentation on a product that we were also tasked with laying down a basic “product” description.  From there, we decided what type of marketing we wanted to do, the pricing scheme we felt would be appropriate for such a product, and what type of placement we thought the product needed.  Four groups of three were formed for the activity, and everyone was able to both receive and give criticism on the presentations.

Following our discussion, the group attended Boulder Creek Restaurant in Brownsburg. This lunch was another experience for us to open up as a group and get to know each other better.  All of the planning yesterday, with respect to time, was well done as we permitted for a long lunch and made it to Angie’s List with plenty of time to spare.

The first thing I noticed while at Angie’s List was the relaxed atmosphere.  It quickly became apparent that the pressure there was to perform, not necessarily on how to dress. The environment seemed very open and close-knit, as everyone was smiling and dressed casually.

The most exciting part about this opportunity was the fact that every presentation we received was not just open, but new.  They spoke to us about the importance of analysis in marketing as well as interpreting that analysis.  Their staff worked on marketing through a good mix of both the use of numbers and the application of creativity.  One team member described the experience as “the perfect mix of left and right brain.”

Overall, our experience at Angie’s List and during the day describes another day at the Marketing Immersion Program.  We have been busy learning and listening to those with more experience than ourselves.  It’s only been two days and one night, but the value of this experience, though non-quantifiable, has been to educate us as well as open our eyes to the marketing world and, so far, two different approaches through Cummins and Angie’s List.