It's All Coming Together
Teye Morton - Thursday marked the penultimate day of trip. It has really been a rewarding experience. I don’t think I have spent this much time traveling around any city – I must add that midnight excursions at the end of a long day can be very counterproductive. Thursday began on a high note as the group leader, Ken Turchi, gave us an extra hour of sleep after returning from out interview with Scott Smalstig the night before. Who isn’t happy when an 8 a.m. is canceled? We also had a substantially smaller volume of reading to do from Wednesday. See Thursday photo album here.
The morning session started with the usual debriefing, where we looked at marketing focus Joseph David Marketing had developed for one of its clients. The account was aimed at reaching a very exclusive portion of the population through a variety of advertising media. Joseph David Marketing’s pitch for this job looked very impressive and was the platform from which we launched today’s main theme of how various media are used to market a product to consumers. We focused primarily on the magazine and editorial publications and how they performed a service to marketers and readers through an interesting marriage between journalistic content and effective advertising which is the primary source of revenue for such periodicals.
Helen O’Guinn was the person who presented this topic. As the editor of Endless Vacation, she has the responsibility of bringing out a travel and tour focused magazine that informs readers about various locations and attractions to consider if they are planning a vacation. She came in to talk about how marketing affects her activities as an editor of an opinion magazine that had that was strategically placed to market the leisure industry – hotels and vacation spots. We also looked at how certain publication do not marry this combination in a very ethical way by “reporting” on only businesses that pay for their press, in short making no clear distinction between advertisers and real content. It was interesting to see how she managed the objective of actually performing her journalistic responsibility of giving an unbiased opinion of the various places she had to visit, whilst remaining surrounded by the splendor of various vacation spots she has to visit to gain a fair knowledge for her job.
In the same spirit of the discussion we had in the morning, we spent time looking at how the Indiana State government advertised various locations across Indiana. It was interesting to note that the main tourism map that the state released required various sites to pay to be included when marketing Indiana should be a public service. This was analogous to papers requiring payment before even a mention of a product or company is given. Imagine if the Wall Street journal required a financial contribution before it ran an article that mentioned your business. The implication of this fact is that a business that isn’t in a very strong financial situation and that requires a large advertising scope would face a big problem because wide spread coverage would be hard to get.
We met with such a business later on in the day as we made a trip to South Bend. The College Football Hall of Fame provided a case study of a business that was facing a marketing hurdle of getting customers from all over the country to come and see their museum. We had the chance to discuss some of the challenges a marketing director faces. Katie Berrettini, the director of marketing, is in charge of drawing crowds and creating events that facilitate this goal. The business she joined was facing many challenges just breaking even. It had essentially fallen on her to turn their fortunes around by making an effective campaign that would draw people in. 3 days into our immersion trip and I was now able to start getting some of the concepts and strategies that someone involved in marketing would prepare for as they thought of ways to do such a job. Most of the challenges and strategies we were able to brainstorm within the space of an hour we dead on the concepts she came to the business with.
To cap off the day, we were entertained to another “lavish” meal by our facilitator, Lu (thanks). We met up with three alums and I had the privilege to sit by one of those gracious alums. Roland Morin ’91, another marketing success story, had many stories about his travels and his successes as a marketer. The many stories he had about his days at the college also gave me a little hope that there are better days for the big WC in the near future.
I guess at the end of the day the one thing I could take away from this whole trip has been the two fold realization that as a marketing professional, you have to be ready to find the best match for your customer, whether it is a multimillion dollar establishment that wishes to reach a niche clientele or a struggling business that has few resources available that wants you to create their business miracle.