Another acronym: EM2!

Phew! The marathon of firm selection has come to a close and we are extremely excited that Hope has selected EM2, an education marketing firm from Atlanta, to assist us in coordinating integrated marketing efforts on campus. We appreciate their style and believe they can assist us in better and more widely promoting the Hope experience.

What is it we like about them? Well, it’s more than the fact they say “ya’ll” a lot (although it is fun to listen to). They have more than 20 years of experience with roots in marketing, communication, design and branding. They have Fortune 500 experience in their past, however they now focus entirely on education, with a national client base.

Their capabilities are cross-discipline (expertise in branding, admissions, fundraising, and alumni relations), cross-media (dual focus on print and web), and they’re all around creative people who are fresh thinkers with innovative solutions. Also, they’re a lot like us at Hope. Private, personal, select, and small (in a good way!).

We are excited about their direct experience in development, brand, and faith-based education institutions, fresh research-informed creative directions, and focus on determining criteria for success and measuring results. They are going to push us to research to understand and build consensus, build tools based on strategic objectives, and track and measure for effectiveness.

Oh, and did we mention that their Sr. Marketing Consultant, Lynn Donham, teaches Okinawan Shuri-Ryu karate as a 1st degree black belt. That’s just cool.

— Submitted by Jason Cash, Campaign Associate for College Advancement

What is Integrated Marketing, anyway?

In the course of working in higher education, we all come across buzzwords that are often used but only occasionally explained: “Student Centered Learning”, “Social Media”, “Knowledge Economy”, “Globalization”, “Distinctive”, “Synergy” and of course, “Integrated Marketing”. We even have an appointed cabinet to work on that last one.

So what is Integrated Marketing, anyway? In order to move from cliché to common language, consider the following analogy: each division and department at a college is like a musician in an orchestra. Playing individually, we may occasionally reach our intended audience with positive results, but only when the orchestra is tuned and playing from a common score, will the results move an audience to tears.

Since that analogy is itself a bit cliché, here’s the textbook definition of integrated marketing as Dr. Robert Sevier puts it: “a listening-first, database-dependent approach to marketing that includes a willingness to segment and coordinate such strategic assets as product, price, and place, and to develop effective promotion strategies for key target audiences.”

For us, this means coordinating our efforts to communicate the value of a Hope College education to our students, their families and other key audiences.

Realizing a need for this type of communication, President Bultman has appointed an Integrated Marketing Cabinet to work towards the vision set forth in Chapter 2 of the Hope College Strategic Plan, approved by the Board of Trustees in 2006. The vision stated in the plan is that “all areas of Hope College succinctly communicate a consistent message that accurately reflects the vision and values of the institution in both the content and the design of the communication.”

Meeting since September of 2008, the group has begun both strategic and operational dialogue in the following areas:

  • Identifying what we currently do in the area of marketing as well as the target audiences we would like to reach
  • The role of marketing research in our decisions and identifying what research we currently have available to us
  • Overall branding and integration within the institution, including the possibility of seeking input from an outside agency
  • Better utilizing positioning outcomes, including a placement report and an economic impact study
  • Improving and integrating both the content and design of Hope’s print and online communications

This blog’s aim is to keep you up-to-date as the college moves forward with these initiatives. In the process, we will try to avoid the clichés.

— Submitted by Scott Travis, Director of Alumni and Parent Relations