February 23, 2011

Role 7 in 2011

Today, I formally resigned as Marketing Director for the Undergraduate School at Babson College.

This has been one of the most enjoyable roles I've had here at Babson. It's timing was perfect for me and has helped shape me as a marketing professional. I was lucky to acquire this position at a time when the program was able to make great strides due to a strong leadership team and unified effort. A LOT of marketing activities have been accomplished during these past 4 1/2 years. Even more importantly, I've worked with some amazing individuals to help positively impact the undergraduate student experience in a way that has led to great success...in external rankings, by internal standards, in admission gains, etc. Any marketing success that could be attributed to that was really just a small part of the enjoyment of this role. I've worked with amazing peers, a phenomenal centralized group of creative experts, and an epic staff in the most recent year and a half.

Working with undergraduate students - as my most important customers, as my best marketing strategy, as my word of mouth marketers, as students in my class, as friends - has been so dam fun. I've always said I was perfect for this role because I have the same maturity level and sense of humor as some of the younger audiences I'm marketing too. That doesn't give them enough credit. The students here are so dam smart. My connection to them has grown over my time in this role and it really impacts you positively. If you are in higher education and you have not worked with undergraduate students, find a way to do so. Volunteer. Teach. Transition into a new role. Whatever it takes. It's worth it. Not even just at Babson. I'm sure this is true at other institutions. But DEFINITELY here.

Where am I going? Drumroll...I'm going nowhere. I'm staying at Babson. For those of you that didn't know already, I hope you didn't just say letdown. If so, you'll probably not going to want to read the rest of this.

Prior to resigning, I formally accepted an offer to become the Digital Marketing Director for Babson. Living within the centralized College Marketing function, this role will have responsibility for creating, managing and promoting Babson's digital presence. Those of you close to me know this is where my heart is right now and has been for a while. And it brings me back to my roots! My excitement and ideas on taking on this challenge could fill up even more pages of a blog post. That will surely come in the weeks ahead after I formally begin the role on March 28. In the meantime, I really want to give my current position its full due and help transition the undergraduate program. It continues to have some unprecedented success and would do so without me, but I hope I can continue to be instrumental in its success going forward...only this time with a digital marketing focus.

I'm going on my 10th year at Babson and this new role will now be my seventh one. Unbelievable. I've been blessed with great bosses for every single one...a benefit I can say many peers who have come and gone have not been able to mirror that luck. I truly feel lucky being able to say that with all honesty.

And the Babson Community (capital c) is special to me. It's like family. And like every family, it can be challenging. It can be a whole lot of fun. It can also have its sad days and it certainly can be dysfunctional. It can also be there for you when you need it most and I have certainly seen many of those instances during my time here. So many that it could actually be a great, cheesy Lifetime movie. That's another movie I'll have to script now.

Anyways, the caring, intelligence and humor that I am surrounded with here every day in terms of faculty, staff and students is unique. And that doesn't even include the great relationships I've made with alumni and parents. I'm excited to be able to stay to connected to that - both with the undergraduate school and the campus and external community at large - in this new role.

February 19, 2011

Timeliness vs. Quality

When it comes to producing video content in 2011, there are many factors that help drive your decision-making process on an individual video project - goals, objectives, format, technology available, etc.

First and foremost, there are many options on how to even record your video, with much of the decision-making process depending on your end goal. You can put a flip camera in the hands of your customers. You can record an event or speaking engagement and post it after the event. You can even live-stream a show like my new addiction, HigherEdLive, and still archive the content. You can produce a high-quality informercial for your product or service. Or as we recently did, you can parody an existing video.

Recently, we ran into a timeliness versus quality debate for a video project where our end goals were community-building and building awareness of our mascot. Upon seeing the Bridgestone Beaver commercial during the Super Bowl, a colleague and I joked about finding a way to get our mascot, Biz E. Beaver a.k.a. The Biz, into a future Bridgestone commercial. I even reached out to their social media manager via Twitter and half-jokingly told them we have their talent for any future commercials. After not hearing back for a couple days, the idea finally popped in my head to film our own "commercial" with The Biz, a parody on the original.

We tried to mirror it as closely as possible to the original, but injecting some of the personality of our mascot, our institution and our dean. Unfortunately, it still took us a week to get this posted due to schedules and the fact my idea came 3 days later than it should have. Ideally, we would have filmed and edited this the day after the Superbowl.

We definitely feel filming and editing quliaty was sacrificed some, even with the one-week timeframe between the original's first airing and our video posting and promotion. We obviously wanted to capitalize on the timeliness and popularity of the Bridgestone commercial, including their success in  #brandbowl feedback, and I felt that timeliness was most important. With that being said, time will tell if the quality holds up over the months ahead as the commercial becomes less popular and searched on.

We're happy with the community's response to it these first few days and The Biz has even made a dozen new friends!