Elizabeth Keserauskis

Building relationships and making connections

What I’m Reading

I like to see the Standing Partnership “What We are Reading” list, so I thought I’d borrow that idea, and put my higher education lens on it!

  • We are in the process of hiring graduate assistants in our unit, so I was on the hunt for writing tests! PRSA had a few tips on how to select the best writer for a job.
  • Obviously, we are dealing with the millenials, Gen Y, whatever you wish to call them today. Many of us are hiring them at our workplaces. The Wall Street Journal published a very interesting article examining what a disservice social networking is doing for them as they enter the corporate world: Why Gen-Y Johnny Can’t Read Nonverbal Cues.
  • Is blogging really good for your business? Hubspot quantifies an aspect of the ROI of blogging for you! Hint: small businesses that blog have 55% more website visitors!
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July 30, 2010 Posted by | higher education, marketing, resources | , , , | Leave a comment

The Rationale for Centralized Marketing Structure in Universities

I recently drafted a memo internally discussing proposed organizational changes. Though targeted toward higher education, the points are well made for any industry:

The rules have changed for marketing and communications professionals both in general, but especially at the university level. We are challenged to keep up with constantly evolving technology and consumer behavior patterns, even more so with the advent of the Internet and the explosion of social media marketing tools. The good news is that we have greater and more direct access to our customers, reducing the reliance on the traditional news media to communicate with our audiences.

The field of traditional public relations has evolved such that greater skills than just crafting the attention-grabbing press release are critical to job success.  Public relations materials are now for more than just mainstream media audiences. Our audiences do not just want to see our organization on TV or in the newspaper; they want to see us on the web. Marketers are now challenged with helping customers move through the decision-making process with great online content; providing authenticity, not spin; and encouraging participation, not generating propaganda.

Communicating in the 21st century requires us to consider the following factors:

  • We are in a competitive, global marketplace
  • This is a 24/7 media environment—not just the traditional 9a-5p
  • The marketplace is extremely consumer-centric
  • Consumers have an expectation of governance and fiscal responsibility

Challenges we must overcome include providing context and perspective, demonstrating our competitive advantage, and ensuring our customers have a consistent message and experience.

In the traditional PR environment, organizations or units at a university could effectively function with a single individual generating press releases and responding in a reactive media environment. Today, teams of professionals are better suited to proactively tell the stories of success, and distribute those stories via all appropriate channels: through the website, video, publications, social media outlets, traditional media outlets, direct-to-consumer communication, and so much more.

All of these advances in the marketing and communications field present opportunities, but also the challenge of remaining professionally current in the field. Being part of a larger team or unit allows an individual to participate in more non-traditional professional development by learning from their teammates.

Given the fiscal challenges of both the federal and state governments (especially my home state of Illinois) and the tough budget times we face ahead, we must find ways to be more efficient and take advantage of existing resources—now more than ever before. We no longer have the luxury of separate marketing teams for various areas of the University. In addition to meeting the new challenges in the marketing field, it is fiscally more responsible to have one consolidated group that can address the marketing needs of various areas and the University as a whole.

July 27, 2010 Posted by | higher education, leadership, marketing, public relations | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s Hard to Find Great Training…But I DID!

Great training/trainers are HARD to find. We have all sat through useless boring training sessions that were great cures for insomnia. Since all can relate I’m sure, I have to share an experience that was fantastic.

Yesterday, we hosted blog development, content development and marketing strategy training for a few groups here on campus. We are working with them to create a strategic communications plan. I brought in social media and blogging expert, Marijean Jaggers, vice president at Standing Partnership.

All I can say is that she was fantastic. In addition to being extremely knowledgeable on the topics, she was able to balance technical detail with the content for the non-technical folks in the group. She is just plain likable and funny to boot!

She is worth following:

And Standing Partnership is one awesome strategic communications firm to work with too!

July 22, 2010 Posted by | connecting, marketing, social media | , , , , | Leave a comment

Who’s Behind the Curtain??

Have you ever gotten excited by a technological advance on a website where you are trying to do business, only to have your hopes dashed by the fact that it is fake?? You nearly had to peel me off the ceiling this morning when I was paying a credit card bill online. I was irritated by the fact that they were charging me a $10 fee to make a same day payment, whereas two days later it was free. I fully understand that the credit card companies need ways to monetize their products, but irritating nonetheless.

They almost redeemed themselves when they had a live chat window to confirm the amount of your same day payment–here was my chance to complain about the fees to a customer service rep! The minute I strayed from the “script” they expected from me,  I got the “please call this number and we will answer your questions.” Aaaah! There was NO real live person behind this chat! They even made up names, because I got a different name the second time I went through it! I would far rather they just don’t give the appearance of a live chat option than to bait and switch me! A lower tech site would have impressed me more, because they would not promise me anything they could not deliver.

So what does this mean for a business and marketing? A lot! Bottom line- don’t pretend you are something you are not, and don’t promise things that you cannot deliver!

Getting back to Marketing 101- hopefully you have defined a brand promise and value proposition for your customers. But can you deliver on that promise? The fastest way to destroy your brand is to have your customers lose faith in you. Shall we talk about Toyota? BP?

Your brand platform/promise is not only driving your external marketing, but it also serves as an internal compass driving the operations of your organization. If your employees do not understand your brand promise, how can they possibly be delivering on your promise to your customers? Thoughts?

July 21, 2010 Posted by | connecting, engaging, marketing, relationships | , , , , | 1 Comment

A Few of My Favorite Marketing Resources… What Are Yours?

A friend recently asked me for suggestions of books she could read to help freshen her marketing skills, and bring them up to the bleeding edge of the social media marketing/technology/SEO/SEM world. So I responded to her via email, and then thought I might as well share my thoughts here as well.

My first reaction to that question is that the technology and user interfaces are changing so quickly that books teaching applications almost immediately become obsolete when they are published. There are a few that address theory and approach that are applicable whether there is a shiny new technology object.

My favorite book:
The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media, Blogs, News Releases, Online Video, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly, 2nd Edition by David Meerman Scott (amazon affiliate link). This has helped me re-frame the way I approach marketing drastically.

Next up on my reading list (after the mindless, yet terribly entertaining, crap I am currently reading):

Tribal Knowledge: Business Wisdom Brewed from the Grounds of Starbucks Corporate Culture by John Moore (amazon affiliate link). This came highly recommended to me by a new colleague as I am navigating the new waters of radio station management.

Also, blogs I follow include Mashable, Jay Baer’s Convince and Convert, David Meerman Scott’s Web Ink Now, Sysomos for research, Dan Zarella, and Marijean Jaggers.

Google has a whole slew of free training videos for Google Analytics and Google Adwords. The Analytics for Dummies book may still be useful, but they keep changing the interface of both so books quickly become obsolete. I’d use the free online tools.

LinkedIn groups I belong to: Web 2.0 for Higher Education, Marketing Profs, the Social Media Marketing Group, Southern IL Marketing and Communications. Connect with me if we haven’t already: linkedin.com/in/BethKeserauskis.

July 19, 2010 Posted by | engaging, marketing, social media | , , , , , | Leave a comment

There’s No Crying in Volleyball…or Marketing

volleyball as analogy for marketing strategyMy team and I experienced substantial frustration this weekend as we played in a grass triples volleyball tournament, the US Open of Grass Volleyball, or the Waupaca Boatride tournament in WI. Our fatal error causing the frustration: assuming. Yes, I admit our frustration was largely our doing thanks to assuming that the rules would be what we were used to, and assuming that our fellow players would have the same integrity and honesty that we did.

Without going into excruciating volleyball detail, essentially our competition was not holding themselves to the same high quality play standards we have grown accustomed to in outdoor play. Additionally, since the rules were essentially “police yourself”, there were a few dishonest folks who did not call their own net fouls.

So we lost more than we should have. However, that is no excuse for us not playing at minimum to our potential to overcome that. OR, changing our strategy to adapt to the “new” rules.

Yes, I am about to turn a volleyball tournament scenario into an analogy for marketing. I can’t help it- it’s what I do.

All too often the rules change at some point throughout our execution of our carefully planned marketing strategy. What defines us as marketing strategists is whether we can see that the rules have changed, and adapt our strategy and course accordingly. So many factors can change: the economy, a natural disaster, a product failure, a PR crisis, etc. We cannot possibly predict all of the options. We can however have a system in place to help detect the change in rules and help us adapt to a new direction. To me, that is a sign of a top notch marketing strategist.

Clearly we did not identify the changing landscape during our volleyball tournament and adapt our strategy accordingly. So for a few days I will just complain about the unfairness of the situation to anyone willing to listen. But then, I will be sure that the next time I play, I am ready to meet that challenge.

July 12, 2010 Posted by | leadership, marketing | , , , , | 2 Comments