Elizabeth Keserauskis

Building relationships and making connections

Acting Like an Agency

The University Marketing and Communications (UMC) team structure is set up as a strategic communications agency serving our internal clients. With a client-facing level around our core tactical services, we operate as an integrated marketing team for the University. Our services include strategy development, web strategy, interactive media, graphic design, publication and copywriting, media relations, advertising development, market research, event management, social media integration, email marketing, photography, video production, and more. Our team leaders are empowered as relationship managers, serving as a liaison for various internal clients, helping them clarify their marketing objectives and formulating strategies to meet the objectives. I presented this poster at the AASCU Strategic Communicators conference in Washington, D.C., April 2013.

Acting Like an Agency

 

 

 

 

May 14, 2013 Posted by | engaging, higher education, leadership, marketing, relationships | , | Leave a comment

My Debut(s) On the Radio Waves!

Since last summer, the campus radio station (WSIE 88.7FM The Jazz Station) has been under my supervision. This has been an extremely interesting area to work on, as I have in the past only been on the other side of the coin by buying radio advertising. Working with the radio station has brought a few unique opportunities to test my “radio voice”! First, I recorded the 10 second tag on a commercial for the university, and just two days ago I recorded a holiday greeting for the station. An alternative career path? Maybe not. But it was certainly fun to do! And, I didn’t have to pay talent fees…

December 16, 2010 Posted by | leadership, relationships | , , | Leave a comment

Speaking of LinkedIn…

Since my last post was about LinkedIn, I thought I would share the groups to which I belong on LinkedIn. I have only included the marketing groups I find useful.

MarketingProfs– Group Profile: MarketingProfs is a community of marketers centered around smart, quick, and actionable know-how and discussion. More than 360,000 subscribers read our newsletters and blog, attend our events and seminars (both live and virtual), and participate in the MP discussion forum. (interesting note: their group profile page has a spelling error! A result of fast fingers on the keyboard I suspect. I did not repeat the mistake here.)

Inbound Marketers– Group Profile: Online group for marketing professionals. A community those looking to reach their best customers online through techniques like inbound marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) and social media. I do feel that it tends to be an engine to drive traffic to their seminars, but you can often find interesting conversations and smart people to follow here.

Southern Illinois Marketing & Communications– Group Profile: When you leave the large market, marketing and communications professionals begin to wear more hats in their career. The group is dedicated to those marketing, PR and Communications professionals who are juggling all three expertises (if not more). Since I happen to be located in Southern IL, I like this group to connect with other folks located or doing business in the area. It’s nice to stay abreast of issues specifically occurring in your region.

Are we connected yet? My profile: linkedin.com/in/bethkeserauskis

Any other groups we should know about? What do you learn from them?

October 28, 2010 Posted by | connecting, relationships, reputation management | , , , , , | 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

The Importance of Doing the Right Thing

I know, it sounds like a lesson you learned in kindergarten. Unfortunately, many companies still don’t understand it though.

I’ve had several conversations lately about the PR implications of negative actions taken or substantial errors made by companies or employees. And inevitably, there is always a suggestion that we figure out how to “cover this up”. I shake my head, and my response is typically the same: has anyone thought about perhaps admitting an error, issuing a heartfelt apology, and outlining the steps you are taking to fix the problem and safeguard against repeating history?

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Wouldn’t you find it easier to forgive a company for a wrongdoing if they apologized and fixed it, versus tried to cover it up? How about Toyota’s recent mechanical problems–they were slow to speak in the public and apologize, but once they did, it focused the conversation away from trying to catch them to talking about how the problem is going to be fixed.

Yes, there will be a time when their brand will suffer. However, they have worked very hard in the past to build relationships with their customers, to the tune of significant brand loyalty. It will take some time, but it will be easier for them to rebuild trust than if they had not built that relationship foundation.

Sorry for the brand loyalty digression, but the message is the same. If you do the right thing to fulfill your mission and satisfy your customers, handling times of crisis becomes so much easier. So when we ask ourselves what we are going to do about a particular situation, the answer to me is easy: what is the right thing to do for our employees, our customers, and our other publics?

June 12, 2010 Posted by | leadership, public relations, relationships, reputation management | , , , , | Leave a comment

Building Your Personal Brand

I saw a segment with Steadman Graham this morning on FOX 2 News, talking about how you have to know who you are before you can get out in the business world and trying to sell yourself as an employee to a company or as a resourcing company. It seems very appropriate to talk about how, as an individual, you need to also manage your reputation, in addition to your company or organization that you’re working for.

As I help someone near and dear to me work on her resume after 35 years at the same company, I’m reminding myself that we need to not only to fill the resume, we also need to discover what are her core strengths and how can we package that into a proposition for a company, a set of resources for a company that’s going to hire versus just an individual with a great resume. My challenge today is to think about how you can invent yourself as an individual with a value proposition–this is ironic because I spend so much time helping companies and figure out who they are and how to fill the need of their customers. My next challenge is going to be how to bring that down to the individual level, and help this person near and dear to my heart package and present themselves to companies as a valuable resource.

LinkedIn is a great tool I strongly advocate. I have several examples of success using LinkedIn as a networking tool, including as a way for companies to find candidates for their marketing positions. Now my challenge is going to become having a real example or case study of helping individuals create their strengths and package them as a resource for businesses in the area as they look to start phase two of their career.

May 28, 2010 Posted by | connecting, marketing, relationships, reputation management | , , , , | Leave a comment

Ed-Glen Chamber Presentation

Today I spoke with the members of the Edwardsville-Glen Carbon Chamber of Commerce. They invited me to speak with them about incorporating social media tools in their marketing strategy. If you missed the event, or are just plain curious, you can download my slide deck on SlideShare, along with several recent presentations I have made on web user behavior (specifically millenials) and more (http://www.slideshare.net/bethkeserauskis).

April 27, 2010 Posted by | connecting, marketing, relationships, reputation management, social media | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Jury is Still Out on Twitter

I have seen some successful customer service interactions on Twitter and experienced not some not-so-great customer service interactions on Twitter, specifically involving Dell. I am still not exactly certain how Twitter can be successful from the individual user, or customer, perspective. If you are a corporation looking to get involved in Twitter from the perspective of generating original content, how can you generate content that people actually want to read? Obviously, most people don’t really care about the mundane things, such as me sending a tweet saying that I am driving to work this morning. The people who are preaching about Twitter as an opportunity for your business to get engaged with social media seem, to me, to be more interested in increasing their number of followers or the number of tweets they send versus really trying to engage with the audience. I question, do you actually [have a signal with] your customer or you are just generating a bunch of noise? If you have 100,000 followers, I challenge you to show me that you actually can have an interactive relationship with all 100,000 people. So if you are just generating and broadcasting content for the sake of hearing yourself talk, and that’s your objective, maybe Twitter is for you. If you are actually using it to try to connect with people, I still have yet to see how that is actually a viable option.

The other thing that I have noticed is that many of those who are preaching about twitter or generating the most content or the most followers also happen to be male. Now, this may sound exceptionally reverse-chauvinist or reverse-sexist, but I wonder if what is at play here is that women in their 30’s and 40’s have kids and careers and families and are trying to balance them all. The things that get cut from your time are those things that don’t have the biggest bang for their buck.  I am wondering if Twitter is one of those that has yet to show a big bang for the buck and is, therefore, being dropped from the radar of some individual women. Now again, I don’t have any substantial proof to make these statements but it is just a feeling I have, especially when I am talk to several women also in the field of marketing and advertising that feel the same way about how can you incorporate Twitter as an effective communication strategy.

In the subsequent post, I will talk a little bit about the rich customer service opportunities that abound, monitoring the conversation about your brand using Twitter, and finding ways to have conversations with individuals that I have seen to be successful. But –just Tweeting for the sake of hearing yourself talk is not an effective communication strategy unless your whole goal is simply to make yourself look good and make noise.

April 13, 2010 Posted by | connecting, marketing, relationships, social media | , , , | 2 Comments

Most productive CEOs

I recently read an article in Inc. magazine that featured several CEOs talking about work habits that have contributed to their success, or helped them be more efficient, in their particular business environment. The first CEO that caught my attention was Caterina Fake of Hunch who talked about keeping her schedule completely free-form, and working on what she wants to work on, whenever she wants to work on it—whatever seems right at the time. That approach would be great if you only had to work on certain things and could delegate everything else to a person below you. But for me, her approach doesn’t provide a good suggestion of how to help prioritize my day, or do a better job of delegating, so that I can sit and focus or work on the things that I want to work on at that particular time. After testing that strategy for a few days, I would up with a lot of work that didn’t get done during the week, waiting for me to do over the weekend. That isn’t helping me achieve work-life balance. Perhaps I am not delegating well enough.

One interesting, great thing she mentioned in the article is that when she conducts her staff meetings, everyone is standing during the entire meeting.  Also, everyone drinks 16 oz. of water before the meeting starts, and the meeting is over when the first person has to go to the restroom. To me, that seems like an incentive to keep your meetings short, to the point, brief, and not waste your time meeting for the sake of meeting, but rather get out there and get something done for your company. Go build a relationship. Go check an item off your to-do list. I brought that suggestion to the next regular staff meeting I have to attend. Everyone seemed to agree–let’s see if it gets implemented.

The other CEO that caught my attention in this article was Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks, who claims that he only conducts business and correspondence through email. He does not utilize voicemail or meetings. If you do require his attention in a meeting or by voicemail, it better be something very good and important…likely conducting millions of dollars of business.

Now, there’s something lost for me when you communicate only exclusively through email. First of all, you assume, and insist, that everyone you deal with also operates through email. To me, a sign of a good manager of people is that you adapt your communication style to fit the needs of those working for you. My job is to bring out the best in people and help them achieve their potential. So if, for example, someone’s personality or style is not conducive to business via email exclusively, are you isolating them? Are you potentially surrounding yourself with people who are like you, rather than surrounding yourself with a rich, diverse mix of people who bring different trades, ideas, thoughts, and processes to the table?

I think an emphasis on diversity brings a richer mix of ideas and innovations to the table. But then again, Mark Cuban has made quite a bit of money and is quite successful at what he does. I guess, once you get to that point, you can tell everyone around you how you prefer to do business. But in the meantime, those of us who are still stuck in the middle and trying to work our way up will need to continue to adapt to the communication styles of those who are reporting to us. Also, you can’t tell inflection, personality, or emotion through written, email correspondence.  There’s something to be said for working either via the phone or in person, being able to get to know someone just a little bit better.

I also ask, how do these ‘unique’ work styles affect relationships with the customer? If you will only communicate with them via email, or you won’t commit to a schedule or timeline, is that helping further the relationship or to begin a new relationship? Unless you are in a business where your customers have no choice but to do business with you, I would suggest that you be willing to meet your customers where they are comfortable conducting business and communnicating with you. That will likely lead to a multi-layered communication strategy to address the varying needs.

March 17, 2010 Posted by | connecting, leadership, relationships | , , , , | Leave a comment

A pro female athlete provided me business wisdom through a sports lens

I had the pleasure of attending the Missouri Valley Conference women’s basketball championship match last Sunday at the St. Charles Family Arena. Before the game, we were invited to a luncheon and where Kristin Folkl-Kaburakis was the key note speaker and the group was a reunion for the NCAA Beyond the Baseline event. Last year, we worked with middle school girls through the NCAA Beyond the Baseline program by providing mentoring and leadership development for inner city middle school girls. It was great to see so many of the girls at this reunion and reminisce about the event.

The Court of LifeKristin, a former WNBA star (read more in the St. Louis Woman Magazine article) focused on how as an athlete, the time you spend on the court is really only a small percentage of the overall experience. She challenged us to ask ourselves what we are doing to make sure that we are participating in each and every aspect and part of that process and the full experience beyond on what is just happening on the court during an actual athletic event. I think this is a great analogy not only for use as these girls are growing up and participating in a variety of things, trying to decide on what they are most interested in, but also for us in the business of marketing and building relationships and creating connections.

Though what each of us defines as a “sale” may vary, but that “sale” is such a small percentage of the full experience for a customer. What are doing to nurture and cultivate and participate in every single step of that process not just the actual “sale” or “signing on the dotted-line.” How are you not exclusively focusing on that tiny little percentage—though granted that could be a substantial amount of money in some instances? The most important element of customer service and satisfaction is the relationship–how are you cultivating that relationship with your customer?

So thank you, Kristin, for providing such words of wisdom. Though in a completely different context, it is something that really has made me think about more than just sporting events or life experiences, rather how this has practical application to business.

March 15, 2010 Posted by | connecting, marketing, relationships, sales | , , , | Leave a comment