NYU's New Marketer's Boot Camp

>> Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Johanna Skilling, the head of our planning group, teaches a marketing boot camp at NYU. Pretty impressive, huh? I asked her to share her thoughts from last week's session.

Hope this finds you well -- Jim.

Take it away, Johanna:

I spent part of last Thursday at Boot Camp – no, not that kind of boot camp! Trust me, I seriously don’t have the chops or potential for all those push-ups.

No, I was a guest lecturer at NYU’s New Marketers’ Boot Camp, a one week intensive for new (and even some experienced) marketers interested in improving their game.

There were folks there from as far away as Brazil and Nepal, and from organizations as diverse as Human Rights Watch, Centro Universitario de Communicación in Mexico City, Coopers & Lybrand, Avaya, and Unilever in El Salvador. The group included students majoring in a wide array of fields, including Biomedical Engineering at Cornell University, Psychology at Union College, International Studies at the American University, Anthropology at Bryn Mawr College, Fine Arts at the New York Academy of Art, even Theology at the University of Bristol.

So what was powerful enough to bring together this group of talented, smart, internationally-savvy students and business people? Two words: integrated marketing.

Because what these folks all get, is that silo’d marketing is a thing of the past. That marketers need to rise above media, and understand how all their efforts work together to serve customers, no matter where they are.

I was there to talk to them about what happens before an integrated marketing campaign (IMC, in boot-camp lingo) ever happens: that is, creating a brand. We talked about the 5 steps to creating a strategically smart brand, and how that brand creates a firm foundation for their integrated campaigns.

I was struck, as always, by how deeply the students responded to the need for a solid brand that personifies the company and its mission (or as Tom Peters famously observed, the brand called “you”).

The conversation ranged from motorcycles to micro-fashion brands, from J&J baby products to Team Obama, from Dove to Dunkin’ – and even touched on our agency’s own re-branding, to Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness.

When I asked them the single most important thing they’d gotten from our time together, many of them focused on all the things I would have hoped: the importance of listening to stakeholders, of defining a clear mission, of understanding how the brand lives across the time-space continuum.

But as always, I was struck by the quality of the discussion with my students, and how ideas and observations built off each other, so that collectively, we all left the room feeling smarter and more invigorated than when we came in (me included). And to me, that’s the real lesson of integrated marketing …Boot Camp, too. We’re all so much more powerful when we join forces and work together.

- Johanna Skilling, Director of Strategic Planning at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness


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