Integrate WV…. I know what you’re thinking…. What the heck is that?? Well, for a marketing communications guru, it’s one of the greatest conferences in the state!!! The Integrate WV conference was started by the WVU IMC program several years ago.  Held the first weekend of June each year, the conference provides IMC professionals and academics an opportunity to share and broaden their knowledge of the field and network with other professionals and academics.

This year’s conference was a little different as WVU has partnered with Marshall University and holding the conference in Huntington, WV.  The venue is different than what I’m accustomed to, but this is a beautiful part of the state, and it’s always good to visit areas I don’t get to travel to often.

integrate wv

The last time I attended this event was in 2012, so I have been itching to get back among my IMC peep for quite some time now.  And here I am… finally!!! Talking about IMC, learning about IMC and networking with some of the most successful IMC practitioners and fellow academics in the business.

IMC is a specialized marketing strategy that can still be confusing for executive management and, as I’m talking with my peers today, even some advertising agencies.  It is one of the most misunderstood marketing concepts that is often times perceived as just a variety of advertising tactics thrown together and called an advertising campaign.  But it goes so much deeper and far more technical than just that, which requires greater attention worthy of a separate post altogether.  This evening, I just want to share with you some of the information I gleaned from the presenters at the conference today. Perhaps after reading a brief summary about the these sessions, you will begin to see the nuances and complexity involved in IMC, and why IMC practitioners are some of the most creative, innovative and talented marketing professionals out there.

20170602_233927We started off the conference today with a presentation by Joseph Jaffe as he discussed his new idea of IMC called “Be a Hero… Commit to Z.E.R.O.”  Through his humorous rants of what brands are doing wrong, Jaffe agreed that 20% of customers account for 80% of profits.  So he questioned why brands were only spending 20% of their budget on retention efforts.  Good question, Joe!!  I recommend you read his book too find out more of this thoughts and ideas on this futuristic philosophy.

The second session of the day was lead by Steve Radick of Brunner in Pittsburgh. He told the behind-the-scenes story of the idea creation and development of the award-winning 84 Lumber Super Bowl commercial.  Whether you agree with the message or not isn’t what is so amazing, but the free earned media the whole project gained, putting the 84 Lumber brand at the top of consumers’ minds. Watch the video below, then click over to watch this great case study on this amazing piece of creative work.  Once you watch the case study, then you’ll see just how complex, yet successful this piece of IMC work turned out to be.

Finally, I’ll close out this discussion with the amazing presentation on content creation presented by Amanda Todorovich of the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio.  She and her team has accomplished some of the greatest blogging and social media feats ever. With over 4.5 million visits per month, their blog entitled “Health Essentials” is the most visited healthcare blog in the US.  Amanda shared her secrets on how to develop successful content through blogging and social media.  The two most important rules to follow to build a solid content foundation, according to Amanda, included defining a strategy and sticking to it.  She repeated that multiple times, so I’m thinking that they are two rules you do not want to break!  After that, the brand must 1) know the customer and personify them, 2) help the customer solve problems and make decisions, 3) provide value whether they buy your product or not, and 4) listen to them… data tells you everything.

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It was a great day in IMC paradise today.  But what’s even more exciting is the fact that tomorrow will be here with a whole day just chock-full of more IMC professionals, more presentations, more insights and information and more networking.  It’s getting late, and I don’t want to miss a single minute of it.  So time to hit the sack and rest up for another fun-filled, inspiring and amazing IMC day when the sun comes up. I’ll be sure to share at least one more post, maybe even two of all the great things we discussed during day two. For now, I will leave you with this last quote shared by Joe Jaffe in his presentation… I literally laughed out loud, and hope it gives you a little chuckle as well….

Due to shortages of robots, workers here are human beings and may react unpredictably if abused. 🙂 

Class dismissed!  pc

#INTEGRATEWV