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Marketing and Advancement: Colleagues and Partners or Direct Reports


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This was presented at the 2018 AMA Higher Education Conference by Michael Stoner, co-founder and co-owner at mStoner, Inc. and Rob Zinkan, associate vice president, marketing, at Indiana University.

In this presentation, based on insights from the 2018 Benchmarking Digital Advancement research by CASE and mStoner, Inc., and interviews with senior advancement and marketing professionals, we explore the current relationship between the CMO and chief advancement officer. Are they colleagues and partners? And, more importantly, what
lies ahead for the CMO/CAO relationship as institutions seek to implement more effective engagement strategies with the entire range of an institution’s stakeholders?

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Marketing and Advancement: Colleagues and Partners or Direct Reports

  2. 2. Hello AMA! Michael Stoner Co-Director and Co-Founder mStoner, Inc. Rob Zinkan Associate Vice President for Marketing Indiana University
  3. 3. We’re at an inflection point in higher ed as the CMO gains respect & prominence and as the CAO faces a new set of challenges. The Assertion:
  4. 4. Both leaders must do their best work and learn to work together effectively for the benefit of their institution. The Corollary:
  5. 5. “It often goes back to the evolution and maturity of the marketing role – the reason there’s tension is because they’re running headlong into each other. Often there aren’t clear lines of cooperation or separation – and a lack of clarity – about who’s being held responsible for what.” Charlie Melichar, Senior Consultant Marts & Lundy
  6. 6. “It’s not about reporting, it’s about an understanding of how marketing strategy should work at an institution, whether you report to Advancement or the President.” Mary Gresch, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer University of Washington
  7. 7. Today’s Topics 1. What the data show 2. Challenges for CMOs & CAOs 3. Being effective partners 4. The future? 5. Discussion Agenda
  8. 8. Where we are
  9. 9. Parity in reporting Our chief advancement officer and our chief marketing officer both report to our CEO 60% Our chief advancement officer reports to our CEO; our chief marketing officer reports to advancement 21% Our chief advancement officer reports to our CEO; our chief marketing officer reports elsewhere (If elsewhere, to whom?) 14% Our chief marketing officer reports to our CEO; our chief advancement officer reports elsewhere (If elsewhere, to whom?) 3% Our chief marketing officer reports to our CEO; our chief advancement officer reports to marketing 2% In response to the question: “Q30. Which of the following statements is most true of your institution?”; n = 239. Source: mStoner/CASE Survey of Digital Advancement 2018.
  10. 10. Topline takeaways from the data Brand is a major .edu priority Slightly less than half of institutions use one brand for all communications; just over half use a slightly different brand for Advancement purposes At a majority of institutions, the .edu brand and the campaign brand are largely identical At nearly two-thirds of institutions, “creating, sustaining improving brand image” is a major goal for social media Enhancing the .edu brand is the major goal for video at institutions that are creating and deploying video One institutional brand Even in a campaign Brand is a key goal for social media initiatives Brand is a driver for video
  11. 11. One brand or similar brands? In response to the question: “Q32. Which of the following statements is most true of your institution?”; n = 379. Source: mStoner/CASE Survey of Digital Advancement 2018. 51% 49% Our institution has developed a brand platform but advancement uses a slightly different platform for communications Our institution has developed a brand platform that serves as the foundation for all our communications
  12. 12. .Edu brand & campaign brand In response to the question: “Q33. If your institution has recently conducted, currently engaged in, or planning a fundraising comprehensive campaign or capital campaign, to what extent did/will the campaign branding leverage your institution’s brand platform?”; n = 238. Source: mStoner/CASE Survey of Digital Advancement 2018. 14% 29% 57% The campaign brand is distinctive There's significant overlap They’re largely identical
  13. 13. In response to the question: “Q14. Which of the following goals for your [UNIT/INSTITUTION]’s social media activities are most important?Please select up to three.?”; n = 79. Source: mStoner/CASE Survey of Digital Advancement 2018. create, sustain, improve brand image encourage more engagement in general engage alumni increase brand advocacy 23 24 59 65 Brand: Top goals of social media initiatives
  14. 14. In response to the question: “Q28. [If use video] What is the video usually created for? Please select all that apply.”; n = 35. Source: mStoner/CASE Survey of Digital Advancement 2018. institutional brand awareness giving (Annual Fund, Days of Giving, etc.) student recruitment social media engagement marketing campus event capital campaign 38 50 59 67 61 75 Brand: Top purposes for video
  15. 15. Topline takeaways from the data Marketing priorities At majority of institutions, enrollment was ranked as the #1 goal for the central marketing team from among seven options. These goals were ranked among the top three. Fundraising and alumni engagement goals are not key priorities for central marketing teams. Enrollment Brand & reputation Fundraising & alumni are not goals
  16. 16. Priorities for marketing In response to the question: “Q35. How would you, personally, rank the priority areas that your institution’s central marketing team is most focused on currently?”; n = 241. Note: *Some respondents only ranked a few items; therefore the base percentage is slightly different for each priority area. This will be re-formatted at a later date, and the percentages may change slightly. Source: mStoner/CASE Survey of Digital Advancement 2018. 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th Not ranked* Enrollment goals 57 13 14 5 2 1 6 2 Institutional brand management 25 37 25 5 3 1 3 <1 Overall institutional reputation goals 16 36 30 3 6 5 2 2 Alumni engagement 0 5 10 20 28 15 10 11 Stakeholder fundraising <1 2 3 12 16 23 32 12 Alumni fundraising <1 5 5 13 17 26 22 11 Stakeholder engagement 1 3 12 31 16 17 13 8
  17. 17. Topline takeaways from the data Who does what? At a majority of institutions, marketing is responsible for market research. At two-thirds of institutions, marketing produces the website and video production and manages digital marketing. At about a third of institutions, Advancement handles campaign identity and communications; at a third, it shares them with marketing; and at a third, marketing leads them. Not surprisingly, perhaps, Advancement leads on alumni and fundraising communications Market research Digital marketing & video Campaign identity & communications shared Alumni & development communications
  18. 18. Challenges for CMOs & CAOs
  19. 19. CMO challenges More with less There’s less money and fewer staff to do the work in a time when there are many important needs across the institution. Keeping up is hard enough but especially when institutional priorities & organization are shifting so much. Not to mention keeping up with stakeholder needs & expectations. Maintaining a viable brand in the attention economy is difficult. Rapid changes, growing impact, attention of stakeholders raise the stakes for web/digital/ social. Shrinking staff & budgets Rapid change Maintaining a strong brand Tech still a challenge
  20. 20. Source: Table 15, “Greatest communications and marketing challenge in the next five years,” from the 2015 CASE Educational Communications and Marketing Trends Survey, January 2017. keeping up with trends in the profession & audience expectations budget/resources/staffing levels productivity in a fast-paced environment with limited resources competition with other institutions & maintaining a viable brand strategic focus or adapting to organizational challenges tech adoptioin or implementation, inc. social media & web innovation & producing relevant offerings enrollment goals championing comms & mktng in education or the institution 5 6 6 8 8 10 13 16 18 Greatest marcom challenges
  21. 21. CAO challenges New reality: more, more, more There’s no more down- time between campaigns: institutions are always in campaign mode Campaigns have more goals, larger goals, and more ambitious goals These new campaigns require more resources and staff Your institution is raising money and so is everyone else. That means competition for dollars, mindshare, and for experienced staff Permanent campaigns Bigger campaigns More resources required Ubiquitous fundraising
  22. 22. CAO challenges Advice for the next campaign Show donors how your institution improves lives, enhances accress/diversity, medical research, the environment — causes they care about. Deliver content that is relevant to them, in channels they follow. Become more relevant Personalize outreach Explore digital advertising & retargeting along with giving days, crowdfunding, micro-campaigns to build a new donor pool & enthusiasm. Embrace new channels for engagement
  23. 23. Working together
  24. 24. Idea #1: Focus on your audience Focus on the experience of your stakeholders and what they need from your institution.
  25. 25. “We can get too entrenched in silos … instead of stepping out and putting ourselves in the customer journey …. It creates confusion … when … the experience of the institution differs in fundamental ways.” Scripps College Binti Harvey, Vice President for External Rela3ons/Ins3tu3onal Advancement
  26. 26. Idea #2: Be awesome Be awesome at your job. But learn a lot about fundraising.
  27. 27. Idea #3: Digital first Ensure that you and your team master digital and online media.
  28. 28. Source: Data from Ruffalo Noel Levitz (2018). Advancement Leaders Speak: The future of higher education fundraising campaigns. Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Ruffalo Noel Levitz. Selected responses to the question “Which [of the following investments] do you expect to be part of your current or next campaign?" web & social presence trying new donor contact channels increase in brand marketing addl. tech investment hiring of more marketing professionals 74 85 85 85 86 Our next campaign will feature …
  29. 29. Idea #4: Lead the data Play a key role in developing, managing, and using an integrated institutional dataset.
  30. 30. “The digital tools are a place of common intersection and common ground: getting the institution to invest and administer them for the best work is the challenge .… And who has the vision and focus to build it?” Bob Groves, Vice President for University Advancement Michigan State University
  31. 31. Idea #5: Cultivate humility Be humble, listen, and always question your perceptions, especially when you’re sure you’re “right.”
  32. 32. A look into the future?
  33. 33. “In an ideal world, the advancement executive would have a broad view and responsibility across all revenue streams and would be a Chief Revenue Officer over admissions, government relations, development, and constituent engagement.” J T. Forbes, CEO, Indiana University Alumni Association Indiana University
  34. 34. “Marketing owns a broader vision of the university than Advancement usually does.” Larry Lauer, Vice Chancellor Emeritus Texas Christian University
  35. 35. “I think that the Chief Marketing Officer is going to become the Chief Strategy Officer, because there’s no one else who has the perspective about what are people getting and what’s happening out there.” Tony Proudfoot, Vice President for Marketing and Strategic Communication Western Michigan University
  36. 36. [note: CASE membership required for access] For a copy, contact Kristin Ingels ( To receive a copy, sign up at Results from mStoner/CASE Survey of Digital Advancement 2018 released in December 2018.
  37. 37. Thank You! ROB ZINKAN
 Associate Vice President for Marketing Indiana University 
 812-855-0287 MICHAEL STONER
 Co-Owner & CO-Founder