Each month I host the webcast and podcast Marketing Live on the Higher Ed Live network. It’s a great opportunity to meet colleagues from throughout higher ed and have interesting discussions on a variety of topics.
I recently interviewed the CMOs from the University of Arizona and Ohio State University about advancing one’s marketing career. With performance review time approaching (and the occasion it provides to reflect on your—and your team members’—growth and development), I wanted to share a few thought-provoking questions and relevant takeaways from that conversation.
Are you a generalist or a specialist?
- Instead of either/or, think of it as “generalist plus superpower.” In addition to the foundational skills in marketing, branding, communications, and leadership that we should all have, what is your superpower? What are you really good at that differentiates you, and how are you leveraging that part of your portfolio in service to your school or unit?
- Look for ways to round yourself out, so that you’re not just doing more of what you’re already doing. For example, do you have one year of experience 10 times, or do you really have 10 years of experience? Think of your career and your professional experiences as a narrative.
Can you identify ways to grow in your current role?
- Your ability to grow will help your organization do the same. Is there crucial work or a wicked problem within your school or unit that is not getting the needed time and attention because it’s risky or difficult? Look for those opportunities and put yourself out there.
- Do you have a colleague who is willing to tell you things that you don’t want to hear? Having someone you respect who will hold you accountable is invaluable and will deepen your sense of self-awareness.
What is your employer brand?
- How are you developing and positioning your school or unit—and your particular office—as a great place to work? What does it mean to work for your team, and how does that stack up against other opportunities in our community or across our field?
- Are you creating a culture where you have a team of staff members who are good enough to go elsewhere but choose to stay? We are all part of the IU community, believing in the transformative power of higher education on the lives of students. Do the IU HR brand promises come to life for members of your team: Something bigger than yourself, A community where you belong, and Careers for dreamers, doers, and leaders?
With summer around the corner, many staff are making professional development plans. There are marketing and communications colleagues on campus scheduled to participate in the following conferences over the coming months.
- CASE Annual Conference on Marketing and Branding
- Eduventures Summit
- Big Ten Plus News and Marketing Conference
- IU Social Media Summit
- Brand New Conference
Please let me know if you have plans to attend a conference this summer. We would welcome the opportunity to have you take a few minutes to share some key takeaways from your conference during one of our monthly marketers’ meetings. Or, better yet, if you’re giving a conference presentation, we would love to have you share that as well.