Spend a little time with your marketing team

After many months of work, we launched a new website this year. Being immensely proud of this, our marketing team agreed to present to the AoSEC Marketing Group about our experiences and the project outcomes.

The AoSEC marketing group meet regularly in order to help marketing managers from widely distributed organisations share good practice, and to encourage further networking among employees from departments that are typically small – departments in which you might be somewhat isolated.

Having spent a few minutes presenting an overview of the journey we have travelled, questions were opened. And what a lot of questions followed! I was so pleased that the topic we had chosen was relevant to seemingly everyone in the room. Most indicated that they were soon to embark upon, or had ambitions to embark upon, a website redevelopment. Even those who didn’t shared their own experiences of web site development and launch with us.

Most present were amazed at how we had published such a high quality site with such a low outlay. Being fortunate enough to have a development team to hand that can devote time to a large undertaking like this has meant that additional outlay on developer or technical costs has been minimal; we already had most of the skills in house. But maintaining this expertise in-house does have its costs and commitment to staff is paramount to ensuring the expertise gained remains in-house. So too does the use of open source software to deliver a mission critical service, and technical staff are required (assuming that you host content on site) in order to deliver and maintain the platform.

Another important theme that we reiterated was the very close working relationship between the Marketing and IT Services teams. Right from the outset, I began working closely with our Marketing Manager to review future site content. Perhaps this doesn’t immediately sound like something an IT Manager need be involved in, but we found that reviewing and restructuring together enabled us to stay focused upon a clean and simple solution, work within the limitations of content publishing platform, and all the time keeping our design brief achievable.

There is an enthusiastic group of staff among the marketing teams in educational organisations that should not be overlooked. In this, the first meeting I have attended, I have been pleasantly surprised by the enthusiasm for new ideas – even those that involve social media, an area where some can be overly cautious.

On many occasions now – redevelopment of our website, re-branding the College, changing the form of our prospectus and associated materials – working with our marketing team has been an immensely productive and gratifying experience. By their very nature, the marketing team has an involvement with most areas of the College operation; in all those instances when I have supported their work, I have learned something new about the College, our business and our audience.

I hope I have the opportunity to return to the AoSEC marketing meeting one day, perhaps to talk again about marketing activities supported by the IT department, or even newer concepts in marketing like social media. If you have the time, spend a little more with your marketing department!

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