Mostly Marketing by Theresa B. Clarke

Sharing my love of marketing. Helping marketing students, marketing practitioners, & marketing professors connect with one another. Passionate about nurturing new marketing talent. Enjoys sharing novel ideas about a wide variety of topics…but mostly marketing.

Prepared to Make the Difference: Three Ideas to Help You Make a Really Big Difference

My faculty commencement address to the JMU College of Business.

Class of 2017, Congratulations!    You did it!

In the College of Business, we have a slogan…Prepared to Make the Difference.

  •    It means you are ready to hit the ground running and have grown closer to becoming a professional.
  •    You learned business fundamentals, collaborated in teams, and participated in our many experiential CoB programs.
  •    You are equipped with resources, knowledge, and connections to help you succeed.

Today, You ARE prepared to Make the Difference —and I want to share three ideas that may help you make a REALLY BIG difference.

  1.      Be courageous.

Think about a moment in your life when there was something you really wanted to do….but didn’t do it because you were afraid to try. My moment was as a child. I wanted to be a cheerleader for my school. But I was apprehensive about trying out, because I doubted my ability to make the squad. I didn’t know how I would face my family, my friends, and the world if I didn’t make it.  So I didn’t try out. It was the cowardly choice, not the courageous one. I. let. myself. down.

But what the experience taught me at a young age, was that NOT trying ALWAYS feels worse than failing.  NOT TRYING was a mistake I didn’t want to repeat again.  So I vowed to never let the fear of failure stand in front of anything I TRULY wanted to accomplish. I stopped caring about failure and I decided to become fearless, ESPECIALLY in my career. I still experience failures today, but I know it really isn’t that bad because I actually learn a lot when I fail and life does go on.  When YOU aren’t afraid to fail, you will wake up every morning willing—and eager—and full of courage.   And the more courageous you can become, the more that big, exciting, and meaningful opportunities will enter your life.  Courage can lead you to do some pretty great things as you try to make a big difference in the world.

  1.      Commit to lifelong learning.

Today, you begin a new frame of learning as a college graduate. There won’t be structured classes or professors guiding you.  We in the College of Business have done our part. Now it’s your turn.  YOU will be in charge of your business education going forth. Let me tell you why this is so important.

When I was a senior looking for my first job, I had good grades, I was an active leader in clubs, and I held an internship where I performed well. Back then if you applied for a job, bad news came through a formal letter in the mail. I knew I could either trash the rejection letter and be angry about it—or make it my friend. I decided to make it my friend, folding it neatly and storing it away in the back of an old filing cabinet. Eventually, that letter had a friend—and then another— and another until I had my-own-little-sorority of rejection-letter-friends.

Over the next few decades, while my rejection letters sat in the filing cabinet…the world of business changed in so many ways…laws, technology, societal trends, the consumer voice, big data, …so many things—but I continued learning — as those changes were taking place. One day I found and re-read all those old rejection letters, I realized something very important.  And here’s what I want you to understand—continuous learning WILL reward you in the long run.

One letter had come from a Fortune 500 Company—my dream job at the time. No job, but…a few years ago that very same company contacted me with a request to do some digital marketing consulting for them. That. Felt. Great!   Another one of my rejection letters was from a graduate school that turned me down.  Six years ago, that university invited me to guest speak in an honors marketing seminar. That felt pretty great too!

I strongly believe that business career success requires you to constantly learn. Class of 2017, I challenge you to continue learning so you don’t miss out.  If you don’t—and you know this—someone else WILL be learning and you’ll eventually turn stale and will be left behind in this highly competitive and dynamic business world.  Don’t let today be the end of your education.  Start by building on experiences you had as a business student—like studying abroad, being a member of a business student organization, service learning, and going on company tours. Find ways to carry those experiences on as a business professional.  Be that person who continues to learn— and you will find NO shortage of ways to make your big difference.

  1.      Cherish the good in every day of your life.

It will be hard to make those big differences if you aren’t feeling good. We all have bad days—but you can always find something to appreciate, even on your darkest of days, if you look.  I have a nightly ritual. I call it my blessing box. It’s a box I found at Michael’s craft store—it’s about the size of a six-pack. Inside I put 365 blank notecards—one card for each day of the year.  Every night, I pull out the card for that day and add the current year—then, I write ONE sentence about something meaningful from that day: an activity, an accomplishment, something funny, something joyful.  Just something good I want to appreciate and remember. Then I move it to the back of my box, and my card for the next day awaits me. In that little box, over the course of many years, I’ve ended up with a personal collection of special moments from every day, of every year. And it is rewarding to look back at the goodness in my life as I write on my card each day.

I have 365 of these.  Each card reminds me to be forever grateful for the people, passions, big experiences, and little moments that are so special. Writing on these cards and reading them each day made me discover that when you are in tune with the good in your life, you can better operate from a position of incredible strength.  And with that strength comes powerful insight that guides you towards where and how to make those really big differences in your life and in the lives of others.

Today might be a great day to start your own blessing box, or a journal, or even just daily moment of silent reflection.  What will you write or think about?   I hope it’s something that captures today as a cherished, positive, festive, and joyful celebration of your entire JMU and CoB experience that you shared with your classmates, friends, and loved ones supporting you today.

Tonight when I write the 2017 entry on MY May 5th card I will probably say: “I never imagined I would give a commencement speech, but I did…and it was a genuine honor that I will always cherish.”

On behalf of the faculty and staff in the JMU College of Business, we wish the Class of 2017 our very best.  We hope that you find courage, that you continue to learn after today, and that you find the good in every day of your life.  And, as you make YOUR difference in the business world, YOU — will – make – us – proud.

Dr. Theresa Clarke's Commencement Speech to the JMU College of Business Class of 2017.

Marketing in the 2016 Presidential Election

I have been pondering various marketing dimensions of the recent Presidential campaign.  A July 2016 Advertising Age predicted that the better candidate doesn’t win, the better marketer does.  Some great learning opportunities can be found via leaders from the academic and practitioner community in “Marketing Experts Dissect the Outcome of the Presidential Race“, published on November 9 from the American Marketing Association.  A November 13 article by Forbes, “Don’t Trust Marketing ‘Lessons’ from the 2016 Presidential Election” implies that we will be studying the marketing lessons from this election for some time. In a November 21 Wall Street Journal article entitled “Trump’s Win Has Ad Agencies Rethink How They Collect Data, Recruit Staff“, advertisers are questioning if they are in touch with their non-cosmopolitan audiences.

I attended a presentation by Madeline Twomey, Director at Bully Pulpit Interactive, on “Political Advertising in the 2016 Election” at the DMAW/EF Professor’s Institute.  There were a number of takeaways from her presentation.  Social media is not longer optional in political marketing campaigns…Donald Trump proved that.  Strategy still matters.  You will never have enough content.  Tailor creative to targets, but don’t over segment.  In terms of measurement, engagement does not equal persuasion.  Millennials need “digital-first” content.

There are many interesting marketing issues to examine within both campaigns as we inquire about the marketing successes and failures from both candidates. I hope you enjoy these thought-provoking articles as a means of better understanding marketing.  I am curious to see what our Presidential candidates do in 2020.





The Non-linear Path of Consumer Search

Every Monday I read Google’s Weekly Thought Starter from Think with Google.  In this week’s series, Google illustrates the cross-device click-stream data of seven participants from a study conducted Luth Research, U.S.. The analysis of digital activity from study participants yielded seven key insights about the very complex nature of consumer search.

  1. Location and convenience
  2. Count on an informed consumer
  3. Expect that search will lead to discovery
  4. Think about complementary categories
  5. Prepare for the unexpected
  6. Don’t underestimate the power of reviews
  7. Remember the world is mobile first.

Check out Seven Ways to Win Customers on Their Path to Purchase for the study’s takeaways and examples of online customer journeys.  Not surprisingly, the path to purchase is not often a linear process.

2016 DMAW/EF Mentor for a Day Program

  • Are you an exceptional student who might benefit from a mentor?
  • Are you looking for an opportunity to visit several greater Washington area organizations?
  • Would you like to build your network of professional contacts?
  • Do you want to gain a better understanding of the direct and interactive marketing industry?
  • Have you competed in a DMAW/EF Collegiate MAXI competition?

If you said yes to some or all of these questions, then you might benefit from the 2016 Direct Marketing Association of Washington Educational Foundation’s Mentor-for-a-Day Program.  This program joins talented students with prospective employers for a day at the sponsoring firm’s facilities.  Check out the 2016 DMAW/EF Mentor for a Day details and application forms.

Complimentary DMAW/EF One-on-One Lunch ’n Learn

The DMAW/EF is offering one lucky student a terrific opportunity to learn more about direct marketing.

During a complimentary one-on-one Lunch ‘n Learn, the winning student will have a chance to sit down and pick the brains of a renowned direct marketer, Brian Brilliant, founder of Brilliant Communications, an award-winning direct response agency.

Brian will buy the winning student lunch and share what it takes to provide customized direct marketing solutions. To enter the drawing, please mail you name and preferred contact information to me before October 16. The winner will be selected by the DMAW/EF among entrants in a blind drawing and the announcement will be made on Monday, October 24.

*Restrictions: Lunch must occur at a mutually agreeable time at a location within the DC Metro area, expires: 7/15/17

JMU Wins Bronze in 2015-16 Collegiate ECHO

On August 11, 2016, Marketing EDGE announced the winners of the 2015-16 Marketing EDGE Collegiate ECHO Challenge. I am pleased to report that the team of Dorothy Capasso (Team Leader), Allie Hammond, Joseph Scully, Mitchell Meyers, and Mariam Bekele captured the 3rd Place Bronze Award in the undergraduate division.  The team developed an integrated marketing communications plan for Facebook Custom Audiences.  Learn more about this team and their exciting experience in this year’s competition.

Dorothy Capasso (Team Leader), Mitchell Meyers, Allie Hammond, Joseph Scully, and Mariam Bekele - 3rd Place Bronze Winners in the Undergraduate Division of the 2015-16 Marketing EDGE Collegiate ECHO Challenge.

Dorothy Capasso (Team Leader), Mitchell Meyers, Allie Hammond, Joseph Scully, and Mariam Bekele – 3rd Place Bronze Winners in the Undergraduate Division of the 2015-16 Marketing EDGE Collegiate ECHO Challenge.

Two JMU Marketing Students Win Scholarships from Marketing EDGE

Hard work really does pay off.

Alex Adley and Morgan Foran were students in my Integrated Marketing Communications course (MKTG 384) last year.  They each won a scholarship from Marketing EDGE because of their overall performance in the course, which included the creation of an integrated marketing communications plan for DIRECTV.

Marketing EDGE logo Marketing EDGE (Educate-Develop-Grow-Employ) is a nonprofit organization that provides funding to support student scholarships, marketing challenges, internships, and teaching resources.  They are the only national nonprofit solely committed to help college students become engaged in the field of marketing.

Learn more about Alex and Moran by reading JMU’s article Real-World’ Experiences Translate to Scholastic Success.

Good Copyrighting Books

One of my students recently asked if I had any book recommendations regarding creative and strategic  copyrighting for Advertising.  Here are a few of my recommendations:


A Listing of Select Advertising, Digital, and Direct Marketing Agencies

Ad and Marketing Agenices

  • Where should I apply if I want to work at an agency?
  • What are some of the top agencies in the marketing industry?
  • What are the agencies located close to JMU?

These are some of the questions I often hear from my students at James Madison University.  To point my students in the right direction, I developed an alphabetical list of select advertising, digital, and direct marketing agencies.

For most agencies, this listing includes a link to the agency’s home page, about page, contact page, and careers page.  Because my students are often seeking internship opportunities nearby JMU, I included a red asterisk (*) next to the agencies with a location in Virginia or the DC area.

Please contact me if you know additional agencies that should be added to my list.  Thanks for your help and enjoy the list.


Finding Customers Through Search Engine Marketing

sv-sbdc-logo Thank you to Joyce Krech for inviting me as a presenter in the  Shenandoah Valley Small Business Development Center (SV SBDC) monthly speaker series.

Listed below are some of the resources included in my December 12, 2014 presentation to the SV SBDC about “Finding Customers Through Search Engine Marketing“.

There are several outstanding agencies located close to the Shenandoah Valley that provide services in SEO, Paid Search, and other digital marketing areas.

If you are looking for something on a smaller scale, I can connect you with some of my JMU students to help you get started in AdWords.

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