IMC Intuition

Thinking out loud about all things IMC

Archive for January 2011

Remembering Professor Vanides

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I have to say that all of the faculty at WVU’s IMC program were really great, but today I am saddened to learn of the passing of one of my personal favorites, Direct Marketing Professor Alexia Vanides, winner of the 2009 Golden Quill Teaching Award.    

 From the WVU website

 “The 2009 Golden Quill winner was Professor Alexia Vanides of Belmont, CA. She has managed the marketing communications for Fortune 500 companies, such as Hughes and Varian Associates, in addition to running her own marketing consultancy for 20 years. As well as teaching at West Virginia University, she is a graduate instructor at UC Berkeley Extension, Golden Gate University and others.

 Vanides teaches IMC 616: Direct Marketing and IMC 626: B to B Direct Marketing.”

I took both of her classes and became infused with the effectiveness of direct response as an essential component in the IMC tool box.  That’s what great professors do, isn’t it?

 Whenever the subject comes up the voice in my head, unmistakably hers, says: 

 Direct marketing = 40% list + 40% copy + 20% creative

 What a great lady. 

 What an incredible honor to be taught by her.  

 What a loss that she left us far too early in life.

The email I received today from her husband:

Dear Beth,Life in transition. On January 13, 2011, the world lost Alexia Vanides Gentry. Born March 11, 1951, Alexia brought her vibrant spirit, creativity, and love to a full lifetime of experiences and generous service as a loving daughter, wonderful wife, loyal friend, teacher, mentor, and marketing consultant.  She will be missed by many, including her husband Luther, her parents, and her sister and brother. She was blessed by God many times over. May she rest in peace. A celebration of her life will be held at 1:00 PM on Saturday, February 19, at the San Mateo Marriott Hotel, 1770 S. Amphlett Blvd., San Mateo, CA. Please RSVP to Luther at, (650) 593-0716, or 1506 Winding Way, Belmont CA 94002.

For out of town guests, the Marriott Hotel has set aside a block of rooms, available on a first come first served basis at (650) 653-6093.

 In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in the name of Alexia Vanides Gentry to one of the following:

 Guide Dogs for the Blind
1371 E. Main Street
Smithtown, NY 11787-9897

 Shelter Network
1450 Chapin, 2nd Floor
Burlingame, CA 94010

Luther, she was a blessing in my life too 🙂


Outputs and Outcomes

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In the past two years, our IABC Heritage Region conference speakers have emphasized that while we tend to measure output in organizational communications – brochure complete, landing page updated, etc., what we should be measuring is outcomes. 

 Has the brochure enabled sales to communicate our brand proposition more effectively, therefore winning more sales?

Did the landing page achieve targeted conversions?

 It challenges us as professionals to examine our work in a new light, one that is much more difficult to measure.

In the sphere of internal communications, I picked up a tip this past fall that has really helped my outputs (e-mail to managers), create more positive outcomes (sales/marketing alignment).  

 After I write an email, I go back and take at least half of the words out. 

You see, I love words and most of my comments are predicated on my experience, analysis and education, so I love to elaborate and give vast amounts of information in great detail.

Guess what?  My emails were so exhausting for my colleagues to sort through, they simply ignored me.

 If I put on my Twitter hat and take out everything and anything that is not on point, I get far better outcomes.

My Public Relations Defintion in 140 Characters or Less

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First, read the original “fresh as…” blog post by Ronnie Manning of Mynt Public Relations :  #PR140 – Defining Public Relations in 140 Characters or Less.

My 140 Characters:  Telling an organization’s story to convey the essence of who the brand is, where it has been and its future direction.

What are your 140 Characters?

Mynt Public Relations Blog:

Mynt Public Relations:

Written by Beth Ryan

January 12, 2011 at 7:45 pm

What are your social media victories?

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Edinboro University is giving me the opportunity to conduct a short workshop, Social Media 101, that I developed for job seekers, small business and non-profits to learn more about the social media landscape and all the opportunities available for those with little to no budget.  In the workshop portion, we’ll build profile pages that get results and learn how to connect and leverage social properties.

As I work in B-to-B, I am really interested in learning from others working on a shoestring: 

  • What social media victories have you experienced for a small business non-profit?
  • Where did you build that personal brand that helped you land a job in this difficult economic environment? 

This is my current list social media sites and tools, any more practical ideas?

  • The Big 4:  Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, FourSquare
  • eNewsletters:  Mail Chimp, Constant Contact
  • Blogging:  Word Press, Blogger
  • Photo/Video Sharing:  Flickr, You Tube, Slide Share
  • Product Reviews:  Yelp, Major retailers Amazon, etc.
  • Mobile:  QR codes, local Carrier tools, Groupon
  • Tools:  Share This, Google, Yahoo, Bing

I’d like to share your suggestions with our participants to help them to find success at a cost they can afford – that’s what makes social media such an excellent tool.

Social Media 101
Edinboro University of PA Continuing Education
Computer & Technology Classes Spring 2011
The Joseph T. Buba Center, Meadville, PA
April 4 & 11, 6:30-8:00 pm (2 classes)
Fee $99

Re-Branding and Saving Children’s Lives

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I began sponsoring children through Christian Children’s Fund, around 18 years ago.  In the past two years the organization executed a re-branding campaign and changed their name to Child Fund International.    I believe the name change was a reflection of the evolving nature of the organization’s mission and relationship with other global child rescue organizations, but I’m not sure.

In fact as a marketing person, I was getting a bit peeved at the amount of spending the organization was doing in direct mail, advertising and “push” strategies.  The new organizations was driving lots of big billings for their favorite ad agency, but were they still an A rated charity?  Were they no longer about providing food, clothing and education to the world’s poorest children?

Had it not been for Scovia Amingo, a child from Uganda who lost her parents to HIV/ AIDS that I have sponsored since she was two, truth be told, I would have bolted.  Having sponsored one boy to adulthood, I could never bring myself to abandon her.

I was carefully reading Child Fund’s annual report when the following statement struck me:

“When we asked children how they experience poverty, our long-held, widely accepted perception of poverty – as material deprivation – expanded to include two additional strands:  exclusion from opportunity and vulnerability to circumstance.”

This perspective caused Child Fund to add economic independence to their programming for physical, cognitive and social development programs.  In other words, children leave the program with an elementary and vocational education, but they also needed to learn how to promote their business and provide good customer service.

I was wrong .  CCF evolved to provide more relevant service to their audience and it was time to re-brand.  Re-branding costs money, but in this case, it is money well spent and will provide economic benefits to African children for a lifetime.  When the the scope of the brand changes, it is an ideal time to re-brand and update all stakeholders.

Child Find International continues to be an A rated charity and more – do you help a child in dire need?  It’s the best holiday gift you will ever give.


Child Fund International:

Child Fund Intl. Annual Report: