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Mary Ellen Miller, Elyse Batista and Dr. Stephen Marshall present Elyse with the 2015 MarketingMel Mass Communications scholarship.
Mary Ellen Miller, Elyse Batista and Dr. Stephen Marshall present Elyse with the 2015 MarketingMel Mass Communications scholarship.

This fall the ETSU Mass Communication department awarded the MarketingMel Mass Communication scholarship to ETSU senior, Elyse Batista.

As a transfer from North Carolina, Batista, a senior, maintains a 3.77 grade point average, leads the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) as president, and has been awarded the Dean’s List certificate since her arrival at ETSU in 2012. She will be interning with MarketingMel for the 2015-2016 academic year.

MarketingMel, founded by Mary Ellen Miller, is a creative firms that offers marketing, public relations and social media strategies. “The MarketingMel internship has propelled me into the communications industry,” says Batista. “From networking, researching and attending events to one-on-one mentoring with Mary Ellen (Mel), I’m able to put classroom lessons into action.” Batista says that the scholarship is a great bonus to a great program.

Originally, the scholarship fund was established by Miller in honor of the fifth anniversary of MarketingMel. She began the internship program as a mentoring opportunity for young women aspiring to work as communications professionals and the scholarship was a natural outcome. Over the years, the internship has come to be known as a great opportunity for students.

Since the start of the mentorship program six years ago, MarketingMel interns have experienced a 100 percent employment rate upon graduation. These interns have moved forward in the communications industry and have found their niches within a variety of specializations including public relations, marketing, sales, and advertising.

Miller enjoys mentoring young professionals. “I feel it is my duty to give back to the community that has been so good to me,” says Miller, “What better way than to mentor the next generation of PR professionals?”

When have you mentored or been mentored by another? Please share your experiences with us. 

 

 

 

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The following is a guest blog post from MarketingMel Public Relations Intern Alex Quillin.

DogThanksI’m a 20 year old Advertising and Public Relations major at ETSU, so naturally, I frequent social media sites. I like Instagram and Facebook, and I have Twitter and LinkedIn, though I don’t use those as often. Classes taught me to use these sites to develop my professional profile, and my family expects me to keep them updated about various aspects of my life. But I did not realize how useful they can be until…

It was about 4 PM on a Friday, and I was unloading groceries. I faintly heard a “ma’m? ma’m?” in the distance and turned to look. At the top of my driveway sat a middle-aged lady in a golf cart with a precious puppy in a blue collar beside her.

“Is he yours?” she asked. “There’s no name on his collar.”

“Oh, no. I’ve never seen him before. He’s cute…”

“Well you can have him. I’ve been completely around the neighborhood and no one claimed him. I don’t know what to do with him.”

I looked at her. I looked at the puppy. I knew I could help her, I just didn’t want to fool with it.

“Will you take him and try to find the owner?” she asked.

“Oh, okay. Did you post it on Facebook?” I asked.

“No, I don’t know anyone around here so I didn’t think it would help.”

“Okay, I’ll post it… Come on little fella.” I said, instantly questioning my decision.

I took him inside and he started whining. Loudly.

I couldn’t believe I had gotten myself into this. I took three pictures of him and tried to put him in my bathroom, fearing he would run away if I left him outside. In the few seconds I took to upload the pictures onto the Facebook Local Yard Sales, the puppy had knocked over his water, managed to get soaking wet, and had escalated his whining level to an ear-piercing howl. “I found this puppy. Do you know who he belongs to?” I asked anyone scrolling through the couches and coffee pots.

Then I shut the gate to my porch, and let him outside. He sat on our chair there. I kept checking the comments on the posts. One lady wanted him if no one claimed him. Another wished me luck. Then I saw the comment that made me smile. Just two hours after I uploaded the pictures.

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It was him! The owner turned out to be a young boy. He was about 7, and he was so worried about his new puppy. His mom showed up at my door just a few minutes after we messaged each other. The next day, there was a knock at my door.

“Hi,” said a four-foot handsome fella. “Thanks for finding my dog.”

He handed me a card.

LandonThankYou

Suddenly, I was so thankful I took that whiny little dog. And I realized just how useful social media can be.

AlexQuillin

 

Alex Quillin is MarketingMel’s 2014-2015 Intern. A senior at East Tennessee State University with a 3.8 GPA,  she is the first recipient of the recently created MarketingMel Public Relations Scholarship at ETSU. Alex plans to work in the field of advertising and public relations.

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Mary Ellen Miller of MarketingMel, and Dr. Stephen Marshall of ETSU award the new scholarship to Alex Quillin.

Mary Ellen Miller and Dr. Stephen Marshall of ETSU award the new MarketingMel PR scholarship to Alex Quillin.

As any of you who reads this blog regularly knows I am a HUGE believer in supporting the next generation of Public Relations professionals. Last week I had the opportunity to take that support to the next level by teaming with the newly created Mass Communications department at ETSU to establish and award its first scholarship: The MarketingMel Public Relations Scholarship. I am delighted to announce that my new intern, Alex Quillin, is the first recipient of this award! Alex is one of the most level headed 19 year olds I have ever met with a strong entrepreneurial bent and a bright future ahead of her. She is as smart as she is beautiful, carrying a 3.8 GPA and already a junior in semester hours. Dr. Stephen Marshall, one of MarketingMel’s advisory board members, is the newly named department chair. He joined me on campus for the ceremony announcing Alex’s scholarship. To read the full story on the ETSU web site and to see what great jobs the previous four interns have moved on to, please click here.

 

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Veteran Broadcaster Steve Hawkins and the MarketingMel team of Sarah Kinsler and Mary Ellen Miller.

Veteran Broadcaster Steve Hawkins and the MarketingMel team of Sarah Kinsler and Mary Ellen Miller.

Last week my young associate Sarah Kinsler and I were invited to speak to Steve Hawkins’ Radio/TV broadcast class at East Tennessee State University (ETSU). Steve is a veteran of both radio and television news so the students are learning from an expert. It was a great, interactive experience with the students sharing some of their “zone of genius moments” with us and we shared our personal branding stories with them.  One of the students talked about how great it felt to recently direct a student performance at the Kennedy Center (Great example!) Sarah and I will be presenting “Powerful Personal Branding: The New Economic Imperative” this Wednesday at the PRSA Southeast District Conference in Charlotte. Here are some of our tips about how social media can help you in building your brand:

IceCream1. Showcase Your Personality– My new intern Alex Quillin, joined us today. We immediately began following each other on twitter and I quickly picked up that she loves ice cream. It was great fun seeing her photos of her favorite ice cream in the twitterverse and gave us an immediate common bond. I mean, who doesn’t love ice cream?

2. Help You Network with Peers– I can’t begin to count the friendships and business relationships I have built using social media. Using groups like #SoloPR or #journchat or one of the many other chat groups out there you can zone in on finding people with common interests.

3. Differentiate You from Others – Your social media presence can make you stand out in the crowd. In Sarah’s case it’s her witty sense of humor that shines through, particularly when she’s making fun of selflies on her instagram and vine videos.

4. Help You Promote Your Blog– You mean you don’t blog? Both Sarah and I were astounded that the radio/TV majors in that class who didn’t blog! Blogging is a free and easy way to hone the discipline of regularly writing and posting. Social media is a great platform for spreading your writing success. By the way, Sarah said in her PR classes everyone blogged. Hurray for Public Relations and the emphasis on the importance of the written word!

5. Give You “Google Juice”–  Social Networking can help you Build Your Personal Brand and help you to be found organically in search. The power of social networking and personal branding are becoming synonymous. Make it count!

What are some ways that you build your personal brand through social networking?

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“An entrepreneur would rather work 80 hours a week for themselves than 40 hours a week for someone else.”

Dr. Andy Czuchry, ETSU

 

These pink carnations are a lovely way to celebrate 5 years in business!

Celebrating Valentine’s Day and birthday month at MarketingMel.

Those words were spoken by my beloved Entrepreneurship Professor Dr. Andy Czuchry when I was in the ETSU MBA program back in 2000.  This month, February,2014 marks my fifth year in business and now I really know how true Dr. Czuchry’s words are!

I recently presented my story “Smart Moves and Pitfalls: The MarketingMel Story” to the ETSU Entrepreneur’s Club and to our Johnson City Morning Rotary Club.

I thought you might enjoy hearing some of those tips that I’ve learned along the way.

1. Turn Lemons Into Lemonade– My father always taught me this. When life deals you what you think is a bad blow at the time, pick yourself up and keep on keeping on.

 

2. Take Advantage of New Communication Channels: Because I had been so active on twitter since 2008 the name of my company was almost a given when starting it in February 2009. The phrase “MarketingMel” shot up ahead of Mel Gibson on Google search strictly because that was my twitter handle.

 

3. Think About Your Brand. Consider carefully your name, logo and choice of colors as you get started.  I chose blue and green because I wanted to attract business professionals who use those colors and as I write this I’m working for a lawyer and a banker.

 

4. You Can’t Do It All! I have teamed with some great young interns out of ETSU and I’ve formed virtual friends through my SoloPR group. As I’ve grown I’ve taken on a sharp young ETSU graduate, Sarah Kinsler, to assist me.

 

5. Seek Counsel: I treasure my board of advisors: six highly intelligent people from our community to be a wealth of resources for me. Thank you to: Jenny Brock, Nancy Dishner, Jennifer Dixon, Stephen Marshall, Don Raines and Dave McAuley for the assistance and counsel you’ve given me along the way!

 

6. Give Back: I believe it’s important to give back to the community. Each year our team provides pro bono services to the highly successful Up and At ‘Em Turkey Trot and recently we helped United Way of Washington County with their Publicity.

 

7. Have a Daily Quiet Time: Since I started in business I have a daily quiet time with God first thing each morning. Prayer and bible reading helps me to focus on what is really important in the day and in life.

 

These are just a few of the tips I’ve learned along the path of entrepreneurship. Which one resonates with you?

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Some time ago I wrote a blog post on finding a job in public relations that was by far MarketingMel’s most re-tweeted blog post. Last week I had the opportunity to take part in a panel discussion called “Communications Expectations: Real World Perspectives from Professional Communicators” sponsored by ETSU PRSSA. The students compiled the following list of the questions for self and four other P.R. pro’s (Amanda Allman and Samara Litvack of Eastman, Ginny Crispin from the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce, and Jim Wozniak of Wellmont Health System.) I hope if you are a student interested in the field of public relations that you will find these answers useful. If you’re a practicing PR pro please jump in and add your own experiences!

MarketingMel with other panelists and PRSSA students.

MarketingMel with other panelists and ETSU PRSSA students.

 

  1.  How did you all get your start in this field? For me it was an internship at a TV news station (WKBW Channel 7) in Buffalo, NY. I highly recommend internships to any college student studying P.R.
  2. With a large pool of talented students to choose from, what makes a student stand out to employers? Showcase your personality and your skill set of writing and communicating. Show them that you have a willingness to learn new things and to adapt. Public Relations is all about adapting and thinking on your feet.
  3. What is the most valuable skill a student can possess? To me it’s a positive attitude. Being both an excellent communicator with both the written word and the spoken word would be a close second. 
  4. What is the best way to get the most out of an internship? A few ideas that I discussed with my young associate Sarah Kinsler are: Get involved, Be willing to learn, Listen and Soak up as much as you can. Showing a willingness to learn foreign languages and visit other countries is important too. It shows you have a spirit of adventure and that goes hand in hand with our profession. 
  5. What information on a resume is most important? One of my co-panelists answered this and mentioned that even experience that you think might not be important like waiting tables really means a lot to a future employer. It shows you know how to deal with the public and widely changing moods. The subject of crisis communications came up here and the fact that waiting tables teaches you to remain cool under pressure.
  6. What is the best advice for branding yourself in this competitive world? Personal branding is imperative because it is all about how others perceive you both online and in the real world. Remember your brand travels with you long after you’ve left a job. For more information watch the free personal branding webinar I created with Maria Peagler at www.personalbrandinghowto.com.
  7. What advice do you have for students who wish to find jobs in communication in larger areas, where they may not have established connections? My co-panelists who’ve lived and worked in larger markets mentioned the importance of networking.
  8. What can you tell us about successfully handling interviews? Be yourself. Be authentic but think about the person interviewing you. Recently I heard of a young man taking his girlfriend along with him to a job interview and allowing her to do all the talking for him. Really? Also, depending on the position you may want to leave out the eyebrow and nose rings and gages and cover the tattoos. I’m still hearing from baby boomer employers who have a hard time seeing past the gadgets and boomers are often the executives/owners. 
  9. When an employer says, ‘tell me about yourself’, what are they looking for? This is your chance to shine. Show self-confidence. Show not only that you know about the company but show how you will bring value to the employer. Remember, ultimately it is always WIIFM (what’s in it for me, the employer in this case.) 
  10. What advice can you offer to students who are anxious about finding jobs after graduation? Stick with it! My first job was a part time position. Even part time experience in your chosen profession is far better than none at all. 
  11. What is the best part about your job? I’ve reached a stage in my career where I can use my skill set to give back to others. Right now I am enjoying spreading the word to help homeless people get socks in our region. I was influenced by Kid President’s YouTube video pronouncing #Socktober as a time for local communities to gather socks and so far we’ve already gathered over 100 pairs of socks (goal of 500 pairs) and our campaign goes until Thanksgiving! 

What experiences do you have to add?

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SMAC headerHow do you feel about Facebook, twitter or LinkedIn? In control or overwhelmed? Either way and whether you’re in a small business or a large corporation, if you’re interested in today’s digital media we’ve got an event for you! WJHL-TV news anchorman Josh Smith will be one of the five great panelists who will take part in the inaugural #SMAC13 social media event featuring the Tri-Cities’ region’s leading journalists and communicators. They’ll be discussing how they use social media in their day to day life as professional communicators and the trends they are seeing. Josh will join ETSU’s Jennifer Clements, Wellmont’s Eric Vaughn, Johnson City Press journalist Becky Campbell and Eastman’s Rachel Cain in a panel discussion that I will moderate. If you haven’t already made plans to be at the Venue in downtown Johnson City, Thursday, September 19 from 11:30 AM- 1 PM our numbers are growing rapidly so please RSVP on the PRSA Facebook page now. This has been an amazing collaboration between three great groups of communicators in our region: The Northeast Tennessee Chapters of Ad Club, Society of Professional Journalists and PRSA. Please see this short video (less than a minute) interview I had with Josh Smith (a natural ham.) Josh was kind enough to do this promotion for #SMAC13! Please pass this along to friends who may be interested. Will you be joining us?

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The following is a guest blog post by  ETSU associate professor in the Department of Communication and MarketingMel board member, Dr. Stephen Marshall. 

Delivering value to clients is the ultimate brand challenge.

Delivering value to clients is the ultimate brand challenge.

As an Associate Professor at East Tennessee State University I am blessed to teach some of the best and brightest in our region. In the professional and academic world, learning is a continuous process. The speed of communication technology demands constant learning and adapting.

Part of my continuous learning formula is to engage with clients and organizations; applying my knowledge and skills to stay sharp while providing value. I do this because I strive to deliver value to my students and professionally grow. My work with professionals moves me from academic armchair quarterbacking directly into the game. Working at Creative Energy as well as with great professionals like MarketingMel keeps me fresh and keeps ideas flowing. Whether it is in the classroom or in the boardroom, I am always focused on delivering value. But what is value?

Merriam-Webster defines value in numerous ways but the particularly applicable Merriam-Webster value definition states value is “relative worth, utility, or importance.” In marketing terms, there are numerous theories supported by hundreds of analyses of value. (I won’t bore you with them.) The most basic theme in marketing is value = benefit/cost.

Benefit examples = information, entertainment, utility, status

Cost examples = time, effort, financial

In terms of interpersonal communication, we deliver value during conversation quite naturally. (In fact, value is the sole reason you engage in any exchange!) For example, when you have a conversation with someone, you want to engage her or him in the discussion. You do so by finding the voice and content that will create the right engaging message. The right choices enable you to deliver communication value in the exchange. To illustrate… would you speak with your mother the same way you speak with your best friend? Further, the more value exchanged, the longer the conversation. Conversations end when the cost of continuing is higher than the benefit.

The key to any successful communication is to deliver value to the receiver. My students know “create value with your communication” as my classroom mantra. Successful businesses create value for their customers through their products or services. The center of any brand (product, service, idea or individual as you have learned from Marketing Mel) is the value promise of the brand. In today’s digital communication space, brands are able to deliver additional value (continuing the value promise) in their communication and measure impact more accurately.

For businesses, defining value in communication can be complex. Strategy is the key to defining, creating and evaluating. Creating value strategy means significantly understanding objectives, audience(s) and creating content that will deliver value. Delivering value should be the core of your communication strategy. How does this happen for a brand?

  1. Know your business goal and objectives
  2. Understand your audience (know your key influencers)
  3. Create digital content that will deliver on the brand promise (extend brand value)
  4. Define key performance indicators (KPIs) enabling evaluation of progress

The key to swimming in “big data” is to define the KPIs in your planning. This allows you to benchmark, set goals, understand audience flow, evaluate, and optimize. From an organizational standpoint, determining the influential KPIs aligned with organizational outcomes is the only way to move from descriptive data to data providing inference.

Extending brand value in communication efforts often means utilizing social media. All too often I hear folks, even professionals say, “let’s make a Facebook page.” While social media is important, it is often used inappropriately. Social media efforts must be aligned with brand value.

This means the social channel and content must match the proper audience. Further, content and channel must be maintained appropriately. Huge mistakes will be made if you think of media without considering all the other previously discussed steps.

In summary, knowing your audience and delivering brand value on a continuous basis is the key to brand loyalty. The digital space allows brands to extend their value into their communication. Brands should use the digital space to extend and measure their brand value.

About the Author:

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Stephen W. Marshall PhD, was educated at the University of Florida. He is a former employee of Nielsen. Dr. Marshall focuses on opportunities bridging academics and industry. His research interests include qualitative and quantitative audience measurement, branding and mass communication in a digital space. He is an Associate Professor at East Tennessee State University, a Research Analyst at Creative Energy and a member of MarketingMel’s board of advisors. Connect with him via Linkedin or by email at marshalls [at} etsu.edu.

 

 

 

 

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