The Direct Marketing Educational Foundation (DMEF) has rebranded itself as Marketing EDGE, in an effort to be more relevant to students interested in pursuing careers in marketing.
The rebranding—a first in the 47-year-history of the nonprofit—is the outcome of a strategic plan set in motion two years ago, says Terri Bartlett, president of Marketing EDGE. The process included three rounds of market research and a six-month, in-depth review of the organization and the marketplace, both in terms of education and employment.
“When we looked at who students today are, what resonates with them and how we can get their attention in the most effective way, we realized that ‘DMEF’ didn’t really resonate,” Bartlett says. “A lot hinged on literally identifying the new moniker so that we can make new inroads to attracting new students that we had never really engaged.”
Beyond Marketing Majors
The organization has always made it a point to serve “as a bridge, bringing students, academics, career centers and individual corporate representatives together,” for the purpose of helping top-quality students find rewarding careers in the marketing industry, Bartlett notes. Throughout its history, DMEF often targeted students for its programs based on their majors. But when it took on liberal-arts students, for example, the organization found that they had unique skill sets that are sometimes not found in marketing majors.
For example, at the end of a recent weeklong I-MAX (Interactive Marketing Analytics Xperience) program, a psychology major from Harvard who was worried about how she would be able to use her degree, decided to apply her education to a career in marketing. “She was excited that she had identified a way that she was able to use it,” Bartlett says.
The rebranding was also done with an eye towards pursuing the ability to better track and measure its students’ long-term paths, even beyond its programs. Measuring this full-career trajectory can be done by using online channels like LinkedIn, as well as databases that enable Marketing EDGE to stay in contact with students after they obtain jobs in the industry. Bartlett notes that the key to this will be establishing meaningful relationships with students.
EDGE is an acronym for “Educate Develop Grow Employ.” Despite the name change, Bartlett says the organization isn’t shifting away from direct marketing. In fact, she sees it as going deeper into it.
“All marketing is direct marketing,” Bartlett says. The board thought that in this age of integrated, digital marketing, as soon as it put a descriptor in front of the word “marketing” in the organization’s name, it would be out-of-date. Marketing EDGE gives the nonprofit the longevity and inclusive identity it was looking for.
The new name also offers a visual aid to understanding what the nonprofit’s goal is. Bartlett says that Marketing EDGE’s programs are like a funnel. “Educate” is the widest part of the funnel, where students are introduced to the marketing field. The subsequent letters in the “EDGE” acronym narrows the funnel until its ultimate goal of employment for its students.
Efforts to promote the new name will include a revamped search campaign, an email program, a new website and new social media presences. Its search campaigns will benefit from Google Grants, which gives nonprofits $10,000 in monthly AdWords budgets. Adworthy, a search marketing agency, will also help Marketing EDGE to ensure that its website and online activities are optimized.