What to expect at a university comms/marketing position?
June 16, 2014 8:54 AM Subscribe
I've been hired to be the Director of Marketing for a humanities faculty at a small but prestigious North American university. I've spent the last nine years at a mid-sized national ad agency. I start in two weeks. What should I expect in my new position?
posted by Shepherd to Work & Money (22 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
The position is new -- until now, it's been the dean handling all comms, and they're very keen and excited to have somebody coming on board to handle it. The job description was (and is) quite broad; the Faculty has never had anyone to manage their "brand", engage in any sort of social media, or help them in achieving consistency in communications, etc. It's a mix of broad strategic thinking and day-to-day writing work like press releases, communiqués, presentations, etc.
I'm super excited about it, both as a significant step up for me careerwise and a chance to spread my wings after being in a creatively fulfilling but ultimately subordinate role at my agency.
What I do not feel entirely ready for is the... tonal? shift that this might entail. My current agency specializes in fairly technical subjects, like pharma, animal health, and B2B work for raw goods companies, so I'm a bit accustomed to marketing projects that are a little more stoic and glacial than, say, fast-food advertising.
But it's still a very fast-paced, short-deadline, exciting environment that's largely free of politics and interpersonal drama (it's a great agency). One university colleague of mine, when I mentioned the posting, gave me an eye-roll and said "get ready for politics."
If there are MeFites out there who work in institutional marketing, especially ones that have transferred from for-profit agency life, what's it... like? I know YMMV and many things are situational, but I'm looking for things to brace myself for. Red tape. In-fighting. Territorial issues with the main university communications team. Perpetual approval processes.
I just want to set myself up to have some ideas of what to watch out for, or push back against in the early days, if there are general pitfalls in this kind of institutional work that I could get mired in if I'm not a little wary.