Marketers' Forum at UMSL

Ron Gossen, senior associate vice chancellor for university marketing and communications at UMSL, gives a presentation on the “I Chose UMSL” campaign at the university’s Marketers’ Forum. (Photo by August Jennewein)

There was probably only one room on the University of Missouri–St. Louis campus where disco music could be heard Tuesday morning.

That was in Andrea Purnell’s session of the semi-annual UMSL Marketers’ Forum, an assemblage of the greater campus’ designers, content creators, website managers, recruiters, deans, faculty and others involved in various aspects of marketing and communications. As artistic and communications director at UMSL’s Missouri Institute of Mental Health, Purnell presented a seminar “Art as a Weapon in the Communications Arsenal.” It showcased a recent flash mob organized in part by MIMH to combat the stigma of mental illness. The choreography was set to Lipps Inc.’s “Funkytown” and encouraged people to “talk about it.”

About 90 UMSL staff and faculty attended the forum Nov. 19 in the J.C. Penney Building/Conference Center. The event is designed to bring together the best of UMSL’s marketing and promotion efforts, said Ron Gossen, senior associate vice chancellor for university marketing and communications. The program began three years ago as part of the university’s integrated marketing program, and continues to be important as media, marketing and technology have revolutionized.

“The participants were interested and engaged,” Gossen said. “The UMSL Marketers’ Forum is an example of how the campus manages its brand through sharing best practices and consensus-building marketing transparency. It’s important to us that the campus’ communicators understand what we do, as well as the technical marketing considerations driving those efforts.”

Sessions covered topics such as the future of UMSL’s website and how to leverage great marketing and communications pieces through repurposing. Gossen’s keynote presentation updated attendees on UMSL’s ongoing branding efforts via the “I Chose UMSL” marketing campaign.

The goal of the program is to “capitalize on a promotional concept that is flexible, memorable and can be used for the long haul,” Gossen said.

“The forum offers valuable communications information,” Purnell said. “It’s nice to hear people talk about their needs and hear the needs of other units. It’s nice to hear you’re not alone.”

Katy Mike Smaistrla, sustainability coordinator at UMSL, said the forum is the best way to let others on campus know about marketing and communications initiatives in each unit. She was especially interested in a session about a new campaign to promote the parking garages as parking spaces give way to badly needed new construction projects. She will be working to promote carpooling and bicycling among the campus community at the same time.

“I’m excited about the new parking campaign and seeing it as an opportunity to promote alternative transportation options, instead of as a negative,” she said.

Rachel Webb

Rachel Webb