Using PWR to Market the Association for Business Communication

Last spring, my Introduction to Professional Writing and Rhetoric class collaborated to complete a marketing project for the Association for Business Communication. For the first phase of the project, each student researched a professional writing organization and compiled a fact sheet detailing the organization’s mission, specific goals, member benefits, audiences, publications, conferences, history, social media, and contact information. Overall, the class completed seventeen fact sheets for professional writing organizations. This research was important because it gave us a basis to compare ABC and their marketing strategies to that of similar organizations. Through this research, we learned the importance of communicating with specific audiences, and we were able to take this information to decide what ideas ABC can implement to enhance connections with their audiences.

For the second phase of the project, we broke up into four groups, and each group was assigned different strategies for marketing ABC to its current and potential members. The group that I was in focused on general marketing materials. We made three rack cards for each of ABC’s audiences: professional writing graduate students, faculty in the field, and professionals in the field. Each rack card explained the specific benefits ABC offers to each audience. For example, the Faculty rack card emphasized the opportunities ABC has for faculty to further enhance their knowledge in the field. The Graduate Students rack card explained how students can gain insight to the professional field through ABC’s opportunities for research and professional development. The Professionals in the Field rack card showed how ABC ties with professionals in the field helps to create more professional development opportunities. The rack cards were designed to be sent out in a mailer to current members with a letter from the President and Marketing Director, explaining what the rack cards are, why they are important, and how they market ABC to different audiences.  My group and I drafted this letter, and we also created a communication guide to be included in the mailer to show current members how to communicate effectively with each of ABC’s three audiences.

Another group worked on producing materials for ABC’s Annual Conference. The materials were meant to increase conference attendance, increase interactivity between conference attendees, and inform current members and prospective attendees. The poster that this group created included basic details such as dates and highlights of the conference. This group also created a catalogue that combined the professional details of the conference with general information about navigating the city the conference is held in. Lastly, this group created a mock-up for a mobile application so that members who are going to the conference could access the attendees, sponsors, speakers, and presenters who will be at the conference. The application linked to social media, and it can be used to create an individualized schedule for each day at the conference.

Video was another tactic that the third group used to market to ABC’s audience. Using videos shows that ABC is keeping up with current technology, and it helps to inform current ABC members of basic information. Video can also be used to market to potential members by creating interest in upcoming conferences, webinars, and more. The video that this group made as an example can be found here.

Lastly, social media is an important marketing tool for ABC to use to communicate with current and potential members. Examples of effective social media for ABC are using the Facebook page to congratulate ABC members on their accomplishments in the field. Also, this group suggested using social media to share videos from the Annual Conference. Overall, social media spreads awareness of ABC to all the members, and it gives members the opportunity to actively be involved with ABC.

We compiled all of our information and example documents into a Proposal for ABC. After ABC read it, there were so impressed with our class’s work, that they invited us to their Annual Conference in New Orleans in October to personally present our findings and recommendations with the ABC members. Currently, five students are working on creating presentation materials such as binders with the fact sheets and overviews of each marketing document the groups created and a poster about the general purpose, context, findings, and recommendations of the project.

This project connected to PWR for several reasons. One of the important rhetorical strategies we had to keep in mind while working on this project was ethos. We needed to prove to ABC that we had done our research and had the credibility and understanding of the context to be able to provide relevant marketing strategies. Also, in order to market successfully to ABC’s audiences, we needed to understand the specific messages and information each audience needed. All of this was done through extensive research of ABC and other professional writing organizations to determine some of the best ways to communicate with those audiences. As for producing the final marketing documents, each group had to make sure they had a rhetorical understanding in order to create effective deliverables. For example, the general marketing materials group needed to know how the rack cards would be delivered to their respective audiences in order to determine what information to put on each card. The Annual Conference marketing group had to look at older versions of conference materials to see what was effective and what was not. The video group needed to know who their specific audience was to decide what main points to highlight in the video. Lastly, the social media group needed to understand how the information delivered via social media would differ from the messages in the rack cards and the video. Overall, this was an extensive project that helped all of us practice different aspects of PWR.

Here are examples of two of the rack cards. Please note that while designing and creating these rack cards the class had envisioned the name of ABC changing to the Association for Business and Professional Communication.



This entry was posted in Outside the Classroom. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.