The Higher Ed Marketer
The Higher Ed Marketer

Episode · 1 year ago

Talk Less, Listen More: The Story Behind the “Heroes Made Here”


When it comes to marketing leadership roles, it pays to speak less and listen more.

Anna-Maja Dahlgren, Director of University Marketing at Loma Linda University, has embraced this philosophy throughout her marketing career, which began in healthcare before transitioning to higher ed.

It was this commitment to listening that led to a compromise between her and executive leadership. That compromise resulted in the “Heroes Made Here” campaign, which was the first campaign in Loma Linda University’s 115 year history.

In this episode, she shares the story of how it came about.

We discuss:

- Creating a higher ed marketing team from scratch

- How the “Heroes Made Here” campaign came about

- Why it’s important to talk less and listen more

To hear more interviews like this one, subscribe to Higher Ed Marketer on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your preferred podcast platform.

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I was very committed to listening to the executives, hearing them out while I was doing my initial discovery period to understand what the problems were. You were listening to the Higher Ed Marketer, a podcast geared towards marketing professionals in higher education. This show will tackle all sorts of questions related to student recruitment, donor relations, marketing trends, new technologies and so much more. If you are looking for conversations centered around where the industry is going, this podcast is for you. Let's get into the show. Welcome to the High Ed Marketer podcast. My name is chroice singer and I'm here with my cohost, Bart Taylor, and today we get to interview a wonderful higher ed marketer and a wonderful human being. Her name is Anna Maya Dolgren and she is the director of university marketing for Lowman Linda University, and I will admit from the very beginning this is a relationship that Bart has and I would love for him to describe an Amia to our listeners. Yeah, Animia, such a treat. She's she's a wonderful person, as you've pointed out. I've gotten to know her over the past two eighteen months to two years, I had done a little bit of work with Lomolinda University. They hired a new university marketing director and we got a chance to get to know each other and have been working on several projects for the past eighteen months. So that's full transparency that we do have that relationship. But I think that one of the things that I really wanted to bring her on the on the show about was there's so many people that are making the transition from outside of Higher Ed Marketing Into Higher Ed Marketing and that was something that I remember having a few conversations with her early on. was just hey, Bart, can you provide me some resources? Can you provide me a kind of point me in the direction of some things that that I should, you know, kind of get up to speed on? And she kind of talks about that and not only talks about that, but also just talks about some of the soft skills that she brought to the...

...table that really have helped her to propel where she is at low Milinda University and has really propelled a lot of the success that we've done together. Yes, and as we can imagine, when you say eighteen months ago. That's right around when the pandemic hits. So she had to use a lot of those skills in a different environment, under different conditions that she wasn't used to doing it within, and she shares a lot of that with us. Yeah, so now we present to you anemia dolgreen. It is my pleasure to welcome an Amia Dolgren to the high ed market of podcast. She is currently the Director of university marketing at Lomolinda University. I think this is going to be a very warm and spirited interview. Welcome anemia. Thank you, troy. It's really wonderful to be here. For the record, you and Bart do have a working relationship and I am now starting to get to know you a little bit better and really appreciate some of the things that we're getting ready to talk about. Great. Yes, I've enjoyed my work with Bart very much. It's a pleasure to be here and to support you all in this podcast today. Well, I think that one of the things I wanted to talk about, Anima. I know that we've been working together now for almost two years and I know that you came in to your role out of you weren't you didn't have hired background. I guess I should say that I think it's it's interesting because I think a lot of people and a lot of statistics I've been reading is a high education is one of the growth industries coming in the future and there's going to be a lot of people that are transitioning from other careers into Higher Ed and I'm just curious to, you know, learn a little bit more about that journey, what that was like for you, how that played out and and just the types of things that you needed to do, the skills that you needed to bring to the table that probably we're not on your resume, that that kind of required you, especially getting started... a couple weeks before covid hit. Wow, yeah, Bart, taking me back to that time really just opens my heart because if anyone is interested in making a shift from healthcare into higher it, or any other industry for that matter, I have highly recommend it. I am a continuous learner. I love learning new things and I got to a point where I really wanted to challenge myself and it happened also at that time that my mom ended up with a TIA and for health reasons, or for her health reasons, I decided I wanted to move closer to her and I ended up applying to lowland university and they're open position for a director at the university. It's been an incredible journey. I've learned so much. Very grateful to help them in their specific strategic objectives right now. I know part of that too is just the idea that I mean certainly marketing applies across you know, across industries. I mean you know, and I think what's interesting sometimes if we talk about be tob marketing, we talked about be Toc marketing and higher it. It's a little there's a there's a kind of a difference in that because I mean, yes, it's B Toc, but you're still there's a lot of nuances involved because it's not like, and you and I have talked about this before, because, just so everybody understands, Lomlanda University has is it's a university hospital, and so not only is at the university that is one of the larger faith based institutions of graduate study. So Med school, School of Pharmacy, Dental School, you know, a different colleges when under Lomolanda University there's also a major one of the larger hospitals in southern California that's a part of Lomland University as well the healthcare side, and so making the shift from kind of this patient focus where you're helping people know that when the time is right,...

...that they should come to the hospital or you're following up on that from a marketing standpoint, to then helping someone with the journey of going into higher education, which for some, for a lot of people, is one of the largest investments they'll ever make in their life and it's also an investment this many times made, made through a lot of emotion. That plays into the discussions and the conversations that we have, and so I'm just curious, you know, what are some of those skill sets that you were able to kind of bring into that that and and maybe there's a there's an example that we can talk about to that kind of helped you kind of make that transition and learn those different things. You know, the interesting thing about higher d that is different from healthcare is that it's harder. You have longer lead times on the conversion from the time somebody expresses interest and you're actually doing a sales process different from healthcare. Right. The customer is going to give you a down payment on their twit, on their education. They're giving you a tuition payment. So I have drawn on my sales background from years ago and also how to communicate with people at every step of the buying behavior, the buying process right that that customers are making. I actually love how I'm able to really bring my whole marketing, communications and sales experience into full circle here from that perspective. I think that's great. Anima, and I know that when you and I first met, you were kind of hired to build this marketing team from scratch. I mean there was there was no one there and the recommendation was to have a university focused, highered marketing team. You came and did that and obviously, you know, we've been working together for a while and I've seen the success of what you've done over the course of time and you're continuing... grow that team out and it's becoming bigger and more highers and it's an excellent team. What do you kind of attribute some of the success to that, especially as you related to the executive team? I mean you're reporting directly to the executive many times on on your process because you were the team. Yeah, Bart, you know, as I think back on all the things that I've ever done in my life, it has prepared me for this and it may not necessarily be some marketing experience or something related to my job. In fact, one of the skills that I draw upon here to answer your question is the work that I've done spiritually and an attribute of the five mindfulness trainings that tick not Han has put together. Deep listening is one of them, and I was very committed to listening to the executives, hearing them out while I was doing my initial discovery period to understand what the problems were so that I could come back and give some practical advice off. You know, in my experience growing up into marketing leadership, I you know realize that I was talking too much, that I needed to listen more, and I think that really played out well for me here in this example, because the executives were telling me we need a branding campaign and my marketing mind is like no, we don't need to mark a branding campaign yet. We need to fix the website, we need to fix the intake process, the urfi form and how we're converting leads and all of that, but my listening led me to a compromise, and so that compromise turned out to be a campaign called heroes made here that we took to market. It was the first campaign in the institutions hundred and fifteen years at the time, the hundred and fifteen years in...

...existence, they had never done a branding campaign. And just as covid hit, I was hired. So we started to work with you, Bart on the heroes make here campaign as part of a manifestation of my deep listening and ability to compromise on what I would say would be a non starter from a traditional marketing kind of theoretical or academic point of view. Yeah, and am I I think that's your point. With the example of the heroes made here campaign, I mean that what a what a fun campaign that was, and I think it was quite timely. I mean I remember, I remember you and I first met in March and you kind of at that time said we've got a campaign that we need to do, and so as we started working on the campaign, you know, more and more started happening with Covid, more and more started playing out, and I remember driving through my local town and and seeing something about, you know, a handwritten sign on a doctor's officer on the hospital said, you know, healthcare heroes, and you know, that was kind of a lot of what was going on in the culture at the time was that, you know, no longer. I remember seeing memes on Linkedin and twitter with, you know, all these superheroes bowing down to the doctors and nurses walking by and and it just seemed like a natural play that. Well, here's a university that produces doctors, pharmacist healthcare heroes. I mean the entire Lomanlinda University is all about healthcare, and boy wouldn't that be a way to kind of lean into that? And and our team obviously took a rand with that, both of our teams, and I think that it really played out well. And tell me a little bit about what that was like as you were leading that, because, I mean, the size of your team transitioned over the course of that campaign. You were working not only with your team but also a lot of support within the the the hospitals healthcare marketing team, and I'm sure that a lot of a lot of those soft skills that you talked about with the with the listening and other things had to play into that. Tell us a little bit about how that specifically...

...came into about Bart those those were very exciting times. That was a lot of fun and I remember having very specific conversations with every member of the executive team around that particular slogan heroes made here, because as a faith based academic services or Health Sciences Center, we don't think of ourselves as heroes. The only hero is Jesus Christ, and so it was a very interesting conversation to look at ourselves as heroes and in the end, the the work, the story that we decided to tell about being available to patients in a way in their toughest moments, when their sickest and they needed us. That is what a hero meant to us in this campaign and we have since really helped that story come alive using our alumni and we've done several video stories now of our alumni doing heroic work in our community and giving back in their service work. That's great and I think that it goes back to what you said listening and I remember having those conversations with you about how can we know there's a lot of concerns that the the administration has the executive team has with with we don't want to become, you know, prideful. We don't want to present ourselves as prideful. It goes against who we are and I totally agree and I think that the way that that was, your listening and your patients and the way that you kind of led that and led those conversations think really impacted a lot and I think that it's we're working on some other things now and I won't get into details of that, but it's set us up for a trajectory that I think is very strong and and I think it. I think that branding campaign has made a big difference for Lomlanda University bar. As we're talking now, you're reminding me that a week ago I was meeting with the officers...

...and deeds and I announced that we were going to sun set the heroes made here campaign and one of the officers said, wait, do we really want to do that? It was so good. Are we sure? And so that was a really sweet moment for me that, after all the hard work we did with deep listening and understanding what the executives were trying to achieve eve and using the creativity of marketers to really represent the brand in the right way. We nailed it. We hit a home run, so congratulations to us. That's right, that's great, very good, and am I addoring our conversation. You referred to that you have a vast background in marketing sales, also outside of hire it within medicals. So, as I ask you the question that we usually ask, if there's a a recommendation that marketers could glean from you, whether it's an idea that's current or maybe from that vast background, of something that could they could implement immediately that you've had success with or believe they could have success with, what would that recommendation be? Troy, the thing I would suggest is that people start talking less and listening more. I learned this very valuable lesson when I went into six sigma lean training, and there's a book I'd like to recommend everyone to read. It's called the coaching habit. Say Less, ask more and change the way you lead forever and Amiya. Thank you very much for that book recommendation and also thank you very much for being so present with us and bringing not only tangible recommendations but...

...also your very transparent spirits to the highed marketer podcast. Bart. Do you have any final thoughts before we wind up this episode? Yeah, Troy, thank you. I just really appreciate Animia and her, as you kind of pointed out, just the transparency and in the authenticity that she brought to the show. I think that a lot of us as highed marketers, whether we're transitioning from outside careers into highreed or if you've transitioned over from the Advancement Department to marketing, there's a lot of different things it's that we can take away from this. There's certainly skills that you'll need to learn and you know, I'm hoping that this podcast provides you a lot of those as you listen to the different episodes. But I think that one of the things I really want to take away from our conversation today with Annimia as the fact that one of the a lot of the soft skills that you need are just being able to slow down, to listen, to be able to understand other people, that that idea of empathy. We've talked about that and several other podcasts. I know that when we spoke with Courtney Cannon on an episode just a couple episodes earlier than this one, she was helping us as a deaf person herself, helping us understand how to better market to that audience who might need accessible and additional help with with the marketing and and I think that she really came down to if you remember, Troy, at the very end of the episode, she was talking about how empathy was the number one skill set that you needed. Yeah, and I think that that's so true and a lot of what Anima has talked about today was the idea of listening and talking less. It comes down to empathy and comes down understanding and really putting yourself in the in the seat of the shoes of the other people, whether it's executive team, whether it's other members on your marketing team or whether it's actually those perspective students that were marketing to. So I just really enjoyed our conversation today and I really think that it's been a real blessing to be able to have this conversation. So thank you Ademia, thank you bart, thank you, troy. It's our pleasure. The High Ed Marketer podcast is sponsored by Taylor solutions and education, marketing and branding agency and by Think, patented, a Marketing Execution...

Company specialize in in printing and mailing solutions for Higher Ed institutions. On behalf of my cohost Bart Kaylor. My name is troy singer. Thank you for joining us. You've been listening to the Higher Ed Marketer. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. If you're listening with apple PODCASTS, we'd love for you to leave a quick rating of the show. Simply tap the number of stars you think the podcast deserves. Until next time,.

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