The Higher Ed Marketer
The Higher Ed Marketer

Episode · 2 months 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.

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for Higher Ed Marketer in your favorite podcast player.

I was very committed to listening tothe executives, hearing them out while I was doing my initial discovery period tounderstand 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 allsorts of questions related to student recruitment, donor relations, marketing trends, newtechnologies and so much more. If you are looking for conversations centered around wherethe industry is going, this podcast is for you. Let's get into theshow. Welcome to the High Ed Marketer podcast. My name is chroice singerand I'm here with my cohost, Bart Taylor, and today we get tointerview a wonderful higher ed marketer and a wonderful human being. Her name isAnna 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 Barthas 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, asyou've pointed out. I've gotten to know her over the past two eighteen monthsto 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 getto know each other and have been working on several projects for the past eighteenmonths. So that's full transparency that we do have that relationship. But Ithink that one of the things that I really wanted to bring her on theon the show about was there's so many people that are making the transition fromoutside of Higher Ed Marketing Into Higher Ed Marketing and that was something that Iremember having a few conversations with her early on. was just hey, Bart, can you provide me some resources? Can you provide me a kind ofpoint 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 thatand not only talks about that, but also just talks about some ofthe soft skills that she brought to the...

...table that really have helped her topropel where she is at low Milinda University and has really propelled a lot ofthe success that we've done together. Yes, and as we can imagine, whenyou 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 sharesa lot of that with us. Yeah, so now we present to you anemiadolgreen. It is my pleasure to welcome an Amia Dolgren to the highed market of podcast. She is currently the Director of university marketing at LomolindaUniversity. 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 Iam now starting to get to know you a little bit better and really appreciatesome 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 behere and to support you all in this podcast today. Well, I thinkthat one of the things I wanted to talk about, Anima. I knowthat we've been working together now for almost two years and I know that youcame 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 alot of people and a lot of statistics I've been reading is a high educationis one of the growth industries coming in the future and there's going to bea lot of people that are transitioning from other careers into Higher Ed and I'mjust curious to, you know, learn a little bit more about that journey, what that was like for you, how that played out and and justthe types of things that you needed to do, the skills that you neededto bring to the table that probably we're not on your resume, that thatkind of required you, especially getting started... a couple weeks before covid hit. Wow, yeah, Bart, taking me back to that time really justopens my heart because if anyone is interested in making a shift from healthcare intohigher it, or any other industry for that matter, I have highly recommendit. I am a continuous learner. I love learning new things and Igot to a point where I really wanted to challenge myself and it happened alsoat 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 toher and I ended up applying to lowland university and they're open position for adirector 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. Iknow part of that too is just the idea that I mean certainly marketing appliesacross you know, across industries. I mean you know, and I thinkwhat's interesting sometimes if we talk about be tob marketing, we talked about beToc marketing and higher it. It's a little there's a there's a kind ofa difference in that because I mean, yes, it's B Toc, butyou're still there's a lot of nuances involved because it's not like, and youand 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 theuniversity that is one of the larger faith based institutions of graduate study.So Med school, School of Pharmacy, Dental School, you know, adifferent colleges when under Lomolanda University there's also a major one of the larger hospitalsin 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 peopleknow that when the time is right,...

...that they should come to the hospitalor you're following up on that from a marketing standpoint, to then helping someonewith the journey of going into higher education, which for some, for a lotof people, is one of the largest investments they'll ever make in theirlife and it's also an investment this many times made, made through a lotof 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 setsthat you were able to kind of bring into that that and and maybethere's a there's an example that we can talk about to that kind of helpedyou 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 interestand you're actually doing a sales process different from healthcare. Right. The customeris 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 salesbackground from years ago and also how to communicate with people at every step ofthe buying behavior, the buying process right that that customers are making. Iactually love how I'm able to really bring my whole marketing, communications and salesexperience 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 kindof hired to build this marketing team from scratch. I mean there was therewas no one there and the recommendation was to have a university focused, higheredmarketing team. You came and did that and obviously, you know, we'vebeen working together for a while and I've seen the success of what you've doneover the course of time and you're continuing... grow that team out and it'sbecoming bigger and more highers and it's an excellent team. What do you kindof attribute some of the success to that, especially as you related to the executiveteam? I mean you're reporting directly to the executive many times on onyour 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 marketingexperience or something related to my job. In fact, one of the skillsthat I draw upon here to answer your question is the work that I've donespiritually and an attribute of the five mindfulness trainings that tick not Han has puttogether. Deep listening is one of them, and I was very committed to listeningto the executives, hearing them out while I was doing my initial discoveryperiod to understand what the problems were so that I could come back and givesome practical advice off. You know, in my experience growing up into marketingleadership, I you know realize that I was talking too much, that Ineeded to listen more, and I think that really played out well for mehere in this example, because the executives were telling me we need a brandingcampaign and my marketing mind is like no, we don't need to mark a brandingcampaign yet. We need to fix the website, we need to fixthe intake process, the urfi form and how we're converting leads and all ofthat, but my listening led me to a compromise, and so that compromiseturned 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 thetime, the hundred and fifteen years in...

...existence, they had never done abranding campaign. And just as covid hit, I was hired. So we startedto work with you, Bart on the heroes make here campaign as partof a manifestation of my deep listening and ability to compromise on what I wouldsay would be a non starter from a traditional marketing kind of theoretical or academicpoint 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 awhat 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 andyou kind of at that time said we've got a campaign that we need todo, 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, youknow, a handwritten sign on a doctor's officer on the hospital said, youknow, healthcare heroes, and you know, that was kind of a lot ofwhat was going on in the culture at the time was that, youknow, no longer. I remember seeing memes on Linkedin and twitter with,you know, all these superheroes bowing down to the doctors and nurses walking byand and it just seemed like a natural play that. Well, here's auniversity that produces doctors, pharmacist healthcare heroes. I mean the entire Lomanlinda University isall about healthcare, and boy wouldn't that be a way to kind oflean 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 leadingthat, because, I mean, the size of your team transitioned over thecourse of that campaign. You were working not only with your team but alsoa lot of support within the the the hospitals healthcare marketing team, and I'msure that a lot of a lot of those soft skills that you talked aboutwith the with the listening and other things had to play into that. Tellus a little bit about how that specifically...

...came into about Bart those those werevery exciting times. That was a lot of fun and I remember having veryspecific conversations with every member of the executive team around that particular slogan heroes madehere, because as a faith based academic services or Health Sciences Center, wedon't think of ourselves as heroes. The only hero is Jesus Christ, andso it was a very interesting conversation to look at ourselves as heroes and inthe end, the the work, the story that we decided to tell aboutbeing available to patients in a way in their toughest moments, when their sickestand they needed us. That is what a hero meant to us in thiscampaign and we have since really helped that story come alive using our alumni andwe've done several video stories now of our alumni doing heroic work in our communityand giving back in their service work. That's great and I think that itgoes back to what you said listening and I remember having those conversations with youabout how can we know there's a lot of concerns that the the administration hasthe 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 whowe 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 thatand led those conversations think really impacted a lot and I think that it's we'reworking 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 andand I think it. I think that branding campaign has made a big differencefor Lomlanda University bar. As we're talking now, you're reminding me that aweek ago I was meeting with the officers...

...and deeds and I announced that wewere going to sun set the heroes made here campaign and one of the officerssaid, wait, do we really want to do that? It was sogood. Are we sure? And so that was a really sweet moment forme that, after all the hard work we did with deep listening and understandingwhat the executives were trying to achieve eve and using the creativity of marketers toreally represent the brand in the right way. We nailed it. We hit ahome run, so congratulations to us. That's right, that's great, verygood, and am I addoring our conversation. You referred to that youhave a vast background in marketing sales, also outside of hire it within medicals. So, as I ask you the question that we usually ask, ifthere's a a recommendation that marketers could glean from you, whether it's an ideathat's current or maybe from that vast background, of something that could they could implementimmediately 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 thatpeople start talking less and listening more. I learned this very valuable lesson whenI went into six sigma lean training, and there's a book I'd like torecommend everyone to read. It's called the coaching habit. Say Less, askmore and change the way you lead forever and Amiya. Thank you very muchfor that book recommendation and also thank you very much for being so present withus and bringing not only tangible recommendations but...

...also your very transparent spirits to thehighed marketer podcast. Bart. Do you have any final thoughts before we windup this episode? Yeah, Troy, thank you. I just really appreciateAnimia and her, as you kind of pointed out, just the transparency andin the authenticity that she brought to the show. I think that a lotof us as highed marketers, whether we're transitioning from outside careers into highreed orif you've transitioned over from the Advancement Department to marketing, there's a lot ofdifferent things it's that we can take away from this. There's certainly skills thatyou'll need to learn and you know, I'm hoping that this podcast provides youa lot of those as you listen to the different episodes. But I thinkthat one of the things I really want to take away from our conversation todaywith Annimia as the fact that one of the a lot of the soft skillsthat you need are just being able to slow down, to listen, tobe able to understand other people, that that idea of empathy. We've talkedabout that and several other podcasts. I know that when we spoke with CourtneyCannon on an episode just a couple episodes earlier than this one, she washelping us as a deaf person herself, helping us understand how to better marketto that audience who might need accessible and additional help with with the marketing andand 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 wasthe number one skill set that you needed. Yeah, and I think that that'sso true and a lot of what Anima has talked about today was theidea of listening and talking less. It comes down to empathy and comes downunderstanding and really putting yourself in the in the seat of the shoes of theother people, whether it's executive team, whether it's other members on your marketingteam or whether it's actually those perspective students that were marketing to. So Ijust really enjoyed our conversation today and I really think that it's been a realblessing to be able to have this conversation. So thank you Ademia, thank youbart, thank you, troy. It's our pleasure. The High EdMarketer podcast is sponsored by Taylor solutions and education, marketing and branding agency andby Think, patented, a Marketing Execution...

Company specialize in in printing and mailingsolutions for Higher Ed institutions. On behalf of my cohost Bart Kaylor. Myname is troy singer. Thank you for joining us. You've been listening tothe Higher Ed Marketer. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribeto 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. Simplytap the number of stars you think the podcast deserves. Until next time,.

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