The Higher Ed Marketer
The Higher Ed Marketer

Episode · 1 week 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 periodto understand what the problems were. You were listening to the Higher EdMarketer, a podcast geared towards marketing professionals in highereducation. This show will tackle all sorts of questions related to studentrecruitment, donut relations, marketing trends, new technologies and so muchmore. If you are looking for conversation centered around where theindustry is going, this podcast is for you, let's get into the show, welcome to the high red marketerpodcast. My name is troy singer and I'm here with my co host Bart Kaylor, andtoday we get to interview a wonderful high red marketer and a wonderful humanbeing. Her name is Anna Maya Dogin and she is the director of universitymarketing for Lomont, Linda University, and I will omit from the very beginning.This is a relationship that Bart has, and I would love for him to describeanemia to our listeners. Yeah Animi is such a treat, she's she's, a wonderfulperson, as you've pointed out, I've gotten to know her over the pasteighteen months to two years. I have done a little bit of work with LomaLinda University. They hired a new university marketing director and wegot a chance to get to know each other and have been working on severalprojects for the past eighteen months. So that's full transparency that thatwe do have that relationship, but I think that one of the things that Ireally wanted to bring her on the on the show about was there's so manypeople that are making the transition from outside of Higher Ed MarketingInto Higher Ed Marketing, and that was something that I remember having a fewconversations with her early on was just hay bark. Can you provide me someresources? Can you provide me kind of point me in the direction of somethings that that I should you know, kind of get up to speed on, and shekind of talks about that, and not only talks about that, but also just talksabout some of the the soft skills that...

...she brought to the table that reallyhave helped her to propel where she is at Lomaland University and has really propelled a lot of the success thatwe've done together. Yes, and as we can imagine, when you say eighteen monthsago, that's right around when the pandemic hit, so he had to use a lot ofthose skills in a different environment under different conditions that shewasn't used to doing it within. She shares a lot of that with US yeah.So now we present to you Anamaya Dora. It is my pleasure to welcome anemiaDalgren to the hired market of podcast. She is currently the Director ofuniversity marketing at Loma, Linda University. I think this is going to bea very warm and spirited interview. Welcome anemia. Thank you, troy. It'sreally wonderful to be here, for the record. You and Bart do have a workingrelationship, and I am now starting to get to know you a little bit better and really appreciate some of the thingsthat we're getting ready to talk about great. Yes, I've enjoyed my work withBart, very much it's a pleasure to be here and to support you all in thispodcast today. Well, I think that one of the things I wanted to talk aboutAnimi. I know that we've we've been working together now for almost twoyears, and I know that you came in to your role out of you weren't, you didn't have hieredbackground. I guess I should say that I think it's it's interesting, because Ithink a lot of people and a lot of statistics I've been reading is thateducation is one of the growth industries coming in the future andthere's going O be a lot of people that are transitioning from other careersinto Higher Ed, and I'm just curious to you learn a little bit more about thatjourney. What that was like for you, how that played out, and just the typesof things that you needed to do the skills that you needed to bring to thetable. That probably were not on your resume that that kind of required youespecially getting started like a...

...couple weeks before coved hit wow yeahbar taking me back to that time really just opens my heart, because if anyoneis interested in making a shift from health care into Hir it or any otherindustry for that matter, I highly recommend it. I am a continuous learner.I love learning new things and I got to a point where I really wanted tochallenge myself, and it happened also at that time that my mom ended up witha TIA and for health reasons or for herhealth reasons. I decided I wanted to move closer to her and I ended upapplying to Loman Niversity and their open position for a director at theuniversity. It's been an incredible journey. I've learned so much verygrateful to help them in their specific strategic objectives. Right now I knowpart of that, too, is just the idea that I mean. Certainly marketingapplies across. You know across industries I mean you know and I thinkwhat's interesting. Sometimes, if we talk about B to be marketing, we talkabout bt, C marketing and Higher Ed. It's a little there's a there's, a kindof a difference in that, because I mean yes, it's be to see, but you're stillthere's a lot of nuances involved because it's not like- and you- and Ihave talked about this before- because just so everybody understands LoMalanda University, it's a university hospital, and so not only is it theuniversity that is one of the larger faith based institutions of GraduateStudy, So med school school of Pharmacy Dental School. You know eight eightdifferent colleges. It went an under lomaland university, there's also amajor one of the larger hospitals in southern California. That's a part ofLomaland, a university as well by health care side and so making theshift 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'refollowing up on that from a marketing standpoint to then helping someone withthe journey of going into higher education, which, for some for a lot ofpeople, 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 lot ofemotion that plays into the discussions and the conversations that we have, andso I'm just curious. You know what are some of those skill sets that you wereable to kind of bring into that that, and maybe there's a there's an examplethat we can talk about to that kind of helped. You kind of make thattransition and learn those different things. You know the interesting thing about higher ed that is different from healthcare. Is that it's harder? You have longer lead times on the conversionfrom the time somebody expresses interest and you're actually doing asales process different from health care right. The the customer is goingto give you a down payment on their twit on their education they're, givingyou a tuition payment, so I have drawn on my sales background from years agoand also how to communicate with people at every step of the buying behaviorthe buying process right at that customers are making. I actually lovehow I'm able to really bring my whole marketing communications and salesexperience into full circle here. From that perspective, I think that's GreatAnimi, and I know that when you and I first met- you were kind of hired tobuild this marketing team from scratch, I mean there was there was no one thereand the recommendation was to have a university focused higher ed marketingteam. You came and did that and obviously you know- We've been workingtogether for a while and I've seen the success of what you've done over thecourse of time and you're continuing to...

...grow, that team out and it's becomingbigger and more higher, and it's an excellent team. What do you kind ofattribute some of the success to that, especially as you related to theexecutive team, I mean you're reporting directly to the executive many times onon your process, because you were the team, Yeah Bart. You know, as I think, backon all the things that I've ever done in my life. It has prepared me for this and it may not necessarily be somemarketing experience or something related to my job. In fact, one of theskills that I draw upon here to answer your question is the work that I'vedone spiritually and an attribute of the five mindfulness trainings thattick not Han has put together keep listening is one of them and I was verycommitted to listening to the executives hearing them out. While Iwas 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 myexperience, growing up into marketing leadership. I you know realized that I was talkingtoo much that I needed to listen more and I think that really played out wellfor me here in this example, because the executives were telling me, we needa branding campaign and my marketing mind is like no, we don't need a mark,a branding campaign, yet we need to fix the website. We need to fix the intakeprocess, the Ri form and how we're converting leads and all of that. Butmy listening led me to a compromise, and so that compromise turned out to bea campaign called heroes made here that we took to market. It was the firstcampaign in the institutions hundred and fifteen years, at the time n, thehundred and fifteen years in existence.

They had never done a branding campaignand just as coved hit, I was hired. So we started to work with you Bart, onthe heroes, make your campaign as part of a manifestation of my deep listeningand ability to compromise on what I would say would be a non starter from a traditionalmarketing kind of theoretical or academic point of view. Yeah, and my Ithink that your point with the example of the heroes made here campaign. Imean that what what a fun campaign that was- and I think it was quite timely- Imean I remember- I remember you and I first met in March and you kind of atthat time said: We've got a campaign that we need to do, and so, as westarted working on the campaign, you know more and more startedhappening with Ovid, more and more started playing out, and I remember,driving through my local town and and seeing something about. You know ahandwritten sign on a on a doctor's officer on the hospital. That said, youknow health care heroes, and you know that was kind of a lot of what wasgoing on in the culture at the time. Was that you know no longer. I rememberseeing names on linked in and twitter with. You know all these superheroesbowing down to the doctors and nurses walking by and and it just seemed likea natural play that well here's a university that produces doctors,pharmacists, health care heroes. I mean the entire Lomaland University is allabout health care and boy. Wouldn't that be a way to kind of lean into that,and our team obviously took an random with that both of our teams, and Ithink that it really played out well and tell me a little bit about whatthat was like, as you were leading that, because I mean the size of your teamtransitioned over the course of that campaign. You are working not only withyour team, but also a lot of support within the the the hospital's healthcare, marketing team and I'm sure that a lot of a lot of those soft skillsthat you talked about with the with the listening and other things had to playinto that. To tell us a little bit...

...about how that specifically came intoabout Bart those. Those were very exciting times. That was a lot of funand I remember having very specific conversations with every member of theexecutive team around that particular slogan. Heroes made here because, as afaith based academic services or Health Sciences Center, we don't think of ourselves as heroes. Theonly hero is Jesus Christ, and so it was a very interesting conversation tolook at ourselves as heroes and, in the end, the the work, the story that wedecided to tell about being available to patience in a way in their toughestmoments when they're sickest and they needed us. That is what a hero meant tous in this campaign, and we have since really helped that story come aliveusing our alumni and we've done several video stories now of our alumni, doingheroic work in our community and giving back in their service work. Yeah,that's great, and I think that it goes back to what you said listening, and Iremember having those conversations with you about how can we, you know,there's a lot of concerns that the that the administration has the executiveteam has with with we don't want to become. You know, prideful. We don'twant to present ourselves as prideful t goes against, who we are, and I totallyagree, and I think that the way that that was your listening and yourpatience and the way that you kind of led that and led those conversations. Ithink, really impacted a lot, and I think that it's o w r working on someother things now and I won't get into details of that. But it set us up for atrajectory that I think is very strong and- and I think I think that Brandoncampaign has made a big difference for Lomaland University bar as we'retalking now you're reminding me that a...

...week ago I was meeting with theofficers and deeds, and I announced that we were going to sunset. Theheroes made here campaign and one of the officers said wait. Do we reallywant to do that? It was so good. Are we sure- and so that was a really sweetmoment for me- that after all the hard work we did with deep listening andunderstanding what the executives were trying to achieve and using thecreativity of marketers to really represent the brand in the right way wenailed it, we hit a home run. So congratulations to us. That's right!That's great, very good, and am I during our conversation, you'vereferred to that you have a vast background in marketing sales, alsooutside of hired within medical. So, as I ask you the questionthat we usually ask, if there's a a a recommendation that marketers couldglean from you whether it's an idea, that's current, or maybe from that vastbackground of something that could they could implement immediately, thatyou've had success with or believe they could have success with. What wouldthat recommendation be troy? The thing I would suggest is that people starttalking 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 to recommendeveryone to read, it's called the coaching habit, sayless ask more and change the way you lead forever and Amia. Thank you verymuch for that book recommendation and also thank you very much for being sopresent with us and bringing not only tangible recommendations, but also yourvery transparent spirit to the higher...

...ed market. PODCAST Bart. Do you haveany final thoughts before we wind up this episode? Yeah Troy. Thank you. Ijust really appreciate anemia and her, as you kind of pointed out, just thetransparency and the and the authenticity that she brought to theshow. I think that a lot of us is higher at marketers, whether we'retransitioning from outside careers into hired or, if you've transitioned overfrom the Advancement Department to marketing there's a lot of differentthings that 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 you alot of those as you listen to the different episodes. But I think thatone of the things I really want to take away from our conversation today withanemia is the fact that one of the a lot of the soft skills that you needare just being able to slow down to listen to be able to understand otherpeople that that idea of empathy we've talked about that and several otherpodcasts. I know that when we spoke with Courtney Cannon on an episode justa couple episodes earlier than this one, she was helping us as a deaf personherself helping us understand how to better market to that audience whomight need accessible and additional help with with the marketing and- and Ithink that she really came down to if you remember, toit the very end of theepisode she was talking about how empathy was the number one skill setthat you needed yeah, and I think that that's so true, an a lot of what Animihas talked about today was the idea of listening and talking less. It comesdown to empathy and comes down understanding and really puttingyourself in the in the seat of an the shoes of the other people, whether it'sexecutive team, whether it's other members on your marketing team, orwhether it's actually those perspective students that were marketing to so. Ijust really enjoyed our conversation today, and I really think that it'sbeen a real blessing to be able to have thisconversation. So thank you at a I thank you. Bark. Thank you troy. It's ourpleasure. The Higher Ed Marketer podcast is sponsored by calor solutionsin education, marketing branding agency...

...and by think patented, a MarketingExecution Company specializing in printing and mailing solutions forHigher Ed institutions. On behalf of my cohost Bark Kaylor, my name is troysinger. Thank you for joining us. You've been listening to the Higher EdMarketer to ensure that you never miss an episode subscribe to the show inyour favorite podcast player. If you are listening with Apple Podcast, we'dlove for you to leave a quick rating of the show, simply tap the number ofstars. You think the podcast deserves until next time E T.

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