• Michelle Coffman Addresses Out of Home Skeptics

    Michelle Coffman, Chief Operating Officer, Cowgirl Communications

    Michelle Coffman wears a couple hats as Chief Operating Officer of Cowgirl Communications Group and Director of Marketing for a dental service firm.  Michelle is a supporter of out of home but made this statement in a talk at last week’s IBOUSA meeting:  “We hire a number of managers to run dental clinics.  Every one of them that comes out of school  with a marketing degree says that their professors tell them that outdoor is dead.”  Insider asked Coffman to expand her thoughts.

    Michelle, why do recent college grads think  out of home is dead?
    The word I hear when these marketing students get into the professional arena is that they are taught that the only successful advertising channel is digital.  There are no discussions about real world examples of OOH success.  Nor are they looking at the big picture and considering that the greatest success is driven from having the correct mix of channels, which includes out of home.
    How do you engage them to convince them otherwise?
    Many times these ladies and gentlemen have not been exposed to the analytical side of our world.  Once we start to go through the case studies I have collected from my time with IBO, it starts to open their eyes.  I come from the world of letting the numbers tell the story, as opposed to thoughts and feelings.  Once these managers see how we track phone calls and website traffic generated by the out of home faces, they start to understand the effect OOH can have on their marketing success.  It is wonderful to see the light bulbs go off and then to start to build upon the discussions they have had in their scholastic years.
    What can the out of home industry do to make a stronger case?
    I believe we need to start to engage with the educational community.  We can invite professors and staff to attend our various conferences, such as the IBO conference, and begin to let them see the success that is occurring in the OOH community.  Sharing presentations like the one last week by the OAAA’s Steve Nicklin will make in roads with the business and marketing departments.  This would also help in building long term relationships with the colleges and universities, which would be a win/win situation for both sides.
    Insider’s note:  The OAAA has assembled an outstanding college curriculum promoting out of home.  They recently sent the college decks to 25,000 college marketing and communications educators, underwritten with financial support from FOARE.  You can access the college curriculum here.

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