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A new integrated marketing communications (IMC) minor will officially launch at Cal Poly in Fall 2015. It will tie journalism, graphic communication and marketing together.
“Integrated marketing communications is using all communication avenues available to support the bottom line of your organization,” Journalism Department Chair Mary Glick said. “Whether that’s a financial bottom line, or aspirational bottom line or inspirational bottom line. It’s all about the purpose.”
Along with Glick, the new program was spearheaded by Orfalea College of Business Marketing Area Chair Lynn Metcalf and Graphic Communication Chair Kenneth Macro.
“What I think is crucial is the fact that we’ve got operation between our two departments (journalism and business),” Glick said. “And working with graphic communication as part of the mix, I think it’s the perfect blend. And it has the potential to be a really good program moving forward.”
The implementation of the minor reflects a growing demand for the skills it offers.
“We’re seeing a phenomenal amount of interest in this,” Macro said, “I have probably five or six freshmen that came in that started this year that had heard about it through the grapevine and were very interested in getting into the minor. That says something to me. It has a lot, a lot of relevance.”
Macro said the minor will also help students understand a vital part of the business world: analytics.
“A lot of our students get positions in advertising and marketing and design,” Macro said. “They have a lot of exposure to that, but they don’t know the analytics. And the analytics is key. That’s the big thing now — big data. We have to be able to understand it.”
When developing the program, the team looked at a number of schools with IMC programs already in place, such as Northwestern University.
“It seemed like most places where they’d had an integrated marketing communications program, it’s been a partnership between the communications and the business/marketing program, or journalism departments will have what they call strategic communication, which is kind of like advertising and public relations. But it misses that business angle,” Glick said.
The team surveyed students from several Cal Poly academic colleges in order to see if they would be interested in the minor.
“We surveyed departments such as communication studies and wine and viticulture,” Glick said, “We also surveyed people in the recreation, parks and tourism where they do marketing. We surveyed students from a variety of majors on campus that we thought would have an affinity for the program.”
Though the minor has yet to launch, the ultimate goal is to have it open to all majors.
“We would love to open up the minor to everybody,” Macro said. “I think it has the ability to become explosive.”
After the minor launches, the next step could be putting together an IMC major.
“We talk about doing things ethically and working within the confines of the standards of journalism,” Glick said. “And that’s what a degree in IMC can bring: It can bring standards.”