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Oliver named national association's Higher Education Marketer of the Year

WCU's Chief Marketing Officer Robin Oliver gives her acceptance speech after being named the Higher Education Marketer of the Year by the American Marketing Association.

Western Carolina University’s Chief Marketing Officer Robin Oliver approaches her job with three goals in mind.

Oliver makes decisions that will have a positive impact on the university over time, even when those decisions aren’t easy. She gives her employees the support and inspiration they need to do their best work. And finally, she seeks to be an innovator in higher education marketing.

Her success in those areas was recently recognized by the American Marketing Association, which named her its 2018 Higher Education Marketer of the Year.

“Being recognized by the American Marketing Association, and my colleagues who are members, with this incredible honor is great validation that I’m reaching these goals, if not every day, at least more days than not,” Oliver said.

“Perhaps more than anything, though, this award makes me proud of my team and colleagues across the university, all of whom play a huge role in my success,” Oliver added. “This past year, we’ve had to move with tremendous speed in response to countless challenges, and that really can’t be done well without trusting each other and tackling every day with tireless enthusiasm for the job. This honor doesn’t just belong to me; it belongs to the whole marketing and communications team at Western Carolina University.”

Oliver (right) receives her award from Minesh Parikh, CEO of Lipman Hearne.

Oliver received the award Nov. 6 in Orlando at the AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education, which is the largest annual conference specifically for marketing leaders in the higher education industry. The award recognizes extraordinary leadership and achievement in the field of higher education marketing. Oliver was nominated for the award by VisionPoint Marketing, which was responsible for WCU’s website redesign in 2015.

During the 2017-18 academic year, the marketing department was faced with several challenges that needed innovative, quick-turn solutions. That included partnering with the University of North Carolina System office and sister institutions on the launch and marketing of NC Promise as well as launching new live broadcasts to educate students about changes to financial aid and tuition.

When late Chancellor David O. Belcher announced his decision to go on medical leave, Oliver and the marketing and communications departments worked closely with Advancement to plan and execute a public launch of the comprehensive scholarship fundraising campaign, “Lead the Way,” which the chancellor had spearheaded. The launch was planned and executed in 60 days.

In addition to supporting Advancement, the marketing department also researched, wrote, produced and launched a new enrollment marketing campaign, #choosegreat, aimed at recruiting students with drive and determination. And it worked with Chancellor Belcher on plans for his memorial service, which took place in June.

“It would be impossible for me to name all of the people on this campus who have supported me since I arrived on the job in 2014,” Oliver said. “In particular, my boss, Chief of Staff Melissa Wargo, has been a great adviser and advocate.”

For more information on Oliver’s award, click HERE.


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