Direct Marketing Communications Manager

Posted on 11/28/2023

William & Mary

Williamsburg, VA

The Direct Marketing Communications Manager is a key member of the Strategic Communications team in University Marketing at William & Mary. University Marketing includes all William & Mary efforts to develop and execute marketing programs and campaigns that increase brand identity, perception and awareness across three core areas: enrollment, advancement and institutional reputation. William & Mary’s ability to flourish and advance as a preeminent university depends largely on our ability to drive competitive application and enrollment metrics, ensure long-term financial sustainability and raise W&M’s profile on a national and global scale.

The Direct Marketing Communications Manager reports to the Director of Marketing Communications and is responsible for developing and implementing communication strategies and content that effectively promote and advance the university’s mission and goals to an audience of potential donors, including alumni, via various direct marketing channels, including direct mail, appeal letters, email campaigns, social media ads, webpages and other digital channels. Tasks include pitching, researching, creating, writing and editing compelling content. Internal partners and collaborators include colleagues across the university, within University Advancement, and within University Marketing. The Direct Marketing Communications Manager will also work closely with the internal partners to ensure that the copy is consistent with the brand messaging and targeted toward specific audiences.

The Direct Marketing Communications Manager is also responsible for conducting research on the university’s target audience to better understand their needs and preferences and will help with messaging and strategy for calendar year end, fiscal year end and One Tribe One Day, W&M’s annual giving day. Other assignments might include creating strategy sheets for special giving initiatives.

University Marketing is led by a creative and collaborative team of talented professionals who bring their unique expertise to every project. Our innovative, inclusive and results-oriented approach positions William & Mary as a preeminent university at the vanguard of academic achievement and leading-edge research. University Marketing’s work helps to create a lasting, robust culture of engagement and philanthropy by engaging prospective and current students, alumni, parents and friends, corporations and foundations, and faculty and staff. Engagement is often defined as “going, giving and serving” — staying connected and active in the W&M community through attending events, contributing philanthropically and volunteering. William & Mary’s ability to flourish and advance as a world-class university depends largely upon the active support of these key stakeholders.

The successful candidate will be an innovator who will foster a culture of belonging that embraces all people and perspectives. This is a hybrid position based in Williamsburg, Virginia, that offers a flexible work environment.

Required Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in journalism, communications, marketing, English or related field or several (typically three or more) years’ experience or specialized expertise directly related to the position.
  • Experience in direct marketing and digital marketing, coordinating and developing communications across a variety of marketing channels (typically three or more years) with strong knowledge of marketing or communication principles.
  • A clear understanding of the complexities of higher education and the conventions of writing, editing and proofreading (typically three or more years) in a higher education environment.
  • Excellent writing, editing and proofreading skills with the ability to write persuasive and engaging copy and perform a variety of different writing tasks with creativity, invention, imagination, originality and talent in message development and communications, grounded in a strong command of AP style, proofreader’s marks and editing conventions, with the demonstrated command of correct grammar, punctuation and spelling.
  • Demonstrated initiative, independent judgment, diplomacy, and a positive, responsive, service-oriented attitude as well as diplomacy, tact and confidentiality when working with individuals on and off campus and responding to external audiences, and strong interpersonal & communication skills with the proven ability to work with a diverse audience; collaborate with other team members to build support and consensus across a complex organization and express nuanced ideas; and excellent analytical and problem-solving skills, with the demonstrated ability to exercise good judgment and make sound decisions in support of the goals of advancement and William & Mary.
  • Firm understanding of web technologies and applications, including social networking, social media tools and current communication trends; strong research skills with the ability to analyze data and make data driven decisions; and strong project management skills with the ability to identify short-and long-range goals and affect, interpret and implement communication strategies including work on cross-functional teams.
  • Great degree of flexibility and outstanding organizational skills with the demonstrated ability to manage multiple and competing projects concurrently while adhering to strict deadlines. Ability to adapt to changes and/or upgrades in office procedures and systems.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience in all aspects of public communications including, strategy, planning, project management, editing and publishing (typically three or more years).
  • Significant experience in print publication and integrated media communications (typically three or more years).
  • Extensive portfolio that includes a variety of communications pieces (including publications, appeal letters, social media collateral, proposals, talking points, website content, scripts and digital communications).
  • Knowledge of advancement and student information systems.
  • An in-depth understanding of best practices in university marketing and communications.
  • Understanding of the operating structure of universities and the complex relationship of public universities to their constituencies.

Position Duties
Develop Content, 70%

  • Source, Create, and Develop Content for Various Communications Channels
  • Write and edit direct mail, appeal letters, email campaigns and social media posts to solicit donations and gifts from alumni and other potential donors.
  • Create compelling copy for fundraising materials, such as articles, brochures, newsletters, one sheets magazine ads and web content.
  • Identify the best communication channel for the content and target writing style and messaging as appropriate for the channel.
  • Help with messaging and strategy for calendar year end, fiscal year end and One Tribe One Day, W&M’s annual giving day.
  • Develop compelling content to ensure that priorities and key messages are articulated clearly and consistently through advancement communications that elevate the three core areas: enrollment, advancement and institutional recognition.
  • Bring creative ideas that offer a unique interpretation or editorial opinion that reflect the W&M brand and support key messages and goals.

Execute Communications, 25%

  • Design, Develop, and Execute Communication Plans
  • Collaborate with other departments, such as the advancement team and direct marketing team, to develop coordinated messaging.
  • Have strong research skills with the ability to analyze data and make data-driven decisions.
  • Analyze communications data and make recommendations for future improvements.
  • Generate, research and identify ideas for stories that highlight students, faculty, staff and alumni who are working on efforts that forward advancement efforts and the mission and vision of William & Mary.
  • Stay up to date with the latest trends and best practices in direct marketing to ensure that the university’s copy remains relevant and effective.

Common Communications, 5%

  • Serve as a liaison to and team lead for a set of communication clients within University Advancement
  • Edit and proofread collateral produced by Direct Marketing and external partners at a high standard that ensures accuracy, consistency and quality.
  • Assist senior director, executive director and project managers in creating production schedules and managing communication projects.
  • Participate in working groups to plan, coordinate and execute original communications products and publications related to special events and programs.

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