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Digital Roadmap panelists laugh
Elenez, Vizuete, Perez and Hash, with Schinelli standing

As the speed of tech innovation surges and communications increasingly rely on social and data, the UNC-Chapel Hill campus community must elevate its digital marketing and communications game.

University organizations can improve their marketing and communications by increasing innovation, boosting integration between technology and communication, and by interacting more with one another. This digital agility is critical as campus organizations determine how to strategically move forward to best serve applicants, students, alums and donors.

Those were some of the key messages to the more than 60 Carolina professionals invited to attend the Digital Roadmap event last week at the Carolina Club. Information Technology Services and Kenan-Flagler Business School organized the March 16 event to bring together campus leaders who work in IT, marketing/communications, enrollment and development.

“The way we communicate with people has changed dramatically,” said Joel Curran, Carolina’s Vice Chancellor of Communications and Public Affairs.

Kenan-Flagler's Michael Schinelli polls Digital Roadmap attendees
Kenan-Flagler’s Michael Schinelli

Instead of day-long news cycles and engaging with people based upon chance meetings, now communicators want to talk to their audience immediately and in the way in which their audience members want to be communicated, he said.

Think social, mobile, text-messaging apps and video as well as creative, authentic, intuitive and customer centric.

Digital natives are generating more content than we can keep up with, said Michael Schinelli, Kenan-Flagler’s Chief Marketing Officer. Meanwhile, as stakeholders become more connected, the journey to connect with them has become more fragmented.

Tonya Locke & Chris Kielt talk after the Digital Roadmap event
Tonya Locke of Kenan-Flagler and UNC-Chapel Hill CIO Chris Kielt

One key to capturing attention is using visuals. People process images 60,000 times faster than they process text. “In order to capture market share, you’ve got to first capture the imagination,” Schinelli said.

Also critical: engaging, creative use of social media and the ability to know what to do with all the data collected these days.

“The digital life is real and it is here,” said Chris Kielt, Vice Chancellor for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer.

At the event, panelists further illuminated the challenges and opportunities within higher-education communications by sharing experiences in their individual organizations. Schinelli moderated a panel made up of Kim Elenez, Senior Director, Development Communications; Kate Hash, Manager of ITS Communications & Digital Services; Natalie Vizuete, the University’s Social Media Director; and Jake Perez, CMO at The College of William & Mary.




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