The Independent Student Newspaper of the University of Pennsylvania
January 22, 2014 To the CNBAM Judges,
As Advertising Director of The Daily Pennsylvanian for the past 20 years, I have had the opportunity to work with a large number of talented and dedicated student staff members and department managers. I can clearly rank Gautam Narasimhan in the upper echelon of all those students because of his leadership skills, dedication, motivation, hard work, and innovation. It is for this reason that I recommend Gautam as Best Marketing Manager. Gautam joined The Daily Pennsylvanian at the beginning of the fall 2012 semester. He was hired as an Associate Advertising Representative, and has since moved up the chain of command, leaving an indelible impression on the entire organization. The best sales rep realizes that selling is a learning process that never ends. From the beginning, Gautam was relentless in his desire to learn as much as he could about selling and newspaper advertising. He spoke to his manager, his peers, and myself to gain knowledge, share ideas and get feedback. Gautam showed interest in the other departments, and after one successful semester in sales, Gautam decided to run for Marketing Manager. Daily Pennsylvanian student board elections are usually predictable. If you worked at the newspaper for longer than your opponent, you were likely to beat your opponent out for the manager position. Gautam was the exception. A first semester freshman with just one semester’s experience at The Daily Pennsylvanian, won against a popular opponent that had three semesters experience with the newspaper. Why? The outgoing board unanimously thought that Gautam was the best choice for marketing manager because of his vision, his work ethic, and his impressive interview for the position. Gautam faced many challenges as the new marketing manager. The first and biggest challenge was that Gautam had only one returning staff member. He overcame this challenge by using his selling skills to recruit talented students and by giving them the freedom and opportunity to grow with the company. Gautam sought out students with strong design skills and put them to work on creating campaigns for our Mobile App and our special projects like the Sublet Guide and the Valentine’s Day Love Notes. His management style worked, because Gautam has a knack for delegation — he can assign a project, describe its importance and the fine details involved, and then let the staff member do their thing. I observed Gautam with his staff and was amazed with his maturity, as if he had been managing people for years. Gautam also recruited students to conduct market research for the company. The Daily Pennsylvanian has been surveying students once a year for several years now, but to me it always seemed like most of the results were ignored. The data collection, analyzing, and presentation were much more professional and effective
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under Gautamâ€™s watch. Gautam used Google Analytics for readership reports that he presented to our editorial board. These stats were used to improve our websites. The annual survey was a huge upgrade last year. Gautam assembled a team and managed their work through the entire process. I noticed a renewed confidence among editors in regard to the department. Often times the survey results in the past were not trusted by editors and for good reasons. The questions did not hit the mark and the final presentation was unprepared and contained too many opinions from the staff and not enough data from our readers. Gautam fixed this by getting the editors involved at the beginning. He made sure the editors provided feedback on the questions. Gautam managed everything from start to finish. The key is that he didnâ€™t do all of the work. Gautamâ€™s staff did the work under the proper training and supervision. Gautam left The Daily Pennsylvanian at the end of the fall 2013 semester. He left the Marketing Department in great shape. One of the best ways to tell the effectiveness of a manager is by seeing how many of the staff return for the next semester. Our new manager has five returning staff members and a renewed confidence by the organization in the department. We both have Gautam to thank for that. Sincerely,
David Graham Advertising Director
Gautam Narasimhan excelled tremendously in his position as Marketing Manager this past year. He came into a position and department that previously had not existed for several months, which I’m sure was daunting. However, Gautam was dedicated, committed, and enthusiastic about his job, and used their qualities to shape the department. Before Gautam became Marketing Manager, there was no Marketing Manager and no staff in the department. Gautam had also never worked in the Marketing Department before (he came from the Advertising Department). I was very impressed by his ability to come into this situation and make something of it. Gautam had a vision of what he wanted for the department and hired based on that vision. He knew that he wanted to focus on finding some people with design skills and some people with market research experience and interests. Because he established these goals for himself before hiring, he was able to find the right people to execute his vision for the department. He gathered a great staff that I was extremely impressed with throughout the year. Gautam also created a great community among them, which helped them to work better together and enjoy their time in the office. Along with myself and our Executive Editor, Gautam also worked to establish a new system for monitoring department projects and tasks. Previously, there was not a system in which the Marketing Manager could keep track of everything going on in the department as well as share with other people in the company what his or her department was working on. Gautam created a database that listed all of the projects being worked on, descriptions of the projects, every necessary task, who was working on each task, and deadlines for each task. This database that Gautam created and monitored allowed him to have a very clear understanding at any given time of what his staff was working on and the progress of the projects. It also allowed his staff members to be aware of other projects going on in the department and allowed myself and other managers to see what his department was working on. This was a great way to increase efficiency and stick to deadlines within the department. It also meant that I did not always have to check in with him and his staff. I credit the success of this system to how well Gautam created, used, and maintained it. It was a tool that was extremely helpful for everyone involved. Because of this tool, Gautam was able to successfully implement many marketing efforts that were priorities for The Daily Pennsylvanian. He systematically organized any promotional efforts that we were doing at the time, such as flyering on campus or setting up tables at activities fairs. During New Student Orientation, where we employ huge marketing efforts to make ourselves known to freshmen, Gautam worked extremely hard to make sure that we were reaching freshmen and others on campus as much as we possibly could. He also singlehandedly worked with one of his staff members to come up with a campaign for our mobile app, which we were in desperate need of. Once approved by our Business Board, he translated this campaign into posters that were distributed around campus, a banner for our central walk on campus, and house ads. Without having much prior marketing experience, Gautam did an incredible job of trying to foster creativity among his staff and executing campaigns they came up with.
In addition to having a comprehensive view of his department, Gautam also made efforts to work individually with all of his staff members on all of their projects. He planned their schedules so that they were often in the office when he was. He always kept track of how they were doing and assisted them in anything they needed help with to complete their project. I always felt confident that all of the projects were being worked on because he interacted with his staff so often. Gautam was also very willing to work with other editors, managers, and staff to produce the best results. Many times, his job involved getting help from other people or working with others to coordinate a project or promotion, which he did professionally and often. He was collaborative and a very easy person to work with because he was always trying to do what was best for the company. He was a team player and used his strengths and others’ strengths to produce the best outcome for his campaigns and projects. Gautam was able to turn a non-‐existent department into a productive, fun, hard-‐working department in just a few months’ time. He came in with hardly any experience, but showed that he had the dedication and skills to build the Marketing Department and show results. This is why he deserves the award for Marketing Manager of the Year. Melissa Hong Business Manager
CNBAM Best Public Relations or Marketing Manager Application Gautam Narasimhan Monday, January 27, 14 Marketing Department Strategic Summary Thank you for considering me for CNBAM’s Best Public Relations or Marketing Manager. Due to the unique circumstances of my tenure as Marketing Manager of the Daily Pennsylvanian, I have eschewed a more traditional summary of my marketing plan for a chronological overview of the various challenges I faced and accomplishments my department made over the course of a year. I am confident that this will give you excellent insight into the success of the department and my managerial abilities. I joined the Marketing Department as a freshman, at which point the department consisted of two staff members and no manager. Of the business departments, it has historically seen the most tumultuous past. Managers have often struggled to set a specific direction or goals, and as a result it has been difficult to keep the staff engaged and involved with the organization. Coming in last January, my goals were twofold: to build a strong department culture, and to expand our operations beyond promotional work to include data analytics. To be frank, much of the initial month or so was spent setting up the department, as I adjusted to the fact that I had only one returning member with no design experience and was new to the job myself. My hiring process was very much grounded in this fact — I looked for people with an eagerness to learn, as well as some interest in learning how to use design tools. I took on four additional staff members, and trained them in Adobe products and rudimentary design skills. I should note here that, traditionally, all artwork for the Marketing Department was usually created by our Ad Design team. They are a small team that, while certainly very talented, were sometimes overwhelmed with work for our advertising representatives. I decided to move all content creation inhouse, training my staff on-the-job by giving them successively larger assignments and walking them through the creation process. Since this major change, the department has become more autonomous and as a result, more efficient. Every special issue in our first semester as a department had its own campaign, while we worked on revamping the “Reads The DP” campaign that had been in use since 2012. Regarding analytics, we send out a yearly Editorial Survey where we aim to get a sense of how our various editorial products are viewed by the Penn community. This survey is generally passed on from year to year, partially to maintain consistency in the data, but also because of the compressed timeline between a new manager being appointed in January and the survey being released in early March. Given our expanded staff, we decided to buck this trend and put significant resources towards making sure each survey question was informative and unique. In the past, the survey has often been time-consuming and in some ways, unintuitive. To combat this, we went through each question and past data, deciding which questions to cull and what, if anything, needed to be added. The survey has become more streamlined and effective as a result of these efforts. In my second semester as manager, I decided to restructure the department somewhat, dividing staff into the two core activities that I felt we were responsible for: Promotion and Analytics. There were a few reasons for this division: Firstly, I found that interested applicants to the department generally
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CNBAM Best Public Relations or Marketing Manager Application Gautam Narasimhan Monday, January 27, 14 tended to have an interest in either designing ads and promotional materials or crafting surveys and doing data analysis. Further, while study abroad programs and other circumstances resulted in only two returning staff members, they were two of my strongest staff, and each had extensive experience with one of the two sub-departments I envisioned. Both my lead designer as well as the person primarily responsible for the changes to the Editorial Survey returned, giving me an excellent opportunity to both extend a leadership role to each of them and expand the departments goals. I hired seven additional staff members on this basis, with the intent of expanding the design team while also creating a new data team. Promotion has always been a part of DP Marketing, although it has often lacked a strategic plan and has suffered as a result. Analytics, while often discussed as something that needed greater focus, has been quite difficult for our organization to implement successfully in past years. Apart from biweekly readership reports and an annual survey, there was much more I felt we could do to properly target readers of our various products and give editorial staff better insight into their audiencesâ€™ habits. Through conversations with DP alumni, I set two major goals for the department involving this nascent data team. The first, which was successfully completed in November, was a database of all prospects in the Philadelphia area who currently do not advertise with us. As requested by the Advertising Department, these prospects are categorized by their propensity to buy print and/or web advertising from competing newspapers and magazines in the area. Building this database involved setting up the framework for data entry and viewing, and then manually inputting advertising data based on newspapers we gather on a regular basis from the surrounding region. It is currently being used by our advertising representatives as a tool to find new prospects and understand to some degree what their spending habits are. The second major analytics project I spearheaded was also largely sales-related. As I mentioned, we conduct an annual Editorial Survey to assess how our products fair with the Penn community. Apart from this, we also conduct a biennial Business Survey for our advertisers. The latter is primarily focused on the spending habits of Penn students and faculty, as our presence on campus allows us to collect scientifically significant samples of such data in a way that few organizations can. This information has traditionally been presented to the editorial staff and used to update our annual advertising brochure, after which it tends to sit forgotten in our file servers. Working with the advertising department, we developed sales sheets for a variety of advertiser segments, including dining, food trucks, clothing/retail, entertainment, and so on. These are designed to give an advertising representative some succinct and useful information about a prospectsâ€™ target market, helping them make an informed pitch. These data sheets are now in use by our sales team, and there is a system in place to allow us to easily update them on a yearly basis, giving advertisers the most current information on the Penn market at any given time. A marketing department is of course responsible for more than just data collection and analysis. Our core focus has remained promotion of our various products. As an organization, The Daily Pennsylvanian spans several products: the print/web versions of the daily paper, an entertainment magazine in 34th Street, a campus blog in Under the Button along with various other blogs, a mobile app,
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CNBAM Best Public Relations or Marketing Manager Application Gautam Narasimhan Monday, January 27, 14 and newly launched EventsatPenn, a source for all student events on campus. Regarding content, our products target very different audiences, so we have chosen to market them as separate products rather than develop an all-encompassing but non-specific campaign. Of these products, we were particularly focused on promoting our mobile app and EventsatPenn, the former of which has not gained the traction we would like to see and the latter of which is an entirely new product. For our mobile app, we developed an extensive, feature-based advertising campaign, wherein we highlighted specific features of the app that we felt were particularly useful to the Penn community, such as access to all Penn news, a comprehensive campus map, a mobile events site, and exclusive access to deal from our mobile partners through DP Deals, a coupon section in our app. We were particularly focused on raising awareness for the latter two features, which we did through a series of visuals as well as partnerships with campus fixtures like Ben and Jerryâ€™s to provide limited free deals to students who used the app. We have seen success from such tactics, with use of the app rising over the past several months. EventsatPenn, as an entirely new web-based product, required that we develop an active base of event creators for the site before consumers would see their value. With this goal in mind, the marketing department actively solicited submissions for events to the website, encouraging all users to post any Penn events for increased visibility. This approach has seen success, as the website now has a dedicated base of event hosts encompassing various student groups on campus. I am very proud of the work the department has accomplished during my yearlong tenure, from a variety of creative promotional campaigns to the initiatives we have taken in conducting more targeted and useful market research. More than any of this though, I am most proud of the department culture that has been established. Of the nine staff members in my department last semester, almost all are returning to The DP in some capacity, with the majority staying in the department. As a manager, I saw my role as twofold â€” to ensure that the goals we set in the beginning of the semester were all met, and to ensure that my staff had an engaging and enjoyable experience. Judging by our retention rate for the upcoming semester, I am proud of what I have been able to do for this department in my year as manager. I would like to close by reiterating what I believe to be the most significant long-term change I have been able to effect in the department. I was appointed in January of last year, without a predecessor to look to or a foundation to stand on, making for quite a difficult transition from advertising representative to Marketing Manager. This is, unfortunately, a struggle that several past Marketing Managers have faced at The DP. One of my biggest goals as an incoming manager was to establish a robust framework and culture to prevent that tradition from being repeated. My successor is one of the first staff members I hired, and has around him a core of dedicated and talented staff members with a great sense of community. Over the past year, we have evolved from a department of rotating membership to perhaps the closest communities in the organization. I am most proud of this change, because it sets up the department for future success and gives my successor the tools necessary to implement innovative campaigns and ideas. Thank you once again for your time and your consideration.
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CNBAM Best Public Relations or Marketing Manager Application Gautam Narasimhan Monday, January 27, 14 Marketing Department Strategic Summary Appendix 1. Job Description: The marketing manager is responsible for the well-being and productiveness of the marketing staff. Staff size varies between 5 and 10 members – It is important to strike a balance between keeping staff engaged, which is easier with a small staff, and maintaining the bandwidth to take on larger-scale initiatives. As far as staff themselves, it really depends on the staff you’ve retained. In a semester where you have minimal returning staff, its important to find people who are easily trained, design-capable self-starters – people who can handle a large volume of design projects while also taking initiatives in other areas. When coming in with a staff of 5 or 6 already, this job becomes a little easier – look for people who fill the niches you need. A design-heavy staff could do with some people who are willing to do more research-based projects, and vice versa. Remember that even if someone is hired for their specific Photoshop skills or experience with data analysis, it doesn’t mean they can’t be assigned to projects outside of those areas. People who work for the department want to be challenged, and it is the manager’s job not only to ensure that projects are completed on a timely basis, but also that the staff feels fulfilled and has a grasp on the value they are producing for the company. Though the projects done by the marketing department are highly variable, they generally fall under two categories: 1. Promotion: The marketing department is responsible for ensuring that all of the DP’s products (print/online DP, print/online Street, UTB, the Buzz, the Red and the Blue, and Events at Penn) are well known on campus. This is done through several ways. The “Reads the DP” campaign that has been running for the past two years showed student group involvement at Penn, better engaging our readers. Similar initiatives have been taken for our other products. By and large, Street and UTB tend to do a significant amount of selfpromotion, while DP editors will frequently promote specific stories. The marketing department should work to streamline the message across these various campaigns. Apart from products, marketing also does promotion for any special issues (Dining Guide, Housing Guide, etc.) and handles the promotion of small revenue projects (Puck Frinceton being the most obvious example). Though the project is managed by various departments, it is up to marketing, and the marketing manager, to ensure that promotion of each project is in line with the project’s theme and goals. 2. Analysis: This has traditionally consisted of three components: biweekly readership reports, a yearly readership survey and a biennial business survey. Readership reports provide in-themoment feedback on what specific articles, layouts, etc. have resonated well with readers. The readership survey aims to get feedback from our readers on where our products are succeeding and where they could use some work in the long term, through qualitative
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CNBAM Best Public Relations or Marketing Manager Application Gautam Narasimhan Monday, January 27, 14 questions. Finally, the business survey aims to provide our ad reps and customers with a better idea of where our readers (and by extension, Penn students) tend to spend money. Apart from these two key initiatives, it is crucial that the marketing manager (with help from the business manager, professional advisor, and possibly guidance from the Board of Directors) is always thinking about what other analytical projects would best serve the business goals of the DP. The recently created Competitive Analysis database is an excellent example of such a project. It essentially consists of any advertisers in the Philadelphia area that allocate their budget towards other (competing) newspapers without spending at the DP. Its goal is to provide our ad reps with a more targeted group of customers to prospect, in the hopes of finding new revenue streams. Such projects will not necessarily be readily apparent to the manager (the Competitive Analysis database, for example, was suggested by a DP alumni as a way to help the ad department) but are important for long-term success of the DP. As part of the business board, the marketing manager may also be called on to assist on projects approved by the board. All managers are expected to take initiative on such projects â€“ even if the departmentâ€™s goals arenâ€™t directly correlated with a project, managers are expected to have the knowledge and investment in the DP to be able to complete them. Examples of these projects include changes to the mobile app and the launch of Events at Penn this semester. 2. Events at Penn: This is a screenshot from www.eventsatpenn.com, a new product under The DP umbrella. It collates on-campus events for students to view on an ongoing basis, to help raise awareness for student-group-run events and the like.
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CNBAM Best Public Relations or Marketing Manager Application Gautam Narasimhan Monday, January 27, 14 3. Competitive Analysis Database: This is a screenshot from the competitive analysis database developed under my tenure. The database logs all prospects in the Philadelphia area and categorizes them by the types of advertisements they run and which competitors they run those advertisements with. The first shows a list of entries, while the second shows the detailed information card for a specific entry.
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CNBAM Best Public Relations or Marketing Manager Application Gautam Narasimhan Monday, January 27, 14
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CNBAM Best Public Relations or Marketing Manager Application Gautam Narasimhan Monday, January 27, 14 4. Sales Data Sheets: This is an example of the data sheets put together by the marketing department:
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CNBAM Best Public Relations or Marketing Manager Application Gautam Narasimhan Monday, January 27, 14 5. Mobile App Poster: This is one of several mobile app posters that my department created, to coincide with the relaunch of the mobile app in September of 2013. Each poster highlights a specific feature of the app.
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CNBAM Best Public Relations or Marketing Manager Application Gautam Narasimhan Monday, January 27, 14 6. Special Issue Campaign: This is an example of a campaign that the department creates for every special issue published by The DP. Campaigns normally span print, internet, and mobile house advertisements, and may include different social media and viral marketing strategies depending on the scope of the campaign.
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