Tag Archives: marketing

Moving forward

by Steve Lovejoy, Michigan State University Extension associate director

Over the past few years, Michigan State University Extension has stressed three things: specialization, accountability and marketing.


As the information needs of our clientele become more specific, each of us needs to be more specialized to adequately meet those needs as well as answer their questions and concerns. Our success is reflected by the improved relations with stakeholders.

Accountability – organizationally and individually:

We have made great strides in being deliberate about our plans of work and measuring the impacts of our programs on the residents of Michigan. These efforts are reflected, in part, by the strong support from the Legislature and county boards.


The statistics on the growth of visits to our website are truly amazing. They are the direct consequence of the content that all staff write on a regular basis. This builds support for MSU Extension and greater knowledge about what we can contribute.

Each of us, as educators, specialists, and faculty, has a responsibility to:

  • Develop our individual area of expertise.
  • Assist in developing the plan of work (POW) for our work group; that is how we better ensure that ALL of the stakeholder needs in areas of our expertise are addressed.
  • Assist in work group activities, including evaluation.
  • Develop our own individual plan of work that is encompassed within the work group POW.
  • Report those activities and impacts so that our funders will enable us to continue to assist individuals, families, businesses and communities in Michigan.

Keep up the great work. While Tom and I will not be here to guide you, remember MSUE is an organization made up of more than 500 staff members that are increasingly nimble and resilient.

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Follow these tips to promote your ‘baby’: Part 3

The last two Spotlights offered real-life examples of how some of our Michigan State University Extension colleagues have successfully marketed their curriculum resulting in at least moderate increases in sales of the product in the MSU Extension Bookstore. Today, I’d like to offer my final example.

Extension program leaders Janet Olsen and Karen Pace wrote Be SAFE: Safe, Affirming and Fair Environments (HNI101). The curriculum is designed to help young people aged 11 to 14 and adults work in partnership to create environments that are physically and emotionally safe.

The curriculum has sold well in the MSU Extension Bookstore with 70 percent of sales coming from outside Michigan.

Janet said, “Karen and I have been quite intentional about our marketing efforts, and we think that there are multiple aspects of our overall program development and marketing that have contributed to good sales.”BeSafe-Cover-BookstoreThumb

For starters, the two did not just develop the curriculum because the subject interested them. They created it when seeing a need for research-based bullying prevention education within out-of-school time settings. As they created the curriculum, they paid particular attention to research from CASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning), which stressed that effective after-school programs that promote social and emotional learning are sequenced, active, focused and explicit (which also spells SAFE). Making connections between the Be SAFE curriculum design and the findings from CASEL has been an important aspect of marketing the value of the material.

Early in the process, they focused on cross-institute partnerships and capacity-building. Although the Be SAFE initiative was developed within the Health and Nutrition Institute Social and Emotional Work Team, they began building connections with staff in the Children and Youth Institute. As soon as the curriculum came off the presses in January 2013, they offered workshops to build the capacity of staff to address issues of bullying within their communities and to use and market the curriculum as a tool for addressing these issues. They also developed flyers designed to make local marketing easy to carry out. They currently offer mini-grants staff can use to help program sites put the curriculum to work.

They’ve promoted Be SAFE at a wide variety of youth- and health-related conferences across Michigan and the country. Some of these have been Extension-related (such as the National Extension Conference on Volunteerism and the Priester National Extension Health Conference), and many have been through external groups and organizations (such as Girl Scouts, the Michigan AfterSchool Association and the Childhood Trauma Practitioner’s Assembly). They always provide participants with copies of the curriculum flyer, as well as flyers for additional Be SAFE educational workshops. They always make sure they tell people to download a free PDF of the introduction to the Be SAFE curriculum from the MSU Extension Bookstore site. They also stress that the curriculum is available in multiple formats (print, flash drive and CD-ROM).

They’ve offered webinars about bullying topics “bookended” by information about Be SAFE. They’ve marketed these webinars through the local and statewide networks of MSU Extension staff members, as well as through the eXtension website and national Extension youth- and health-related Listservs. The recordings of the webinars are available for purchase through the MSU Extension Bookstore.

They use MSU Extension news articles as a marketing tool. As they write news articles about bullying and related issues, they often include a final paragraph that connects with the Be SAFE initiative and that highlights the curriculum. For example, a recent article about cyberbullying included three pertinent links: the Be SAFE program web page, the Be SAFE curriculum page in the MSU Extension Bookstore and the Events registration site for a recent webinar about cyberbullying.

They offer continuing education units for their workshops, which helps them reach broader audiences. They have worked with the Michigan Social Work Continuing Education Collaborative to have the Be SAFE-related workshops approved for continuing education hours. This has allowed them to have their approved workshops listed on the collaborative’s website, which is accessed by large numbers of social workers who need ongoing education hours for their licensing requirements.

Karen and Janet worked to get Be SAFE included in a nationally sold publication produced by the National 4-H Council titled A Guide to Bullying Prevention Programs. It talks about Be SAFE as an important resource to address issues of bullying.

As you can see from all three examples I’ve talked about, trying a variety of marketing methods can lead to successful sales of your product. Find some that work for you.

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Follow these tips to promote your ‘baby’: Part 2

Last week, I gave you a real-life example of how some of our Michigan State University Extension colleagues have successfully marketed their curriculum resulting in at least moderate increases in sales of the product in the MSU Extension Bookstore. Today, I’d like to offer another example.ReadyToGo-Thumbnail

Ready to Go: Mentor Training Toolkit (4H1642PDF) assists youth mentoring programs in the training of new and existing mentors and other youth-serving organizations in training volunteers working with young people. Nearly 88 percent of sales of the curriculum came from outside Michigan. MSU Extension 4-H senior mentoring specialist Lisa Bottomley, the project’s director, attributes national interest to the multiple presentations presented by MSU Extension staff members at national conferences. These included the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents conference in Orlando, Fla., the National Mentoring Summit in Washington, D.C., the National Extension Conference on Volunteerism in Frankenmuth, Mich., and the Galaxy IV Conference in Pittsburgh, Pa. In addition, staff members did a workshop at the 4-H National Mentoring Program grantee training. This year, Lisa will present a workshop and promote curriculum at a table at the training in January. Two out of the five hours she spends training will be on the curriculum. She and associate program leader Molly Frendo will also present two sessions on the curriculum at the National Mentoring Summit again this January.

Lisa found that articles she wrote for the MSU Extension website has drawn in interested customers. Articles such as “Why Boundary Setting Matters in Mentor-mentee Relationships,” contain Lisa’s contact information, encouraging readers to contact her for additional information or mentor training materials.

Some even have obtained permission to adapt some of the sections to their curriculum. The Canadian Association of Family Resource Programs (FRP Canada) adapted material from Ready to Go for their twin Peer Mentoring guides, one for family support practitioners and one for family support volunteers. (See the section on boundaries in each guide.)

Next week, I’ll tell you about another curriculum and how two of our colleagues marketed it.

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ANR Communications offers helpful graphic identity resources

Has this happened to you? You may be getting ready for a workshop or sending out some information to the people we serve and you realize you need the proper Michigan State University Extension wordmark to insert in your newsletter or you need an MSU Extension PowerPoint template to prepare for a workshop you’re giving. The Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications website has the solution to your graphic identity crisis.

Visit anrcom.msu.edu. Using the dropdown box under the “Tools” menu item, choose “MSU Extension Graphic Identity.” On this Web page (anrcom.msu.edu/anrcom/msue_graphics), you’ll find MSU Extension wordmarks with helpful descriptions indicating how and when to use various Extension wordmark file formats. You’ll find information on purchasing letterhead, business cards, name badges and apparel as well as templates for PowerPoint presentations, brochures, flyers and certificates – even a link to the MSU brand and graphic identity standards.

Note that high resolution MSUE wordmark files (large file size) are located within the “Logos and Graphics” area in the ANR Communications SharePoint site. You’ll also find samples of MSU Extension banner artwork stored in this location.

To find CANR, MSU AgBioResearch, Project GREEEN and 4-H logos, graphics, templates and brand information go to anrcom.msu.edu and click directly on the “Tools” menu item, which will take you to anrcom.msu.edu/anrcom/tools. On this page, in addition to graphics and templates, you’ll also find links to media release forms, Web guidelines and a curriculum development guide.

If you know of other graphics or templates you believe would be useful to add to these collections, please contact ANR Communications at anrcommunications@anr.msu.edu.

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