Alumni Spotlight: Erica Colaianne

A headshot photo of Erica Colaianne

Erica Colaianne

Eastern Michigan University’s IMC program teaches students to blend and align the many aspects of marketing and communications — internal and external marketing and communications tactics, brand awareness, strategic planning, public relations, advertising, creative development, event planning and budget management — to develop the most impactful plans. The professors demonstrate the importance of planning-based on business objectives, developing creative briefs, finding the right channels for your audience and best practices for monitoring and adjusting campaigns and analyzing results.

As the associate director of marketing and communications at the Wayne State University School of Medicine, I develop marketing and communications plans with strategic messaging architecture to optimize the use of each campaign channel to achieve increased awareness and preference, and capture leads from target audiences. I work with a team to implement the tactics of those plans, and monitor and analyze the campaigns.

Before enrolling in the IMC program, I was a little static in how I wrote and planned for different campaigns. What I really enjoyed about being a student was that I had the opportunity to work on campaigns addressing various needs for national companies like DirecTV, Chevrolet, Chipotle and Barnes and Noble, and also for local companies like the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum. We learned best practices to identify target audiences, research consumer insights, craft messaging and positioning statements that enhance the brand strategy, outline tactical approaches including all digital content and printed collateral, and define and evaluate metrics in custom dashboards to measure ROI and improve future initiatives. We worked with Google AdWords and had accounts to manage — it truly integrates real-life applications into coursework.

A major advantage of EMU’s online-only program was the flexibility. I completed my classwork in the early mornings, late at night, on lunch breaks…even on my honeymoon! Having professors who are experts in their fields, and most of them still working in those fields, was immensely beneficial as well. They knew the best practices for campaign development. With our ever-changing society, the way we are influenced as consumers can change quickly and they taught us to prepare to keep up with those trends.

In the EMU IMC program, you'll learn in a manner that allows you to enhance the work you do every day. You'll be able to sit in a board meeting with executive leaders and confidently contribute to the overall brand strategy. You're going to have the ability to develop and implement a multifaceted campaign. You'll go further in the long-run because you know what you need to plan and prepare. It changes the way you think and teaches you to collaborate.