Claire Telford (left)

Claire Telford (left)

Experts go face-to-face

Okanagan College Bachelor of Business Administration students learned to cut through the advertising clutter from a panel of media leaders.

During a discussion at the Kalamalka campus, Claire Telford, senior marketing consultant for Castanet; Gord Leighton, general manager of Sun FM; Dennis Gabelhouse, general manager of CHBC; and Nathan Weathington, publisher of The Morning Star, compared the demographics and advantages of each of their advertising mediums.

The guest panel was part of instructor Arnica Rowan’s advertising and sales promotion class.

“No matter where you are advertising, we learned your strategy needs to fit your audience and objectives,” said Corinne Peard, a fourth-year marketing student.

“You have to know as much about your product as you can when designing your campaign.”

When asked what makes for a great advertising idea, Leighton said,  “You have to have the courage to be outrageous. You have to be willing to take the risk.”

He recommended several books to the students and encouraged them to hone their creative talent.

“Creativity is a skill that can be learned,” said Leighton.

Weathington noted there is no substitute for experience.

“It’s a good idea to listen to your sales representative,” he said.

“Experience can tell you if an ad is going to work or not.”

Students in the program were surprised to learn how differently readership, viewers and listeners are measured for each media category.

According to Gabelhouse, a media oulet’s “content is king. If you have the best content, you have the traffic. There are five things that are very important – the right medium, the right message, the time, the place and the right product.”

Added Telford: “There are only so many advertising dollars to be spent; we are all held accountable for the advertiser’s return on investment.”

Guest speakers are common in Okanagan College classrooms, but to have four local industry leaders speaking on one panel was a real treat for the students.

“We learned that relationships are paramount to advertising success,” said Aaron Bergeron, a second-year marketing student.

Rowan believes the panel’s experience provided an inside look at how media marketing really works.

“Textbooks can’t possibly keep up with the pace of change,” said Rowan.

“That’s why it’s so important to hear from industry people who are at the top of their game.”