Collaboration Turns the Key to Success!

by Kellie Ketterman

This past November 2017, my team from Salisbury University and I competed in the Fall Collegiate MAXI Competition held at Chapman, Cubine, and Hussey in Arlington, Virginia. Happily, we won gold. We collaborated and created a direct and integrated campaign titled #BeAPart for the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The campaign centered on a collegiate and high school art competition with direct mail, telemarketing, email, and social media marketing components. The key to our success with #BeAPart turned on collaboration, delegation, and mediation when creative clashes occurred.

Four students in varying years at Salisbury University participated. We had different marketing backgrounds, interests, and experiences. In fact, one of my teammates was a finance and chemistry major! We naturally assumed different group roles, but we were all task-focused and wanted to create a winning campaign in the most efficient way.

Especially in the initial phases of our campaign when we were bouncing ideas off one another, we needed to collaborate effectively. With our advisor Professor Paula Morris, we brainstormed ideas for our campaign title. We gave ourselves a set amount of time to write down all our ideas. We then read our ideas out loud and tweaked to make each better. That’s how we came up with our campaign slogan!

In order to create the sharpest campaign, we made decisions based on our individual talents. For instance, our resident finance/chemistry major who loves numbers worked on our budget. I created our graphics and advertisements because I had experience doing so in my summer internship. By delegating based on our individual talents, we facilitated the creation process and streamlined our work. We also were able to churn out our best because we were passionate about our assigned tasks.

While creative clashes occurred at times, both sides were committed to handling conflicts fairly. Each side stood their ground and explained why they believed a certain direction was optimal for the campaign. The key was to avoid a stubborn stance while remaining open and accepting different ideas. After all, the other idea could turn out to be a winner! We also learned to separate the professional project from our personal lives and personal friendships. In doing so, conflicts were limited and didn’t last.

We also found that the project worked best when the group stood firm in holding group members accountable for submitting quality work on time. We learned that it’s always useful to set deadlines for individual parts of the project, followed by a group review to ensure quality. We learned if the whole group was unsure of first copy or concept, there’s no shame in asking for another copy or another concept!

The primary lesson? Creative collaboration is key when creating a direct marketing campaign as a college student. In college we’re especially lucky because students work with different people from diverse backgrounds and experiences. It’s important to take advantage of this early in a professional career with a case competition like the DMAW/EF MAXI Competition!

Kellie Ketterman is a senior at Salisbury University with a dual major in Marketing and Media Studies and a marketing intern at Quiet Storm Surf Shop. She was a member of the gold-winning MAXI team from SU for Fall 2017. She is a member of Lambda Pi Eta, SU’s Marketing Excellence club, SU’s Quidditch Team, and president of SU’s Manhunt Club. She also is a Marketing Manager, DJ, and host of “The Sound” on WXSU 96.3, SU’s student-run radio station. Reach her at