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Marketing for a new industry

It has been a long time since I posted here, but I have been very busy. Over the intervening time I have been promoted to the rank of Associate Professor and have become an Assistant Dean for Student Services. Economics and econometrics still occupy a significant part of my time, but being an administrator within a school of business, I have spent a lot of time focused on human resource development and management as well as institution building. It is fascinating. Recently, I also started helping my wife develop a marketing plan for her Tucker-based counseling private practice, Bit by Bit Counseling, focused on perinatal and maternal mental health.

Academia is a very unique place, and Georgia Gwinnett College, where I work, is unique among academic institutions. As an access-mission school, we have a very academically diverse student body. As the most diverse regional college in the South, we have a lot of different students in every dimension. Many of them are already working, many are underprepared for collegiate work when they arrive, many have families, many are traditional students–there is no “typical” student. Addressing their needs represents a unique challenge that requires scaling up bespoke solutions through thorough student engagement. We are putting into place a lot of programs and processes to help us with this, and it is exciting to be a part of so much growth and success. It is just as rewarding to help a struggling student make it through to their goal as it is to help and excellent student push through barriers to reach their fullest potential–and both of those things happen any given Tuesday.

With all that free time I have, I have also started to help with Cheryl’s private practice in Tucker, GA. I like to tinker with websites, I like social media, and I like thinking about demand and clients and how to connect clients to a practice. Her focus is on perinatal mental health, working with expectant mothers, early families: “Stillbirth, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, depression, anxiety, secondary infertility, premature birth, time spent in the NICU, difficulty in relationships, profound problems with self-image”– a lot of the complex stuff that happens in those years between “I think I’d like to have a family” and “we have achieved something like a steady state with our family.”

I have spent a lot of time thinking about my experience with the early parenting years, which, with a 2.5-year-old, we’re really just coming out of, and working on the marketing has been interesting and very rewarding. I think it is genuinely very important, with massive potential positive social externalities. Helping people helps the world. It’s also interesting as a marketing puzzle, to think about monopolistic competition, the complexities of small markets where competitors can actually help with referrals, professional development, collaborations, etc. My economic training definitely leaves me thinking about these things differently than most people with counseling training, and I think it redounds to the benefit of all involved.

In any case, I may be posting more again as I start to wrap my head around these fundamentally economic problems and need a non-counseling-related site to puzzle them out. I am at least participating in brainstorming for her blog over there now, as well, so if you or anyone you know is in that phase of life, I highly recommend her writing: Bit by Bit Blog. Let me know if you have any questions, tips, etc!

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