Santa meets Lao Tzu: Saint Martin’s University’s website redesign project

Lao Tzu says, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”

Our first step began in spring 2014 when then-Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Jennifer Fellinger, came to the team and said, “We’ve been given a budget for a website redesign!” After mopping up the coffee sprayed all over the table, we shouted, “Yeehaw!” Followed closely by, “Uh, what now?”

“What now?” became step two: Web Manager, Carl Lew, now-Vice President, Genevieve Chan and me, Web Content Manager, Vanessa Schuler, stole away from the rest of the tasks on our plate — early mornings here, late afternoons there — to build, compile, write, list, collect, amass, edit and refine a letter to Santa (a.k.a. Request for Proposal, a.k.a. wishlist) asking for the whole enchilada: one, unique higher ed marketing and web design firm that “gets” Saint Martin’s University.

After two solid months of thinking and conceiving and analyzing and envisioning, we put a stamp on it, and on September 11, 2014 we moved to step three: popping our North Pole petition into the mail (i.e. email, Twitter and the RFPDatabase) in hopes that Saint Nicholas would hear our plea.

Now the way I understand how Santa to works, you write your letter, put it in the mail and wake up Christmas morning with either a lump of coal or a shiny new toy, depending on whether you’re naughty or nice. Weeelllll, Santa works a little differently on projects with a budget, so a few weeks after we sent our letter into the Internet ether…Ba-da-boom, ba-da-bing! An elf appeared at the MarCom door with 16 proposals ranging in size from 20 pages to 75 pages and a note from Santa saying “Season’s greetings! You decide!”

Ack! Egads! How to choose?

This led to step four:

Like Who’s down in Whoville, the tall and the small,
We poured through proposals, we went through them all.
We gave the committee* the best we could see,
And asked if they’d rank them: one, two or three!

By October the committee had ranked the three vendors and invited them to campus. Step five. One by one they came. Bringing gifts of words, ideas and presentations–each according to their strengths. And their strengths were legion!

We scurried back to HQ to converse, examine and weigh. Through quiet contemplation and deep deliberation we arrived at a decision (step six), dispatching our choice (step seven), via candy cane pneumatic tube, back to the land of snow, to see if Santa would deliver the goods! And…

It’s not yet Christmas, but we’re happy to say,
Step eight has happened, yay, yay and YAY!
Santa delivered our vendor of choice,OHO Interactive logo
The one we believe will give us our voice.
The one who will “get” us and help us achieve,
The magic we’re seeking, the stories we’ll weave!
Hailing from Boston, a fabulous team,
OHO Interactive, they’re truly our dream!

Congratulations to OHO Interactive and Saint Martin’s University on our gift of collaboration!

Our journey of a thousand steps has begun. Thank you to President Heynderickx, the Board of Trustees, Dino Batali and our amazing web committee for helping us take these first steps.

Stay tuned to our MarCom blog. This is a journey we’re taking together. We want to share each step with you and get feedback from you along the way.

“OHO, ho! Merry Christmas!”

*Our web committee: super-duper-troopers Dino Batali, Deanna Bourgault, Bailey Craft, Greg Davis, Ellamae Donato, Meg Dwyer, Genevieve Gottwald, Scot Harrison, Fumie Hashimoto, Ryan Jackson, Spencer Jerome, Megan Lobdell, Mary Maselli and Alyssa Nastasi.

4 comments

  1. Hi this is somewhat of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code
    with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding expertise
    so I wanted to get advice from someone with experience.
    Any help would be enormously appreciated!

    1. Hi Kirby,

      Yup. Most blogging software is going to have a built-in WYSIWYG editor as its default with the ability to toggle into HTML if you want. I’m only familiar with WordPress and Blogger, but they both offer WYSIWYG editors out-of-the-box. This article on The Next Web is a review of different blogging systems that might help you make a decision: http://thenextweb.com/apps/2013/08/16/best-blogging-services/.

      Cheers!
      Vanessa

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