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New partnership brings marketing summit to Shenandoah University

shenandoah universityThe Shenandoah University Harry F. Byrd, Jr. School of Business is partnering with Winchester-based consulting agency Encore Elite Partners to hold a marketing summit on Feb. 27.

The fifth annual EEP Marketing Summit — previously the Go Blue Ridge Travel Annual Marketing Summit — is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 27 in Halpin-Harrison Hall in Stimpson Auditorium on Shenandoah University’s main campus.

“Shenandoah University is delighted to host the annual EEP Marketing Summit this year and in years to come,” said Associate Professor Giles Jackson, Ph.D. “It’s a great way to build on the foundation established by the annual business symposium, and it helps the business school achieve its mission, which is to educate students to be successful, principled leaders with a global perspective.”

Initially, the event’s mission was to address the marketing needs of the local tourism and hospitality industry in the Shenandoah Valley. This year, the event will offer a full day of sessions on strategies for marketing success for all businesses and industries in Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland. Students at Shenandoah University and other local universities and community colleges are invited to attend.

“The summit will highlight the best marketing media for different generations,” said Nancy Craun, owner of Encore Elite Partners and producer of the marketing summit. “Social digital media is the number one concern, with most businesses struggling with how to pick which channels are best for their products. There is also the newest marketing trend in 2019 — influencer campaigns.”

Rita McClenny, the chief executive officer and president of Virginia Tourism Corporation, will kick off the event at 9:30 a.m. This year is the 50th year of the corporation’s Virginia is for Lovers brand campaign.

“The brand is one of the most successful tourism identities here in the United States,” Craun said.

Other speakers include Shannon Johnson, brand director of Virginia Tourism Corporation; Susan Zirkle from The Martin Agency, which handles brands like Geico, CarMax, Benjamin Moore, TIAA, Land O’Lakes, Virginia Tourism, and Colonial Williamsburg; and Georgiana Dearing, founder of Virginia Foodie and owner of Water Street | Marketing for Manufacturers.

Attendees will also learn how to work with the Harry F. Byrd, Jr. School of Business through internships, pilot studies and a mentoring program.

There are also afternoon breakout sessions with panelists and moderators covering such topics as:

  • Internships: How to develop a successful internship experience (Shenandoah University)
  • How to work with a limited marketing budget
  • Photography tips: What you need to know
  • #Hashtags and Instagram: How to use them to your advantage
  • Hottest marketing trend for 2019: How to have an influencer campaign

The registration fees are funding scholarships allowing Shenandoah University students to attend American Marketing Association conferences in 2019.

“Scholarships are valuable tools for opening doors for promising young people,” said Dr. Jackson. “One of our priorities is to build students’ professional networks by sending them to market trade events where they can learn best practices and position themselves to capitalize on new and exciting opportunities. The marketing summit helps bring us closer to this goal.”

Encore Elite Partners specializes in digital social media campaigns for the tourism and hospitality industry. Best known for its community-marketing ecosystem that allows businesses to collaborate together on marketing campaigns, EEP’s four communities include Go Blue Ridge Travel, Va Kids Trail, Taste of Blue Ridge and Blue Ridge Bride.

To register for the summit, go to

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