In an era of all things online, from e-commerce to e-socializing to e-education, Professional Development Resources has taken another step in its transition from conventional “snail mail” campaigns to contemporary Internet marketing. Gone are the hundreds of thousands of mailed brochures, the vats of printer’s ink, and the stunning expenditures for bulk mail postage. Here to stay (at least for now) are the emails and blogs and Facebook postings and tweets.
Professional Development Resources is a national provider of continuing education (CE) serving psychologists, social workers, professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, and dietitians, has kicked off its 2011 internet marketing initiative with the hiring of a new IT/social media specialist. In addition, the company has engaged the services of Banks and Banks Consulting, a firm that specializes in Application Development and GeoMedia with emphasis on Strategic Marketing.
Melissa Keen, the company’s newly hired IT/social media specialist, brings over 15 years of experience helping small businesses build a web and social media presence by creating e-commerce and social media solutions from the ground up. Her resume also includes technical support for several Fortune 500 companies, providing tech support, data analysis, application customization, and database programming. Melissa’s mission is to help the company build one-to-one customer relationships by creating and maintaining an online user community that will serve the needs of its customer base.
Professional Development Resources is intent on increasing both its visibility and its ease of access for users by offering all aspects of its continuing education activities online. This means that an increasing share of the company’s promotional efforts will be comprised of technologies like social media marketing, email announcements, and online user communities. In addition, users will be able to access and complete an ever-growing number of the company’s CE credit courses online.
In recent years, Professional Development Resources has prioritized the development of innovative ways of marketing and delivering its accredited CE courses in an eco-friendly manner, including any and all strategies that eliminate the needless consumption of resources like paper and ink and packaging materials.
“In 2008, we mailed over 1.2 million promotional pieces,” says Leo Christie, PhD, CEO of Professional Development Resources. “About seventy-five per cent of them were our traditional tri-fold brochures and the balance were color postcards. In 2010, we mailed only half that number, and we plan further reductions in 2011. The decrease in the utilization of tangible resources is astonishing when you take the time to add up all of the various components. Our list – and there may be some items we haven’t thought of yet – includes: paper, ink, energy consumed by the printing presses and postal processing equipment, fuel burned in the process of delivering all of those pieces, and the harder-to-calculate costs of disposing of and/or recycling both used and unused pieces.”
The recent proliferation of Internet and social media marketing developments has greatly advanced the company’s efforts. “We have been aware for some time that our customers’ preferences are rapidly changing in the direction of quick and easy online access to all phases of continuing education,” says Christie. “Electronic communications media that did not even exist in 2008 are everywhere today. They have given us the means, motive, and opportunity to communicate with our users in the ways they prefer we contact them.”
Indications are that the company’s efforts are paying off. Visits to its Facebook, blog, and Twitter pages are on the increase, and user feedback is favorable.
In line with its emphasis on developing online marketing strategies, the company is quickly adapting its curriculum delivery systems to online presentation and delivery methods. Rather than relying on “tangible” courses that require the mailing of books and printed materials, the company’s new courses are largely online and web-based documents. All of the testing is now done online – no paper, no ink, no mail.
A few of the company’s new online courses are:
- Alzheimer’s Disease – Overview
- Domestic Violence – Intimate Partner Violence
- Multicultural Issues in Counseling: Older Adults
- Gender Identity and Gender Variance
About Professional Development Resources, Inc.
Professional Development Resources is a Florida nonprofit educational corporation founded in 1992 by licensed marriage and family therapist Leo Christie, PhD. The company, which is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) – as well as many other national and state boards – has focused its efforts on making online continuing education courses more efficient and widely accessible to health professionals by offering online home study coursework. Its current expanded curriculum includes a wide variety of clinical topics intended to equip health professionals to offer state-of-the art services to their clients.
Professional Development Resources, Inc.