2016 Target Marketer of the Year: Windsor Hanger Western
“Our marketing partners all embrace our mission of serving and supporting women, and that is why we partner with them,” Western says. “We have been lucky enough to work with a fantastic group of marketers through the years for brands in a huge number of categories who are aligned with our mission and our values. These include incredible brands ranging from Plan B to European Wax Center, to Rebecca Minkoff to TRESemmé, to Intel to Microsoft, to Maidenform.”
These values even pre-date the HerCampus.com launch. In 2009, the brand partnered on a marketing campaign:
“The campaign was called ‘The Juicy Sisterhood’ and was a sorority-inspired Juicy Couture brand ambassador program, centered around the creation of custom content created by our Juicy Sisters,’” Western says. “The content featured the ways that these ambassadors organically integrated Juicy Couture clothing and accessories into their lifestyles. Today, custom influencer content is being done by everyone. But at that point in time, this was a very novel idea.”
That’s why three years ago, Western’s commitment to those values was evident to Sean-Patrick M. Hillman when they met during a meeting between his client and an ad agency. Since then, Hillman, an EVP and principal at Corbin-Hillman Communications of New York, has remained a friend and mentor to Western.
“Marketing excellence is the only description I can think of when it comes to Windsor’s work,” Hillman says. “Her ability to navigate the incredibly complicated mind of a female Millennial college/university student on behalf of a client is unmatched. But there is no ego here, unlike many others who behave quite differently than Windsor and her team. The best sign of any true intelligent marketer is one that asks when they don’t know something. Not someone who shrugs it off because they don’t want to look unintelligent.”
Giving Back to Women — Marketers and Otherwise
“Giving back is central to everything that we do at Her Campus,” Western says. “At our core, our mission is to support the next generation of journalists, advertisers and marketers. The women who go through the Her Campus program come out ready to conquer the working world with confidence. It’s so important for us as marketing professionals to mentor younger marketers, to provide internship and externship experiences, and to make sure that there are professional development opportunities for their companies’ most junior team members. Not only is it the right thing to do, these younger marketers will become your biggest advocates down the line. These investments in young talent will pay major dividends, I promise you.”
Kaplan explains other ways Western gives back to the marketing profession.
“Windsor has spoken at Cannes Lions, the Girl Up Leadership Summit, ... Cosmopolitan’s Fun Fearless Life Conference and many more,” he says. “She donates time to many Boston and Atlanta community events and speaks at colleges across the country, sharing her story to aspiring women writers and entrepreneurs.”
Her Campus, Her Future
Western wants to grow Her Campus. She has an outline, as Roosevelt advises: “It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.”
During the next decade, Western wants to expand the Her Campus Media audience to 13- to 35-year-old females.
“My prediction is that by that time,” she says, “we will have made several additional acquisitions and will be a digital-native media empire focused entirely on serving the world’s young, highly motivated women. I anticipate that 10 years from now, we will have expanded down into teen media (and perhaps girls media) and up into media for young professionals in the first 10 to 15 years of their careers. We will be the player in the young female media space and will be a valuable resource to the world’s smartest marketers looking to impactfully reach women ages 13-35.”
This may be easier for an expanded Her Campus Media empire than other organizations, because Western and her colleagues enjoy trying new things.
“The marketing services and opportunities that we bring to our clients are not only up-to-date, they’re up-to-the-minute,” Western says. “Our content experiences, and therefore our marketing programs, live on the platforms that our audience is currently obsessing over, whether that be Facebook Live, Snapchat or Instagram stories. We’re not afraid to change what we do as consumer behavior evolves and, as a result, what we’ve built is a totally integrated, 360-degree marketing offering that our clients tap into with abandon.”
Hillman thinks this type of thinking may lead Western down a different path.
“To become POTUS by the time she is 40,” he says. “No, I am not kidding.”
It’s an interesting prediction. Will Western be president? Or will Eleanor occupy the White House?
Either way, Her Campus Media will probably cover it.