Purpose and Pivot Tables: A Reflection

Last night, my team and I got an opportunity we don’t often get: to witness, first hand, the impact of the work we do here at Media Cause.

We attended Year Up Greater Boston’s graduation ceremony, honoring 150 students who have successfully completed an intensive one-year job training program and internship at top companies around the city. These students were confident, professional, and ecstatic as they walked across the stage to receive their diplomas, many of them already having graced boardrooms at Harvard, MIT or State Street. The energy in the room was joyous, and the love and support from their families, guardians, mentors, and peers was palpable. 

As marketers, we are focused on the numbers: conversion rates, cost efficiencies, impression shares. But for one night, instead of leads, we were able to take a step back and see real faces, names and bright futures. It’s a perfect reminder of why we’re here, doing the work that we do.

We partnered with Year Up two years ago, with a focus on building and scaling their digital student recruitment program. Targeting a primarily minority, low-income, 18-24 year old demographic is no easy task, nor is convincing them that working their tails off for a year is going to get them the job of their dreams. And as we found out from our audience surveys and analysis, many young adults think the program is just too good to be true.

Luckily, we’ve been able to test numerous strategies, platforms, and types of content, and pull the levers needed to drive prospective student leads in the door for Year Up, both in their Boston site location and 15 other markets across the country. As we round out our fourth recruitment cycle, we’re proud to say that over the past two years, we’ve brought in more than 20,000 prospective students leads through multi-channel efforts, some of whom walked across the stage last night, beaming with pride and on the path to great success.

As Year Up’s keynote speaker, Andrea Campbell, Boston City Council President, emphasized, the key to the success of any individual or organization is purpose. For these students, and now working professionals, their road was not an easy one. We heard speeches filled with stories of homelessness, addiction, abuse, and racism, yet a common thread remained: Year Up gave them a purpose, something to strive for, and a way to make their lives and their communities better.

Purpose is truly what defines our work at Media Cause. Sure, we are tacticians, strategists, platform experts, communicators – but most importantly, we are passionate individuals who want to make a difference and are willing to get our hands dirty in order to do so. Whether it be closing the Opportunity Divide, fighting for women’s rights, raising money for cancer research or protecting National Parks, behind every metric there is a greater impact that we’re making, a greater purpose that we’re serving. And that’s why we’re here.

Thank you to Year Up for the great reminder of that last night, and for giving us the opportunity to play a small role in your mission. As we return today to our spreadsheets and pivot tables, we can’t help but have a renewed sense of purpose, knowing that somewhere out there are 150 happy faces, truly ready to take on the world.