New perspective: New marketing director outlines plans for department

John-Mark Francis is the Director of Marketing at WKU.

Jack Dobbs

Following the departure of former Director of Marketing Stacey Biggs from WKU’s Office of Marketing, John Mark Francis, then assistant director of admissions, was asked to help out in the marketing office in Biggs’ absence as acting director of marketing.

Just this past week, Francis stepped down from his position in the Office of Admissions to take on the position permanently.

“As a WKU alumnus, it’s an incredible honor for me to continue to serve my alma mater in this new role,” Francis said in an email.

Francis started in the Office of Admissions in 2010 as an admissions counselor. For the past five years, he has served as assistant director of admissions-recruitment.

“During my time in Admissions, I’ve had the great opportunity to work with the team of admissions counselors, the diversity recruitment officer, the coordinator of outreach, the communication coordinator, the graphic designer and the campus visit coordinator,” Francis said.

He said during the time he worked in the office of admissions, he worked closely with Biggs and the marketing office.

“For the past eight months I have served as both assistant director of admissions and acting director of marketing,” Francis said. “I was recently asked to stay on as the permanent director of marketing, and within the past week, I resigned from my position in Admissions to shift my focus to the role in the marketing office.”

Francis said the focus of his new position will be evolving the marketing office’s strategies.

“We want our marketing to capture everyone’s attention, but the reality is that it also captures the attention of other employers and opens doors for our team members,” Francis said. “In order to ensure that WKU messaging reaches the right audiences and that our content stands out to prospective students, we continue to evolve our strategy—shifting to more one-to-one outreach with particular focus placed on creating content that is tailored to individuals.”

In addition to the shifting focus of the marketing office’s strategies, the marketing office has been hit with another challenge. Two members of marketing left the office this year. Francis said marketing has received assistance with this from other offices around campus.

“As we conduct hiring searches to fill the needs within our office, other staff in the marketing office and across the division of communications and marketing are providing assistance,” Francis said.

As Francis goes forward in marketing, he said he is hopeful for the future. Francis said marketing is fortunate since it does not have to “invent a narrative” in order to make WKU attractive.

“Instead,” Francis said, “We will continue working with partners from across campus to uncover the stories of how WKU is changing the lives of our students, how our faculty and staff are elevating WKU through their work inside and outside the classroom, and how the experience provided on The Hill prepares students for future success.”

WKU President Timothy Caboni expressed his support of Francis in a statement given to the Herald.

“Given our focus on enrollment management and that he was the recommendation of both the outgoing vice president and former chief marketing officer, John-Mark was the obvious choice to fill the role,” Caboni said. “His performance and that of his divi- sion warranted removing the interim title and making him the permanent director.”

Caboni also said that Francis’ appointment has allowed the university to “reward a high performing internal candidate with WKU ties.”

Reporter Jack Dobbs can be reached at 270-745-0655 and jack.dobbs469@ Follow him on Twitter at @jackrdobbs.