Who We Are

Unleash your marketing department’s potential.

Wiltrout Marketing is founded on the philosophy of “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, but teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” In the world of institution branding, this translates to empowering your in-house team with the services, techniques and resources they need to create and execute a unique and compelling brand for your college or university.

Dave Stone, Deborah Wiltrout, Matt Fredericks

54th Emmy Awards: Dave Stone, Deborah Wiltrout, Matt Fredericks

Led by Deborah Wiltrout, Wiltrout Marketing consists of seasoned marketing professionals, all of whom have significant experience working on or with in-house institutional marketing departments. If you or members of your team have not yet created a higher-ed brand from the ground up, rest easy. We’ll guide you through the process and supply any talent needed to help you along the way.

Access to the very best freelancers & consultants.

Based on your needs we can supplement your team with some of the best freelancers and consultants in the industry including researchers, writers, designers, photographers, videographers, web designers, media buyers, event planners and PR specialists. With this approach, you pay for only the services you need, saving your budget for the campaign’s deployment.

Deborah Wiltrout Brand Coach

Experienced higher ed marketing professional. Strategic thinker. Brand guru. Creative mentor. Team lead on UMD’s Fear the Turtle and American University’s WONK brand campaigns. Emmy winner. Multiple CASE Grand Gold winner. Institutional cheerleader. And now, brand coach for hire.

Deborah Wiltrout - Brand CoachAfter spending six years with an award-winning advertising agency and the last 12 on the “inside” of higher education marketing, Deb Wiltrout decided to set out on her own. During that time, she helped create three institutional brand campaigns, which have become some the most recognized brand campaigns in the industry. As a former AVP of Marketing she understands the diversity, complexity and budget realities of the higher education landscape. She also knows that there are many colleges and universities who need to create memorable brand campaigns for their institutions, but either can’t afford to hire a quality, full-service agency to do it, or don’t have the bandwidth to undertake the effort on their own.

Deb’s focus is on the in-house team—involving them in the creative process, coaching them to think more like an agency, guiding them to create an authentic brand for the university and then, once the campaign rolls out, stepping back and letting them run things on their own (providing guidance, as needed, in the future).

This approach has worked in the past. Deb has led two successful and highly visible higher ed branding initiatives, creating the Fear the Turtle campaign for the University of Maryland and the WONK campaign for American University. In both instances, she took in-house teams and turned them into in-house agencies producing campaigns that were the envy of higher education and recognized with industry awards, including an Emmy, Addys, Tellys, CASE Circle of Excellence awards at the highest level, and AMA Top Marketer of Year (2012). Now, she’s available to bring that knowledge and expertise to you.

Tierney Sadler Conceptual Wordsmith

Tierney Sadler - Conceptual WordsmithTierney Sadler is an award-winning free-lance copywriter with a decade of advertising agency experience and more than 15 years servicing her own clients in the institutional, corporate and consumer marketplaces. She has intimate knowledge of higher-ed branding and creative execution, having worked alongside in-house teams to create the University of Maryland’s Fear the Turtle brand and the WONK brand for American University. Together with Deb, she helps your team build their creative and conceptual muscles, then provides copywriting services and creative guidance as needed throughout campaign deployment.


Natalie Taylor Design Wonk

Natalie Tayler - Design WONKNatalie is an award-winning designer and art director specializing in publication design, advertising, art direction, conceptual thinking, and project management.

Prior collaboration with Deborah and Tierney includes art direction for the WONK campaign during her 5 years at American University. A part of the brand team from the start, she shaped the visual direction of the campaign including coming up with those provocative headless images that really made the campaign stand out.

Natalie also works with a local non-profit, where she is responsible for the overall visual direction and design of the organization’s print and digital materials. Prior to that, she worked as a senior art director at The Savannah College of Art and Design, where she led a team of designers in the school’s publications department. She has also worked as a designer for Travel Channel, working on a variety of on-air and web campaigns.

Over the years, her work has received numerous accolades from design and photography organizations. Natalie is a member of the Art Directors Club of Metropolitan Washington (ADCMW) and The American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA).

Natalie received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Corcoran College of Art and Design. She resides in Washington, DC.