Abra Teaching Marketing At Bergin University

Abra Marketing, Santa Rosa Marketing Agency Update

By Kurt Hoffmann, Abra Founder and Creative Director.

I’m excited to announce that I’ve been hired to teach Marketing for the Spring 2018 Semester at Bergin University. A lot of people have not heard of Bergin so I’ll start with that. It’s actually a pretty cool story.

About Bergin University

Bergen University is located in Rohnert Park. Interestingly, Bergin is right around the corner from my first job when I moved to Sonoma County in 1998, working as Marketing Director for an independent record label. Bergin University was founded in 1991 as the Bonnie Bergin Assistance Dog Institute. It has been known as Bergin University of Canine Studies since 2007.

SEO Agency In Santa Rosa

Abra Marketing founder Kurt Hoffmann will be teaching Marketing at Bergin University this semester. Bergin trains students to work in the Service Dog industry, which was pioneered in Sonoma County by Dr. Bonnie Bergin. Special Note: one thing I’ve learned at Bergin is that if you see someone with a service dog, proper etiquette is to ask them first before approaching or interacting with the dog.

The school was started by Bonnie Bergin who pioneered the concept of the “Service Dog” here in Sonoma County in the 1970s. It began when she was a student at Sonoma State University. Her class was challenged by a professor to identify solutions to help those with disabilities. At the time, people with disabilities were often institutionalized.

During her travels to other countries, Dr. Bergin had seen people with disabilities using animals to help them. Inspired by this, Bonnie began proposing the concept of using dogs. While her idea was originally met with skepticism, it has since flourished and been expanded to use service dogs to help a wide range of people from the disabled to elderly to prisoners, etc.

There is a good, more detailed version of Dr. Bergin’s story starting in the 4th paragraph of this North Bay Business Journal article. I’m personally appreciative to now be a part of Bergin’s mission because I have a sister who is developmentally disabled.

The Importance of Fundamentals

The focus of my class is going to be the fundamentals of marketing, starting with answering the question: What is Marketing? My primary goal of the course is to provide the solid framework that we use at Abra to understand and evaluate the wide range of marketing challenges we face every day. I have worked in marketing since 1989 and it is constantly changing. But no matter what comes along, the fundamental principles of marketing never change. This is what has helped Abra Marketing be successful whether we are developing branding, managing SEO, social media, an online campaign – or any of the many other types of marketing projects we complete. Everything we do rises from the foundation of a solid marketing strategy and process.

We Learn from Teaching

One of the benefits of teaching this class is that I’m learning as well. I have been learning and applying many of these marketing concepts since 1989. Taking a marketing concept and preparing a class around it is a great exercise to fine-tune your own understanding of that concept. It helps you process and determine what the important elements are of what we do as marketers as topics are distilled down to hour-long lessons.

I also have learned from the feedback I get from the students as I present concepts. I have only prepared and taught two classes so far, and it has been incredibly enlightening. I expect to grow tremendously over the course of the semester.

A Good Thing for Abra Marketing and the Clients We Serve

Marketing Agency In Santa Rosa

Teaching Marketing at Bergin will have multiple benefits for Abra and our clients: Improving our training and development program, going through the process of distilling 29 years of marketing experience, and spending a lot of quality time with Marketing Fundamentals. Another benefit of working at Bergin? Puppies!

Universities have rigorous requirements for ongoing education and professional development. One of the benefits of this job will be having a framework to maintain these standards.

Since starting Abra Marketing in 1999, I have always made ongoing education, training and professional development a priority. Early on I invested time and funds regularly into a range of industry-leading publications, books, websites, memberships, conferences and other educational events.

The agency also created internal projects to expand our skills. The agency was propelled greatly by these activities. In particular we were greatly inspired by the many conferences the team would attend each year in the Bay area which helped us keep on the cutting edge of web and marketing technologies.

Being exposed to this more formal process in the University setting has motivated me to improve Abra’s investment into team development through a more established framework.

This combined with the deep-dive I’m taking into reprocessing 29 years of marketing experience into new refined content should make the coming year very rewarding for the Abra Marketing team and our clients!


Abra Marketing is Sonoma County digital marketing agency based in Santa Rosa, California. Since 1999, we have served a wide range of clients with marketing services ranging such as graphic design, SEO, website design and more.