An updated version of this article was published in October, Click here to view the article: Eight steps for creating a college marketing and communication plan. And with so many electronic communication tools available, do traditional marketing methods still have relevance today? To answer the last question first, campus marketing may be more important than ever. While new marketing methods and communication technologies need to be integrated into campus campaigns, traditional marketing methods still provide a lot of value when used properly.
Strong marketing and communication plans begin with an understanding of the institutional image and brand. Branding is generally an institutionwide initiative that involves university relations and enrollment management at the very least and should also be part of institutional strategic planning initiatives or discussions. While branding includes the development of consistent, uniform visual images i.
Branding is what an institution is known for or wants to be known for—what makes it unique and distinctive. For branding to be effective in new student recruitment, an institution must continually assess how to deliver on the promise of its brand. Messaging involves the expression of key strengths that speak to the institution brand and may include some targeted messages for selected audiences.
Messaging helps to translate why the brand has value for the audience. Unfortunately, many colleges miss the mark when it comes to selling value. The focus of the key messages tends to be more about the atmosphere of campus student life, religious affiliation, facilities, for example than on the actual product—the academic experience and related outcomes.
Once the key messages have been identified, the challenging task of communicating them to prospective students and their families begins.
One common misperception is that marketing ends when a student is admitted. This is a mistake, especially with students able and willing to apply to more institutions than they did before the advent of online applications and the common application. Effective communication plans should be integrated with the recruitment process, begin at the prospective student stage, and continue until the student is enrolled.
Even after students have made a deposit, keep communicating with them and creating compelling reasons for them to see their enrollment all the way through. Marketing plans differ from institution to institution, but here are seven strategies that can help campuses build strong, effective marketing efforts:. Create a five- to seven-piece communication flow that builds and sustains interest in the institution.
Build messaging around the marketing of specific academic programs and the results of those programs in terms of job and graduate school placements, faculty as teachers, and faculty who take time to help students.
Specific tactics could include developing Web and print collateral that contain information on the program and its points of difference. Enhance the Web presence, including the development of compelling pages that speak to the quality of academic programs and information on affordability.
This should include a scholarship and tuition net cost calculator. This should include messages to prospective students that outline next steps in the enrollment process and reinforce their decision to attend. Increase the number of inquiries with e-mail addresses and implement an outbound electronic correspondence system designed to augment and enhance direct mail communications. As you can see in this graphic here , the number has been on the rise across all institution types.
Those numbers have increased every year that Noel-Levitz has asked that question click here to see the trend. What marketing and communication mix is right for your campus?
That can be a daunting question for many institutions. Just remember to keep communicating, keep targeting, and keep doing everything you can to connect with students and build a relationship with them through your marketing and communications.
What about testimonials by alumni? Do you think their active interaction with the prospective students can have any impact on students enrollment? I know that normally alumni are not that very keen or easily approachable. However, in my experience as Registrar, I think if electronic access to alumni is also advertised with the other marketing material printed and electronic , this will enable the prospective students to TALK to the person who has experienced whatever Institute is saying it has or it does.
Awesome topic and so important! Just use the pros of both and design a marketing plan that has the most impact. Keep targeting and know your USP! Thanks for sharing your insights and valuable experience Sarah. This was very informative and you gave great advice. I really like the seven steps that you gave which is practical and can be followed through easily.
What you guys think? Ambreen, I agree with your suggestion to have alumni give testimonials. I work in an Enrollment Department and recently while talking to a prospective students that was one of the questions she asked about persons who are in the programme or who have completed.
Are there any examples of institutions you think are doing a great job at 3 — enhancing their web presence and 4 — communicating out a plan? Your information is very effective but the issuse is if collage dnt have good infrastructure but have good teachers faculty but students have one issue with infrastructure all the activities are also be taken but bcz of infrastructure issues students think two times to take admission this is the challenging for marketors to get students we have some stratieges but if u can help it would be great help if u can?
Your email address will not be published. How can you reach students more effectively with your campus marketing? Sarah Coen offers nearly two decades of experience in student recruitment and retention. She is especially adept at developing and implementing comprehensive plans for managing enrollment and tuition revenue, and at applying predictive modeling toward enrollment management.
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