Marketing and Communications plan
Note: This blog includes ideas and strategies provided by my colleagues at Noel-Levitz.
As student search behavior has shifted from the traditional funnel to a much more chaotic, anonymous “secret shopper” model, campuses may be unsure how to adapt their marketing plans to keep up with this change. And with so many electronic communication tools available, do traditional marketing methods still have relevance today? In fact, is “marketing” still a vital part of student recruitment?
To answer the last question first, campus marketing may be more important than ever. With more students applying and more competition from other colleges and universities, strategic marketing can make an institution stand out from its competition and put it in a strong position when prospective students do make contact. 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.e., logo, standard colors, and fonts) and often a phrase or tag line, it is much more. 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. For example, if a brand communicates “student success is our business, ” then graduation rates must be well above average, retention initiatives must permeate institutional planning priorities, and alumni successes must be well tracked and documented.
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.
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And how come most of the firms are in LA or NY, but not here in San Francisco? Another reason why I feel that I should move from the Bay Area is because it might be better to go to school in LA, NY or other American cities that are media production hubs (or will be in the next few years).
I spoke with my friends who are recent graduates from San Francisco State's BECA program, and they tell me that only TV news stations are interested in hiring them. What the hell? I thought broadcast TV was one of those fields that could be applied to a variety of industries, such as the media development for a corporation or the music video industry.
Advertising/Digital/Media Professionals — Bizcommunity.com
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