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Boldness and magic in education marketing

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.

— Goethe

The US-based public relations agency MSLGROUP has a nice summary post of the 22nd Annual AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education in Chicago. The piece has a number of important observations from the AMA symposium, including two that really jumped out for us.

First, the changing role of marketing in higher education and, in particular, an increasing shift from tactical to strategic concerns. “Gone are the days of a client service model within marketing or as one speaker dubbed ‘an in-house Kinko’s’ pumping out marketing collateral, logos and taglines like an unstoppable machine. Rather, today’s marketers are driving transformative change within their organizations and leading strategic communications through rebranding efforts.”

This recalls an excellent article last year on Inside Higher Education that we highly recommend. “5 Marketing Questions” poses five key strategic challenges for educational marketers with respect to brand, goals, risk tolerance, and the role of marketing within educational institutions. For example, “If you can’t articulate and prove what makes your institution ‘excellent,’ clearly and succinctly, you’ll never be able to develop an effective marketing plan.”

MLSGROUP’s AMA summary also speaks to the importance of boldness in marketing strategy. “One of the bright spots I noticed at the conference was hearing about the schools that have taken big risks and reaped bigger rewards due to their marketing campaigns. This was particularly evident in discussions around [a successful real-world example focused on] one-to-one marketing in student search.

Building a highly-customized communications approach with students to pull them in to participate in a dialogue rather than push out content led to an increased response rate, lowered costs and data-driven decision-making. The campaign incorporated video and personalized prospective student URLs that evoked humor, organizational personality and ‘edginess’ and was worth the risk. As stated [by one panelist], ‘what do you have to lose?’”

Please see the complete post from MLSGROUP on the MLS Chicago blog: “Higher Education Marketers Are Changing the Game.”

Sources: MLSGROUP, Inside Higher Education

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