The WSJ ran a story about the trend to hire marketing departments in response to the new competition. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444233104577591171686709792.html Ok, sure, but don’t you need first to think about how your product might be different or special? At the moment, we are all pretty much offering the same 4-year 120 degrees with the same majors. What’s to market? “We’re the same, only better!?” This is an opportunity to start a new conversation about both value and distinctiveness. Maybe your dorms are better or your rock wall is higher, but our students learn job skills, or have a broader education, or maybe our programs are three years or five years, or more geared to our local population? The marketing teams will have a hard time until we start to think more carefully about our individual value.
I’m actually for marketing here. I think it is a chance to tell folks about what you do, but i think that generic branding is pointless. It will work for state U pride–“be true to your state.” And let’s be honest, most schools already have a marketing department–it is called an athletics program, and it works.
When you win, applications go up. (When Georgetown won the NCAA Basketball tournaments, it got a huge boost in applications, but so did George washington U and George Mason U. Think about it.
If we are really going to put new labels on our cans, we had better stop and think about what is IN the can. This can be a good thing. Let’s think about what we do that is distinctive, but let’s also make sure we DELIVER as promised. What’s in your can?