How higher ed can lower marketing costs

February 26, 2008 at 9:21 pm 4 comments

Judi Schindler

Institutions of higher learning typically benefit from a weak economy because unemployed workers are often forced back to school to learn new skills. With the current credit crunch, that may not be true this time around. According to recent press coverage in the Chicago Tribune and on MarketWatch, students who want to take out a loan to finance advanced education are encountering high interest rates or failing to qualify. Financing also has dried up for currently enrolled students.

That means lower enrollments for universities, colleges and trade schools, which are now scrambling to cut costs. Unfortunately, one place where most of the chopping occurs appears to be the marketing budget.

We all understand the need to trim. But the paring needs to be done with a scalpel, not an axe. And those wielding the sharp instruments should scrutinize the ROI of each item. Rather than simply reducing high-cost advertising and direct marketing campaigns, they may want to consider beefing up lower cost, targeted public relations and social marketing efforts.

Some ideas:

  1. Develop career and job placement stories for monster.com, careerbuilder.com and other Web sites geared to job seekers.
  2. Place feature stories on students or recent graduates in their hometown newspapers.
  3. Develop a career blog for each educational program and encourage contributors to promote their postings on their MySpace and Facebook profiles.
  4. Gain local visibility by inviting area residents and businesses to attend school performances, exhibits and lectures.
  5. Gain industry visibility by inviting a local company to sponsor a student, academic or career-focused competition.
  6. Develop a speakers’ bureau for your faculty and actively market these speakers for industry and chamber events.
  7. Look for opportunities for faculty and administrators to write bylined articles and/or op-ed pieces.

While such ideas are comparatively low cost, they do take time and effort to execute well.

It is easy to just hack away at the budget. But when you simply reduce spending, you also reduce your returns. In the long run, a more strategic approach that calls for reallocating part of the budget to new, creative initiatives will pay off in bigger dividends.

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Entry filed under: Advertising, Marketing Strategy, Public Relations.

Monster Cable response to blog post is scary PR’s world: bad writing, bad pitching and PO’d journalists

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jason Whitmen  |  February 26, 2008 at 10:00 pm

    I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

    Jason Whitmen

    Reply
  • 2. Chris Tackett  |  February 26, 2008 at 10:37 pm

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Chris Tackett

    Reply
  • 3. MySpace Adder  |  March 20, 2008 at 5:27 am

    …wrote that it’s a buzzkill and/or basically pain in the butt to get this kind of stuff the way you want it. Honestly, I agree. Here’s what you can do though:

    Reply
  • 4. Zipper  |  March 22, 2008 at 1:05 am

    Oh! Great job!
    Very good and useful post.
    Thx, your blog in my RSS reader now
    We’ll expect many new interesting posts from you 😉

    Reply

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