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Strategic Planning Checklist: Tips for Higher Ed Marketing Teams

Marianne Sipe

Marianne Sipe

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Strategic planning is crucial but can sometimes feel arduous. Coordinating and selecting a team of key people who can contribute in a meaningful way is sometimes difficult, and marketing is often overlooked.

But why? Marketing is one of the few departments with a 30,000-foot view across campus. Marketing is involved in the full enrollment scope, from recruitment to graduation, alumni engagement, and foundation relationships. The robust role of marketing provides unique perspectives and talking points for developing a strategic plan.

There is potential to knock the KPIs for the institution out of the ballpark with marketing and communications incorporated into the plan from the beginning. If the strategic plan and financial support does not include these metrics with marketing and communications, the plan is vanilla at best.

Take inventory of past goals and processes and ask whether marketing and communications was involved. If they weren’t, why not? And if they were, what metrics did they contribute to? Review the goals and KPIs for the institution and confirm whether your plan covers the three phases of a student’s lifecycle: 

  • Attracting the right student  
  • Retaining and completing students 
  • Engaging alumni and converting them to donors 

We have provided a checklist with this blog to use as a tool for creating your strategic planning team. Use the document with a marketing lens and see how the right team can inform a robust, actionable strategic plan.

Get Your Free Checklist

Start your strategic planning session off right—and give marketing a seat at the table—with this strategic planning checklist.

Successful Implementation Starts with Data

Providing data to the conversation helps the implementation along—remember to include marketing data. Reviewing the potential market for growth is a path toward prioritizing programs your institution should maintain and promote. Additionally, ask for numbers that produce historical data about the yield on leads to inquiries, inquiries to applicants, and applicants to matriculation for review. This also helps provide a holistic view of the institutional numbers outside the traditional data sets of IPEDS, applicants numbers, and completion rates.

If your college does not have these data sets, Stamats can help with research and provide insight to potential markets for programs and demographics of potential recruits. And of course, marketing and communications has a unique perspective to ensure a robust and accurate strategic plan reflects the institution.

Want to learn more on how to incorporate marketing and communications into enrollment efforts? Email me to talk about your challenges and goals.

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