Making the Case for Marketing in Higher Education

Stamats Insights

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Spring is in the air—the time of year when many colleges and universities are formulating and finalizing their budgets. And for marketing teams, now is a perfect opportunity to shine a brighter light on what you do, the results you produce, and value you bring to the table.

In short, it’s time for marketing writ large—a moment to reposition marketing in the hearts and minds of university leadership as an active and dynamic revenue-generator instead of merely a line item expense. Sound like a tall order? It doesn’t have to be. Here are five best practices to make the case for marketing at your school:

  1. Align your marketing plan with institutional goals: Institutional objectives drive marketing plans, not the other way around. Think of it this way: Institutional goals are the destination. Your marketing strategy is the roadmap; and every tactic you employ is a highway, byway, or exit. From start to finish, make sure your marketing plan reflects the most efficient route possible.
  2. Monitor and measure: To prove its effectiveness, every marketing initiative you undertake must be measureable. Make sure a portion of your budget is earmarked for tracking key performance indicators such as number of site visits and page views, click-through rates, inquiry volume, etc. Besides allowing you to make tactical adjustments in real-time, analytics document the success of your efforts and help inform future activities.
  3. Strengthen your relationship with recruitment and enrollment: In highly stratified environments, it’s easy for people to forget that they’re part of a collective effort. Since the role of every college and university marketing department is to support recruitment and enrollment, foster a symbiotic relationship with those teams. Dynamic collaboration improves results and shows that marketing isn’t a stand-alone service; it’s an essential component of a well-run and effective institution.
  4. Deepen your insight and spread the knowledge: As marketers, we’re charged with a set of profound duties: to stay curious about our audiences, listen to their needs, and share insights and discoveries with the institutions we serve. Don’t let valuable research get bottlenecked. Engage leadership and share relevant results from focus groups, surveys, and group interviews. Even better, brainstorm ways other departments might apply new information and benefit from it.
  5. Showcase your successes: All too often, marketers’ promotional expertise ends at their own office doors. Forget modesty. Tout your team’s hard-won successes and don’t hesitate to show how your programs engage prospective students, drive revenue, and directly benefit the bottom line.

Like you, Stamats understands the transformative power of marketing. Every day, we help colleges and universities drive value by delivering research-driven strategic, creative, and communication solutions—solutions that prove themselves through measureable results. For more information on our full suite of services, please call me directly at 319-861-5146 or email [email protected].

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