Marketing That Builds Relationships

A marketing program becomes integrated when people from every campus division (each “silo”) are part of its planning and implementation. Seems simple enough in theory, but in practice, well… not so much.  

But, it is getting better! We’ve developed best practices in educational marketing and communications and have year-to-year comparisons on which to build continued success.

Here’s some tips to be shared campus-wide–not just for members of the marketing team–to use if you are ready to build, and sustain, an integrated marketing program.

The key difference between today’s marketing environment and yesterday’s is the degree to which you must accommodate the audience’s point of view.

Base your decision on whether or not to invest in producing any content on the degree to which it will resonate with a specific targeted audience. If you don’t have personas for each segment of your prospective students and their influencers–and for alumni, donors, and the media you wish to engage–then stop everything and get the personas established.

Don’t try to “sell” the institution, rather, craft your content so that it will activate a relationship (or enhance an existing one) with a specific audience at each stage of that persona’s “buyer’s journey.” (For admissions marketing, the journey tracks along the major stages of the admissions funnel.) Deploy the appropriate content at the right point in the journey across every form of media possible (paid, shared, owned, and earned) and through personal communications.

Can your in-house marketing team do all this internally? Maybe, if it’s really large, and it includes experienced digital media buyers. If yours doesn’t, we recommend against it. (Of course, a marketing consultant would say that!) Seriously, we’ve earned the trust of our clients because, together, we achieve results. We help them adopt new practices and processes that maximize their capabilities while incorporating additional services that most in-house teams would not ever be able to take on.

The most successful marketing programs we’ve seen evolve over time, with the internal team taking on more responsibility every year. 

There are so many tactics out there related to brand and marketing. Where does one begin?

There are indeed a plethora of products, apps, CRMs, and consultants out there today. And so many of them are terrific. The challenge is to select the right ones for your institution that provide a long-term return on the investment of time and money they require.

We’ve worked with independent schools and colleges of all sizes, keeping our eye one the big picture and on how any one tactic or initiative fits into your team’s structure and budget. 

Ask us how the Cognitive team can custom-fit our services to wherever your institution may be in achieving its brand, recruitment, and advancement marketing goals.

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