Oct 25, 2011

What Marketers can do for Teachers The concept of colleges and universities treating students like consumers isn’t new; in fact, the debate has been going on for some time in business schools all over the country. But for other academic programs, taking a marketing approach to education has been slow to catch on. Is there value in adopting a marketing mentality for teaching techniques? What can higher education learn from marketing experts? Branding College athletic departments learned this lesson decades ago, and their academic counterparts are starting to catch up: a strong and recognizable brand inspires loyalty. Even for colleges and universities with weak-to-middling sports teams, students and alumni tend to be proud of their teams and, by extension, their schools. Advertising has becoming an effective way to get students and their families interested in enrolling at various schools; in addition to attracting students, marketing can help change the perception of the school for current students as well. A 2008 article in Business Week breaks down how several large universities used marketing and advertising to reshape their public image. Since student retention is a major issue for colleges and universities, the goal isn’t just to get students to enroll—it’s getting those students to stay and graduate. Results While the traditional college experience is important to many students, others are focused on the ends rather than the means during their academic careers. And with so many working adults returning to college, an old-fashioned college campus experience seems more like a distraction than a selling point. In response, colleges and universities are offering online degree programs and distance learning opportunities that allow working students to earn a degree on their ownterms. Likewise, instructors for these programs are becoming more tech savvy, conducting office hours online or in chat rooms. As the Internet becomes more integral in the lives of college students, schools are shaping their programs to appeal to non-traditional students, a demographic that continues to grow. Experience In the competitive world of academics, having a decent reputation isn’t enough—col leges and universities must prove that their programs are run by leaders of their fields. An important element of this type of advertising involves securing faculty members with experience in research, which can lend the department and the school a kind of prestige. Faculty members with successful careers outside of academia, such as law or business, can also be attractive to students. This approach can give students and their families a sense of security; faculty with successful professional careers outside of a university setting can give their students a more practical education, and prepare them for the “real world.” As the landscape of higher education continues change, colleges and universities are learning to adjust. A large part of that adjustment must include finding ways to draw and retain students; it also involves giving students several alternatives to the once-rigid four-year, campus-centric degree program. From advertising to alumni relations, using marketing tactics are helping schools become more competitive. The result doesn’t always translate to a bigger student body, but...
Three Facts about Online Privacy The next interview on The Engaging Brand podcast is about online privacy with Terence Craig - co author of Privacy and Big Data. A topic I think is a growing concern and an area which we need to consider more and more.... Ahead of the show Terence has shared with us 3 facts about online privacy which we should all know 1. What happens in Vegas should stay in Vegas is a well know phrase and the Internet corollary is: What happens on the Web STAYS on the Web (forever). Even if you trust the company you are sharing your information with, do you trust the person that buys your data from them, or the company they merge with, the government agency that serves them with a warrant, or the 14 year old that hacks their server? So keep it simple: Don’t share data that you are not comfortable with being public. 2. Don’t assume that local laws will protect your privacy – privacy laws differ markedly and which laws that apply to your data is a guessing game. Bottom line: the intersection of local and international privacy laws almost never leads to more privacy. 3. Remember the positive – while it’s true that our lives are becoming a much more open book, it is also true that the actions of large corporations and governments are becoming more transparent as well. I firmly believe that this increased transparency will help the 21st century avoid some of the horrors of the 20th by ensuring that we know what is being done in our name. If you have any question for Terence on privacy which concern you both as an individual or as a supplier then you can email big-privacy@patternbuilders.com or @terencecraig.

Anna Farmery

Social Marketing Architect, Speaker, Author and in spare time completing PhD on the future of the social business model

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