Higher education marketing questions for 2012… final 4 makes 8

Higher education marketing questions… don’t be “tone deaf” to change

Last week I started this two-part series with four marketing questions that many if not most higher education institutions are facing in 2012. If you haven’t already read them, you can skip back to them now or read these first. The presentation order isn’t meant to signify importance. Different people will find different questions most relevant to their marketing success in 2012.

Here are the “final four” for 2012:
Increasing pressure to change “business as usual” to reduce costs is reflected in
newspaper editorials questioning the value of a college degree,
especially if high debt is needed to earn one. Marketing advantage will go to
the schools that respond to this.
How many schools will add lower cost options to earn a bachelor’s degree to their strategic planning?
community colleges will seek to offer bachelor’s degrees at their low price point as part of
their community service mission. Will public universities oppose bachelor’s degrees at community colleges as some
have done in the past?

education in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors faces new scrutiny over
degree completion and employment rates for their students. How important will “outcome” criteria become in college choice decisions?

Claims of commitment to
“academic excellence” and “education of the whole person” are meaningless
unless supported by clear benefits for potential students. Reality marketing is more important in our social media world than ever before. Will
higher education marketing drop picture perfect “We are Disney World” marketing
images and stories from view books and websites?

Moving into the future…

Answers to these questions move us beyond the usual issues of brand strategy and recruitment tactics. In the next 5 to 10 years we will see major transformations in the way people are educated and the way they educate themselves. 

The expansion of online learning by MIT and Stanford University continues to challenge traditional educational delivery methods by legitimizing a more flexible, self-paced learning style delivered with lower cost for physical facilities and student service support systems. Expect this style to spread more rapidly each year, even to the most residential of campuses.

Take the marketing pledge… help the “tone deaf” on your campus in 2012

Your next step? Start discussing the higher education marketing questions that are most important to your school and what answers you’ll need to survive and thrive in 2012 and beyond. No easy solutions here. But higher education marketers should do their best to see that “tone deaf” to change is not a term that anyone uses to describe high level leaders on their campus.

That’s all for now. 

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