Student Organization Marketing Guidebook Rozet 1 Student Organization Marketing GuidebookJason RozetWebsite jasonrozet.com Email email@example.comLinkedIn linkedin.com/in/jasonrozetTwitter twitter.com/jasonrozetSummaryThis document is meant to serve as an overview of (nearly) all the different marketing platformsavailable at a college/university. It can be used as a resource and guide for student organizationsaiming to optimize their marketing efforts, or even simply to make sure that all bases have beencovered. In this way, the guide can double as a checklist to ensure that marketing methods havenot been overlooked.It may act as a shortcut, but readers should strive to learn continuously through coursework,internships, industry trades and so on.The recommendations offered here are not hard and fast rules, but guidelines based on mypersonal experiences in coursework, student organizations, internships, employment andconsulting, and a wide variety of readings. Recommendations are also informed by my successes,mistakes and observations.Specific sources, examples, articles, etc. are not cited unless deemed necessary. If you havequestions/disagreement/curiosity about a topic or recommendation, feel free to contact me! I’llgladly respond to any inquiries.Executive board members and students in marketing roles vary in several aspects. Knowledge ofmarketing. Confidence in their knowledge. Confidence in themselves. Some feel like they knowwhat they’re doing, others don’t. All of this with a million things happening simultaneously. Thereality is that marketing often does not feel intuitive. So whether you are a first-year Sociologymajor stepping into a marketing role, or a senior IMC major and the president of an organization,I urge you to read this guidebook in its entirety and keep an open mind. It will go a long way!Lastly, please don’t read through this document in one sitting. I’ve tried to make it as concise aspossible, but it might be long-winded and overwhelming all at once.ConnectAgain, feel free to connect, email, tweet, or get in touch with me in any way. Whether you’re anindividual student working on your personal brand / trying to learn more, or a studentorganization trying to improve / working on a campaign, I’m here to help.
Student Organization Marketing Guidebook Rozet 2 Table of Contents1. Evaluation of what has been done in the past 32. Logo or theme 33. Research 4 – 64. Marketing Methods and Strategy 7 – 15• Print 7 – 8• Online 8 – 11• Measuring social media ROI 11 – 12• Direct 12 – 13• Interactive 13 – 155. Results: Evaluating Effectiveness 16 – 176. Recap 177. Extra Tips 178. Conclusion 189. Sampling Marketing Campaign Template/Checklist 19
Student Organization Marketing Guidebook Rozet 3 1. Evaluation of what has been done in the pastWhere has the organization been? Where is it going?Before starting to plan for a rush night, event, or just about anything, it is important to first take astep back and look at the big picture. If the success of previous efforts is not evaluated from theoutset, then the organization will be more likely to repeat previous mistakes and failures.Evaluating what has been done in the past creates a benchmark for current and future efforts – abar to set higher and things to improve.Consider:• Previous event/meeting attendance figures• Previous membership application figures• Quotes from previous attendants/participants/members• Previous logos, themes, advertisements• Benchmark against other student organizations at your college/university• Benchmark against similar student organizations at other colleges and universitiesBasically, everything that has happened before you began to read this.2. Logo or themeWithout a logo, a student organization may find it difficult to distinguish itself apart from others.Online and in other media, students tend to gloss over organizations that use a group photo orsomething other than a logo as identification. However, a logo isn’t enough by itself to createawareness of an organization. Also, a logo is not a brand by itself - it is just one small part.Consistent colors, imagery and some kind of theme are necessary for defining the organization.For online social media profiles, organizations should have a matching or slightly differentprofile picture/avatar on all accounts.Internal brand management may be facilitated through the development of a brand manual thatlays out technical standards for usage of the organization’s name, logo and other imagery. Forexamples, search online and look at the branding standards of your college/university. Majorbrands have similar documents. On the external side, a press kit could be created so that when anorganization is a sponsor or part of an event, it will be easy for partners to find and use itslogo/other images.For events in particular, it is highly important to consider the nature of the event. Themed events,seminars, webinars, workshops, classes, conferences and learning sessions – they all have adifferent purpose and target audience. Marketing methods that work well for one event might failcompletely if used for another.
Student Organization Marketing Guidebook Rozet 4 3. ResearchAs touched upon in section 1, it is important to benchmark against similar student organizationsat your college/university and others. A simple search online can yield tons of insight into whatothers have already done – ensuring that you don’t repeat what has failed in the past, and onlyimprove!Target AudienceResearch includes establishing different target audiences. For example, an organization may tryto target students for an event who are different from its general body members. It is necessary todetermine the specific target audience whenever an activity includes a group of people. This is an“ideal profile” of the types of students that are expected to attend a rush night, event, generalbody meeting, and other functions.The creation of a target audience starts at a broad classification, such as class year (2012, 2013,2014 etc.) or academic school (School of Business, School of Music, etc.). At the broadest level,it includes all students on campus before drilling down. Once these factors are combined withdemographics and interests, the target audience becomes clearer. Evaluation of what has beendone in the past, benchmarking against similar organizations on campus and other schools, andrecent feedback will also beneficial.If a target audience is not established, then it will be difficult to assess whether the studentorganization has been successful in gaining new members, increasing event attendance, and soon. A spaghetti-on-the-wall approach won’t work – in reality, there may only be 15 students oncampus that would even be interested in your organization (in an extreme example), but thiswouldn’t be evident without doing some form of research. If this were the case, you could end upputting work into something a very small number of students would be interested in.A population that could be difficult to reach or specifically identify. The list of issues goes on.MetricsTo put things in perspective, let’s do some very simple math. The total number of undergraduatestudents at Ithaca College is approximately 6,000 from year to year. Of that total, each class(first-years, sophomores, juniors, seniors) is comprised of approximately 1,400 to 1,500 students.These numbers also vary from year to year. An unknown combination of these students willbecome members of student organizations and attend events; the executive board is responsiblefor guesstimating these numbers (the items in point 1 would help). With these numbers availableas a foundation, there is no excuse for lack of measurement.Put another way, the total population of Ithaca College students trickles down in a funnel orinverted pyramid shape. This plays out for every meeting, event – any type of function thatdemands student participation – and ends up as the final number of students in attendance. Takea look at the following example:
Student Organization Marketing Guidebook Rozet 5 Lead GenerationA lead is someone who is more likely to convert to being a participant of your organization’sfunctions in some way – donating, volunteering, attending, whatever the case may be.Leads are converted into active participants through all interactions with the student organization.This includes their impressions of the organization’s Facebook page, Twitter profile, studentorganization fair table, and more. The organization’s executive board should determine how suchaspects of the organization affect potential new members. There should be a strategy in place thatoutlines how prospects are driven to participate through online and offline channels.For example, when leads stumble upon one of the organization’s online profiles, they might readthe description and see some photos or posts. Then what happens? This next step – the pointwhere students explore further or go do something else – is what the organization’s board shouldcreate a flowchart for. There should be an answer, in some format, for this question. Alltouchpoints between the student and organization should be outlined. Ideally, students should beled to a site or service through which they can submit their contact information. In this way, theorganization can remarket to them and form a stronger relationship. But there are a variety ofmethods for forming relationships.Leads are nurtured and eventually become active members by feeling valued or gaining interestthrough continuous engagement. Organizations should try to spark the development of arelationship with every new prospect. Specifically, every target prospect. Their contactinformation should be confirmed and maintained periodically. If students ask to be unsubscribedfrom a listserv, judge the situation and ask why they would like to be removed. It can turn into adeeper discussion, after which they might reconsider involvement. Otherwise, remove them fromthe listserv immediately so that they don’t get annoyed – and tell others how annoyed they are.approximately 6,000 undergraduate students approximately 700 Business students approx. 150 Marketing students 40 join American Marketing Association / attend meeting
Student Organization Marketing Guidebook Rozet 6 Get students to opt-in and provide their information by tabling on campus and at events. Have aMicrosoft Excel spreadsheet or Google Document open with labels titled: Name, Class Standing,Previous Involvement, etc. Don’t use a paper sheet because you will have to re-type the detailsanyway and possibly read or type them wrong.Member RetentionPersonally invite students to events or meetings, and welcome them upon arrival. Re-engage oldopportunities – you should notice when previously active members have stopped attendingmeetings. Reach out to them and say that you missed them at a recent meeting, and invite themto future functions. Ask them why they are now less involved. If you don’t care about them,they won’t care about the organization. Don’t take your members for granted. Students canstay engaged as volunteers, or members of a street team. Provide some form of tangible benefitfor all active members.I strongly discourage point systems because they alienate and exclude older or experiencedmembers. Points are highly subjective and unnecessary – there are many other ways to rewardmembers. A point system skews engagement and your measurement of it; organization membersshould be there for everything but “points.” If you need points to generate involvement,something is wrong. For more on this topic, read Drive by Daniel Pink.A good rule of thumb is that it takes three to five times as much effort to acquire a new memberas it does to keep an existing one. Given that, all marketing and management methods should beused as tools to keep active members loyal and engaged. If students complain about yourorganization, don’t immediately go on the defensive. Hear them out, and then respondaccordingly. Don’t ignore negativity, because it will likely fester and make a small problembigger. Ask for suggestions on how to fix the problems people have. This simple action willoften quell the frustration, and in the meantime you can absorb the feedback and use it forimprovement. People often just want to be heard.Research has shown that if you take a stakeholder in a heightened state of concern, frustration oranger and help them somehow, they may actually become advocates of your brand. In otherwords, they might start promoting your brand to friends and strangers simply because youreached out to them or listened and helped them in a moment of need. Be more proactive thansimply responding once problems come to the surface. Delight and surprise your stakeholdersevery chance you get. And check-in a few weeks later to make sure things are still okay.
Student Organization Marketing Guidebook Rozet 7 4. Marketing Methods and StrategyThis section outlines methods that can be used to effectively reach different target audiences. It ishighly important to note that all methods should be used purposefully. Otherwise, the differentplatforms will post irrelevant content and turn off visitors. Structure your marketing plans so thatthey are channel neutral. Simply put, use different platforms because they are right for yourorganization, right for its brand, right for the message you are trying to convey, and right foryour target. Don’t use Facebook or Twitter just because they are “cool” or “everyone else isdoing it.” How would you justify your plan to a potential employer?Not all of the following methods described should be used by a student organization. It is notnecessary to use every single marketing method, or to try to advertise as much as possible – thatis very wasteful and inefficient. It is up to the executive board to evaluate the entire list ofoptions, and determine which combination of marketing methods will be most efficient andeffective.Print MarketingPrint mainly consists of posters and flyers that can go up around campus.Residence halls tend to have fewer posters than other campus buildings; because there is lessclutter, the student organization might choose to post only black and white posters (lessexpensive than full color posters).Bulletin boards in academic buildings are beneficial locations because they are very visible andhave a lot of traffic. For these reasons, they also get filled up quickly. Whether in full color orblack and white, posters must have an interesting or funny design in order to stand out from thesea of boring posters. Don’t rely on public, cluttered bulletin boards.Putting an advertisement in the campus newspaper is another form of marketing in print, thoughit can be hit or miss. Advertising this way can be very expensive, and even a great design mightgo unnoticed in black and white. On top of that, the organization’s target audience might not readthe publication, or the issue in which an advertisement was placed.Creating flyers to be placed as inserts in dining hall napkin dispensers can be an effective way totarget first-years, sophomores, and even some juniors. As with the other forms of print marketing,napkin dispenser inserts must be eye-catching and interesting or funny in order for students toactually read them. Play with the design and its relation to the dispenser’s format. Think ofreplacing the napkins with an extension of the image.Posters and flyers should include the student organization’s logo. Event posters should includethe date, location, time and contact information. These can be made clear without explicitlywriting “date:,” “location:,” “time:” anywhere – keep it simple. Depending on the nature of theposter, it might be necessary to include a standard disclaimer about attendees with disabilitiescontacting the organization to plan accommodations. This is a good practice to be inclusive.This clause is not necessary or mandatory for all marketing methods and advertisements (ex. ifyou are not advertising something for students to physically attend). However, do make sure to
Student Organization Marketing Guidebook Rozet 8 include the statement in your organization’s online profiles; organizations often tend to ignorethis and thereby exclude many potential recruits.Posters are one of the best methods of ensuring that at least some large group of students becameaware of the organization or its upcoming function. Students might not check their email or writedown Facebook event details, but a great hallway poster could stop them in their tracks.Online MarketingOnline marketing presents a wide variety of tools to connect with students.Student Organization websiteA website can serve as a hub for lots of content about the organization, including contactinformation, photo galleries, and more. This will make the organization more visible in searchresults as well.FacebookStudent organizations often (and quickly) turn to Facebook as a marketing tool, because thetarget audience is there. Organizations can create events, post status updates, connect withmembers, and much more. However, the site has become more cluttered over time. Students arenow often bombarded with many event invites at a time, and a lot of information is presented oneach page.For these and other reasons, Facebook does not ensure that students will receive communicationsor be active participants. Students might receive event invites and say they will attend, but this isnot guaranteed. They might become fans of a student organization’s profile, but this does notmean they will become active members.In determining usage of Facebook, a student organization first needs to determine whether it willcreate a Group or Page account. Each type of profile has important differences, which change asFacebook makes changes. Before creating an account, the organization should brainstorm thespecific ways it will use Facebook. If a Facebook account is created “just because,” then it willbe ineffective at the outset.TwitterTwitter is a great alternative or complement to a student organization’s marketing efforts,particularly a pre-existing Facebook account. With Facebook becoming more cluttered andconfusing, and other methods having their own drawbacks, Twitter has become a strongerplatform for connecting with engaged followers.As with any other marketing method, a potential Twitter account should be evaluated before itscreation. It should only be created if it will serve a purpose and specific target audience. If itwon’t help the organization or provide value to members, then there is no sense in creating it.
Student Organization Marketing Guidebook Rozet 9 Once a profile is created, it should immediately be customized. A stylish background design willconvey to visitors that the account is worth following. If it displays a boring background or oneof the defaults provided by Twitter, visitors will be much less interested. Students don’t want tofollow a generic account that is just getting off the ground. Within the brief biography, a linkshould be displayed that goes to a more fleshed out profile of the organization. This could be aFacebook account, website – whatever the executive board deems most appropriate. A niceredirect would be a location where students would be able to sign up for more information orjoin the organization roster.Brainstorm and finalize hashtag (#) ideas far in advance. Make sure they are short and simple totype, so that they take up as few characters as possible in tweets. Hashtags should be used inmoderation for maximum impact, and only when it is determined that students will be likely toactually use them.Twitterfall and similar websites can be used to display a real-time stream of tweets that use acertain hashtag. This is great for events with many participants that take place in larger venuessuch as Emerson Suites. Pay With a Tweet is a tool that can be used to spread awareness of anorganization or event when online or offline content is being given away. For example, anorganization could plan a giveaway in exchange for tweets.To determine whether the Twitter account is actually serving a purpose and providing value, theexecutive board must first select important metrics. Does the organization want to increase thenumber of followers, tweet replies, direct messages, a combination of those metrics or somethingelse? It is important to note that these numbers don’t have true meaning until the executive boardassigns it – tying it back to specific objectives.To put it in perspective, let’s do some math again. The total number of undergraduate students atIthaca College is approximately 6,000. Of that overall group, each class (first-years, sophomores,juniors, seniors) is comprised of approximately 1,400 to 1,500 students. An unknowncombination of these students will become members of student organizations and attend events;the executive board is responsible for guesstimating these numbers.Put another way, the total population of college students trickles down in a funnel or invertedpyramid shape. This plays out for every meeting, event – any type of function that demandsstudent participation – and ends up as the final number of students in attendance. Take a look atthe following example:
Student Organization Marketing Guidebook Rozet 10 At the time of this writing, most Ithaca College-based Twitter accounts have fewer than 350followers. Not all of those followers are even current Ithaca College students or activeorganization participants. Most Ithaca College-based Facebook accounts have fewer than 200likes. For all of those likes, the organization would have to go through them to see if the peoplethat liked the page became active members or attended events. Both Facebook and Twitter facethe issue that followers or fans contribute to those metrics, but eventually they graduate orbecome less involved.So even if a student organization has, for example, 500 likes on Facebook and 600 followers onTwitter, that doesn’t necessarily mean these marketing efforts were successful. The organizationneeds to set goals and create strategies for meeting those goals. Example: a group may have thegoal of “connecting” with as many first-year students as possible. As mentioned previously,there are approximately 1,400 to 1,500 first-year students at Ithaca College each year. Aftergaining Facebook fans and Twitter followers, the organization could then monitor to see howmany of them are first-year students.HootSuite and TweetDeck are two popular and effective tools for managing Twitter accounts.Sites like Buffer, Twuffer and Timely.is can be used to schedule tweets far in advance. They arealso helpful for determining the best times to post tweets – times when the organization’s targetaudience will be likely to read them. Klout is a somewhat effective tool for measuring theeffectiveness of social media efforts without paying for expensive social media software.However, note that its algorithm places more weight on certain connected accounts.Other sites to explore include TwitVids, Twylah, and many more. The number of tools thatstudent organizations can use to enhance their social media marketing efforts is truly limitless.approx. 6,000 undergraduate students approximately 700 Communications students 150 follow organizations Twitter account 50 see Tweet promoting event 20 click through ? attend event
Student Organization Marketing Guidebook Rozet 11 YouTube, FlickrAn organization’s online presence can be significantly enhanced through visual content. It hasbeen shown that on Facebook, Twitter and other sites, users are more likely to click on contentthat includes more than just text and hyperlinks. Students don’t engage with just status updatesand tweets – that’s boring! Even if students don’t comment on videos and photos, that contentcan provide real value – and visual evidence of what the organization has accomplished.BlogStudent organizations sometimes consider creating a blog, in order to keep members informed ofcurrent events and to have a greater presence on campus. It is difficult for a student organizationto maintain a blog on a campus for a number of reasons. First, the number of potential readers isalready limited due to the total number of students on campus (if this scope is relevant). Blogposts should be written consistently and provide unique value – if the posts aren’t interesting orfunny, then students just won’t care. Before committing to the creation of a blog, the executiveboard should determine what purpose it will serve. Beyond that, someone must be in charge ofmaintaining the blog and writing new posts or adding other content.Measuring return on Social MediaEffective social media usage extends far beyond simply gaining new Twitter followers andmonitoring Facebook “Likes.” As with other marketing methods, the value of social media needsto be measured in order to determine what works and what doesn’t.Social media platforms can be measured in many ways, which makes it difficult for companies –let alone student organizations - to understand the best way to go about it. Social media metricscan be broken down in a way that bears resemblance to other marketing summaries: quantitativemetrics, qualitative metrics, and return-on-investment (ROI) metrics.Quantitative metrics are data-intensive and focused on numbers. Between Facebook insights andnumbers available just from glancing at a social media profile, it can all get quite overwhelming.An organization should focus on the key metrics that most influence success and not get boggeddown or frustrated with the rest. Those metrics might include unique visits, page views,followers, demographics, frequency, bounce rate, or just about any other metric that isspecifically data-oriented.Qualitative metrics have an emotional component to them. For example, if 25% of studentssurveyed think that an event was boring or ten students have mixed feelings about anorganization, those are qualitative metrics that have an impact on the organization. Thisinformation can be gathered from the “word on the street” – by simply tabling in high-trafficareas or reaching out to students for their opinion.Return-on-investment (ROI) metrics are especially important to social media efforts, but allmarketing methods should lead to ROI or conversion. That is, students submitting their contactinformation into a form, joining an organization, attending meetings, attending events, spreadingthe word, and so on. But in the context of social media, such platforms aren’t just about being
Student Organization Marketing Guidebook Rozet 12 social without measurement. They are being used to recruit members, engage students, andpromote the organization. If the organization tracks what percentage of people converted frombeing a prospect to a participant through online profiles, then it will be able to measure thesuccess of its social media campaigns on the basic of ROI metrics.Ultimately, all of this data needs to be compiled, cross-referenced and made sense of. Whatinsights are gained from this information, what does it all mean for the organization? The bottomline is that social media, like any other marketing method, must be measured in order for theorganization’s marketing chair to prove that his or her efforts actually paid off.Direct MarketingDirect marketing consists of methods that guarantee better receipt of communications. Thismeans that students will be very likely to receive what student organizations send them, but theymight not read it or convert.EmailEmail is one of the strongest marketing methods on campus because it provides a greaterguarantee that students will receive a message about something. This could be regarding a rushnight, an upcoming event, quick questions to answer, and more. Emails can also be used to sharearticles, press releases, event invitations, informational documents – the list goes on.Student leaders and active members will be likely to open such emails. However, many otherstudents are quick to ignore or delete emails based solely on their subject line. Emails should beused only when necessary, and written as concisely as possible. Some students might not receiveemails if their inbox is full. Exercise caution when using alternate email addresses becausestudents might not like receiving certain emails in their personal accounts.Mailchimp is a recommended tool for measuring the effectiveness of email communications. Itallows the sender to see whether an email was opened, read, and what sections were clicked on.Some student organizations have recently begun sending out e-newsletters in the body of anemail, but this is generally not recommended. Sending out communications in a newsletter styledoes not make an organization more credible, nor the emails more valuable. For an e-newsletterto be effective, it needs to have a good design and purpose. If the content does not change, thenthe e-newsletter will become repetitive and meaningless. This speaks to the earlier point aboutbeing as concise as possible.When sending emails, the student organization should consider who the recipients would be. Ifthe exact attendees or target audience are known, then only those students should be contacted.Otherwise, the organization will try to make people outside that audience aware – and they willend up getting annoyed. If the organization is trying to reach as many people as possible, it hasseveral tools at its disposal. It could use student listservs, contact professors / staff / faculty,contact similar or partnering student organizations, and contact school newsletters.
Student Organization Marketing Guidebook Rozet 13 Direct MailDirect mail functions much in the same way as email, except that it is physically tangible.Student organizations can distribute approved flyers and other direct mail pieces to studentmailboxes. This method can have mixed effectiveness, because some students rarely check theirmailbox unless they have received an email/slip to pick something up. This method may alsoexclude juniors and seniors, who tend to live off-campus (so their mailboxes can take somewhatmore effort to locate and deliver to).On the bright side, direct mail can have a very personal touch, especially if handwritten. Thiscould be an effective tactic for event invitations or collateral / brochures. If the mail is printed onheavier / thicker / higher quality paper or has a creative design / shape, students will be morelikely to read and keep it.Interactive MarketingInteractive marketing is where prospective students can be converted in some of the mostcreative ways. It focuses more on having conversations than simply sending out messages.QR CodesQR codes have become a hot topic recently, but their impact on a large scale has been all overthe place. The purpose of the codes is well understood in Asia, but the transition has been slowmoving beyond Europe to the United States. Not all U.S. consumers know what they are, andmight not want to scan them even when directions are provided. On the Ithaca College campus,QR code usage in marketing has been mostly ineffective. Many students don’t know what theyare, many students don’t have a smartphone, and many students don’t have an app for scanningthe codes. This funnels down to the fact that if something like a poster displays a QR code, avery low number of students will be likely to scan it – and those students might not be part of theorganization’s target audience.Before a student organization creates and displays a QR code on marketing pieces, it should firstanswer some of the questions raised above. How many Ithaca College students have a smartphone? How many of them have an app that can scan QR codes? How many students understandthe purpose of a QR code? How many students are likely to scan a QR code – why or why not?If these questions are left unanswered, the idea to use a QR code is already off to a bad start.If the organization gathers enough information to make conclusions about these questions, anddoes decide to include a QR code, there are more considerations to make. The code image needsto be creative and interesting – enticing enough for students to wonder where it leads and scan it.If no changes are made to the black and white QR code, it will look like every other generic,boring code. QR codes can be customized in many ways – color, surrounding imagery, animage/logo inside, rounding the corners and much more. Some examples of creative codes areshown below.
Student Organization Marketing Guidebook Rozet 14 Bulletin BoardBy taking some time to setup a bulletin board, an organization can get greater exposure from aplace that students pass by daily. As long as the board is creative, stylish, funny or simple,students will stop in their tracks to look at it; they will form meaningful impressions. Handoutscan also be put on the bulletin board so that students walk away with something after seeing it.A student organization can also create premade bulletin boards for Resident Assistants to put up.If you’re reaching this guidebook, it is very likely that you have seen premade bulletin boardswithout even realizing it. Some examples are the health promotion boards and Relay For Lifeboards. Resident Assistants are able to put up a small amount of premade bulletin boards persemester, and like doing it because it decreases their workload. Even if the organization can’tthink of something super relevant, it can at least make something related to the community orcurrent events, and discreetly include the organization’s logo.Display cases in Campus CenterLike full bulletin boards, display cases can be put to good use when marketing for an upcomingevent or just creating general awareness of an organization. As with bulletin board creation,putting together a display case will require hands-on work and creativity in order to be successful.
Student Organization Marketing Guidebook Rozet 15 TablingMany students pass by tables without even glancing at them, so those who are tabling must makea strong effort to stand out from the crowd. One effective method for several studentorganizations has been to cover the table in a banner that drapes over the front. Whether there isa banner or not, students passing by a table don’t quickly or easily see the materials on top of it;a banner draping over the front will grab their attention.To even better alleviate the visual problem, the organization would benefit greatly from creatinga tri-fold display. This would be used during general tabling, at student organization fairs, andfor other purposes.GiveawaysCollege students love free stuff, even if only for a little while. The organization that gives themfree stuff shows that it has resources for cool events or activities. In general, branded giveawayscreate awareness for the organization across campus. Giveaways can include nametags, lanyards,pens, pencils, stationary, stickers, sticky notes, folders, notepads, raffle prizes, coffee mugs,water bottles, t-shirts, and much more. Most vendors offer a similar selection of merchandise, butfor bigger or more expensive items (and regardless), it would be wise to do some research.Passive PromotionMore subtle giveaways include thank you gifts for presenters / speakers / panelists / hosts / etc.,and t-shirts or something else for event volunteers. A small token of appreciation can be verymeaningful to volunteers and others who work with the organization; they will be more likely tohelp out in the future.Student organizations commonly purchase t-shirts, hoodies or other clothing for the executiveboard. This is helpful for events and meetings, so that prospects can easily distinguish who mightanswer questions or be in charge of things. On the days leading up to an event, and on the day ofan event, the executive board should wear such clothing to create some awareness.Sticky notes put up amongst crowded flyers in academic buildings and other locations can standout because of their size and block color. If placed in some discreet or selective locations, thosewho stumble-upon them might feel like a lucky few that found a secret (even though theorganization planned this). Sticky notes or flyers can be effective if placed on the backs of toiletstalls, because the viewer is already “captive” in a sense.Personal SellingFor some students, selling or pitching an idea is seemingly a natural talent. For others, it is anacquired and gradually developed skill. By directly speaking with people about an organizationor event, that action may be what causes them to convert. Be sure to plug upcoming eventsduring a current one. Plug your organization or event in your classes, and other classes orlearning sessions that would be relevant to what you’re discussing.
Student Organization Marketing Guidebook Rozet 16 One of the ultimate results of all your marketing efforts will be (hopefully) positive word ofmouth. If an organization creates something valuable, different, interesting, funny, controversial– something that grabs students’ attention somehow – they will be likely to talk about it andsuggest it to their friends.5. Results: Evaluating EffectivenessOnce a marketing campaign for any type of function has concluded, the organization’s executiveboard and particularly the marketing team should begin evaluating the campaign immediately.Survey methods include an online survey form (which could be available online throughSurveyMonkey, Qualtrics, or other sites), written survey form or questionnaire, focus groups andinterviews. Many other survey formats and tools exist; the organization should determine whatvehicles would be most appropriate and tailor them accordingly. Feedback should be gathered ina 360-degree approach – from essentially all stakeholders and participants. This includes studentorganization members, new participants, the executive board, presenters / speakers / panelists /hosts, the organization’s advisor, and more.As mentioned previously, evaluation should include a heavy focus on metrics – quantitative,qualitative, and return-on-investment. This would be for every single marketing method that wasused, to the most specific and accurate approximation as possible.Sample measures should minimally include:Qualitative Evaluation:• What did students like about the event or meeting? What did students dislike?• How do students now feel about the organization as a result?• Why did new attendees show up?• Through which marketing methods did people find out about the organization orfunction?• How many organization members actually contribute to event planning, projects and soon?• Were there issues in carrying out any marketing methods?• Has the event improved in comparison to previous years/semesters? How so?Quantitative Evaluation:• How many people attended the meeting or event? How many were new attendees?• Demographics• Frequency• Facebook Insights• Followers• Unique page visits• New event attendees (who have not previously attended)• Page views
Student Organization Marketing Guidebook Rozet 17 Return-on-Investment Evaluation:• How many direct mail pieces were sent out?• How many posters/flyers were put up?• How many people were pitched to directly?• Compared to Likes, Fans, Followers, etc. – how many of those people are activemembers?It’s all about figuring out what worked and what did not. The marketing methods that did notwork should be evaluated, and improved or scrapped until later. The methods that did work canalways be refined and improved. Improvement should be the bottom line of evaluation – thestatus quo is simply not good enough.6. RecapAfter a meeting or event concludes, and success is evaluated, that doesn’t mean the work isreally over. Keep the conversation going by recapping how great that event was, what studentsare now looking forward to, and how your organization will provide the awesomeness they’relooking for. Highlight the best moments through new Tweets, Facebook statuses, recap emails,and more. Use services like Storify to recap events – doing so also creates new content(compilations awesome moments from past events) that future prospects will see.7. Extra TipsAfter evaluating what has been done in the past, establishing a logo or theme, and performingresearch, make sure to establish a clear timeline. This is a crucial step in the planning process, toensure that marketing methods are completed smoothly and in the necessary amount of time.Otherwise, some things will be rushed and others will fall apart. Create an editorial calendar formessaging, including all social media communications.External Assistance / ConsultationApart from learning as you go, reading news and articles on marketing / advertising, it isimportant to remember that you as an executive board member or entire organization are notalone. Most organizations don’t even think of leveraging the strengths of their peers, sometimesseeing them as competitors. Several student organizations and departments might be willing towork with you to put on an event, create marketing materials, or perform other services.
Student Organization Marketing Guidebook Rozet 18 8. ConclusionAll methods should be used for a unique purpose, but simultaneously share a common thread.Something needs to tie the organization’s profiles together, both online and offline. If duplicatecontent is posted anywhere, and students notice this, they will likely get annoyed or bored.ConnectAs stated in the introduction, feel free to connect, email, tweet, or get in touch with me in anyway! Whether you’re an individual student working on your personal brand / trying to learnmore, or a student organization trying to improve / working on a campaign, I’m here to help.Jason Rozet Website jasonrozet.com Email firstname.lastname@example.orgLinkedIn linkedin.com/in/jasonrozetTwitter twitter.com/jasonrozet
Student Organization Marketing Guidebook Rozet 19 Sample Marketing Campaign Template/Checklist1. Evaluation of what has been done in the past2. Logo or theme3. Determination of the target audience and the modes of publicity to effectively reach thataudience4. Creation of print materials• Poster• Postcard• Flyer• Brochure• Must include: organization logo, date, location, time, contact info5. Use of web resources: create ready-to-use announcements• Website• Facebook• Twitter• Email• Pinterest6. Interactive Marketing• Bulletin Board• LCD screens• Tabling• QR Code (with metrics)7. Ideas for other ways to get the word out to relevant populations including other offices,student leaders, listservs, circles of influence• Word of mouth• Fliers for Residence Halls• Pre-made bulletin board for residence halls• Display cases in buildings• Dining hall napkin dispenser inserts8. Evaluating Effectiveness of marketing campaign• Direct survey form or questionnaire (written)• SurveyMonkey• Google Analytics