Marketing Ourselves On Campus (Student Affairs)


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Presentation given to the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, Council on Student Affairs, June 28, 2011, in Jackson Hole, WY.

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Marketing Ourselves On Campus (Student Affairs)

  1. 1. Marketing Ourselves on Campus2011 Council on Student Affairs Summer Meeting Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities
  2. 2. Panelists •  William D. Schafer, Ph.D. (Moderator) Vice President for Student Affairs Georgia Institute of Technology •  Michael L. Warden, APR Vice President Communications and Marketing Georgia Institute of Technology •  Rachael Pocklington Communications Officer Parents Program Georgia Institute of Technology •  Kathleen Pesha Director of Higher Education Programs, USA Today2
  3. 3. Marketing Ourselves On Campus•  State of communications & marketing•  Benefits of Marketing Student Affairs: Marketing 101•  What we’re doing in Student Affairs @GeorgiaTech•  What USA Today research tells us•  Discussion & Questions3
  4. 4. State of communications & marketing in higher education4
  5. 5. Communicating with internal audiences •  Observations: –  Higher education does not invest in internal communications at the same level/priority as it does in external communications –  Faculty and staff communications tend to be the focus of internal communication programs –  Student communication lumped in with more general faculty/staff communications …. or left to “student media” outlets –  Mass emails still the dominant form of communicating directly with students5
  6. 6. Communication models have changed •  Old model : one-way/hierarchical/mass communication –  Newspapers/newsletters –  Memos/e-memos and “blast” emails –  Flyers/Posters/Brochures –  Websites •  Campus clients still rely on outdated/ineffective modes of communication with stakeholders …. –  Same content “pushed” out to mass audiences •  Audiences ignoring old model mass messages •  New model: engagement (social media/networks)6
  7. 7. The New Model of Communications7
  8. 8. Finding what works …. research •  Two-way conversation is critical –  Forging successful relationships with students/parents –  Developing effective programs and desired experiences –  Delivering on our educational mission •  Systematic ways to listen to the voice of the customer – through planful research! –  Ensures this 2-way exchange –  Ensures decisions are informed beyond the anecdotal8
  9. 9. Research @ Georgia Tech …•  Student Experience Study (overall satisfaction)•  Parents Program Surveys (feedback on program initiatives)•  Brand Perceptions Studies (perceptions of brand strengths, Georgia Tech differentiators, resonance of brand promise statements)•  Student Communications Research (feedback on student-managed newspaper/radio station)•  Program development research (Sophomore Experience)9
  10. 10. Examples: Student Experience Understanding overall student experience perceptions – strengths and opportunities Perception Improvement Analysis 0.6000 8G 8N Key Opportunities Primary Strengths 0.5500 First Issues 8A to Address 9 10M 0.5000 8C Derived Importance 0.4500 8D 10A Second Issues 8L to Address 10J 8J 8P 8O 8B 8F 10C 8I 0.4000 8E 8M 10B 10I 10D 10G 10F 10E 10K 8W 8R 0.3500 8V 10H 8T 8U 10L 8K 8H 8S Secondary Secondary 0.3000 Opportunities Strengths 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% Perception Rating (8-10)10
  11. 11. Examples: Research Insights (Content) Understanding topics for student communications emphasis Ease of Locating Information versus Interest in Information 100% Maintain Priorities Met 90% Athletic events Ease of Locating Information (6-10 Rating) Academic procedures 80% Tutoring/academic support programs Financial aid Job opportunities 70% Job preparation Social events Cultural events Lectures/guest speakers Comm service/service 60% learning Volunteering Undergraduate research opportunities Research by faculty/students Mentorship 50% Available channels for offering feedback Non-Priority Focus Efforts Here 40% 60% 65% 70% 75% 80% 85% 90% 95% 100% Interest in Information (6-10 Rating)11
  12. 12. Examples: Research Insights (Delivery) A positive idea would be to attempt to reduce campus and departmental messages to a digest of 1 per day, with solitary emails reserved for things of importance to all on the list. I believe there are too many different websites for services, academics, etc. and that they should be consolidated to a single place or a few places. Have one portal that all information is shared in – we have T-Square, Oscar, Buzzport, the main website, all subsites, etc. – try to consolidate it all or at least have a consistent look and feel with links to all major sites. Weekly forums with faculty, administrators, alumni and students (not student representatives, but regular students) about what works and what needs to be changed and how the Institute can be improved. Access to a calendar with all GT events and activities in one place.12
  13. 13. Research Insights (Student Media) Content More discussion of technical advancements and significant research taking place at GT. Also keep in mind that graduate students make up about a third of the student body. Keep them in mind when selecting and writing your articles. Talk about more national and world news issues; as college students, I feel like we are very isolated in our GT bubble, so we need to learn more about what is going on beyond our campus. Listing of jobs (internships/co-op/full-time) around campus/off campus Distribution Make it more readily available. I never know where it is. Like the Daily Digest, an electronic version sent directly to my email… Social media updates for breaking news13
  14. 14. Adding a Student Communicator @GT14
  15. 15. Need for a Student Communicator •  Added to Internal Communications team in 2007 •  Focus: Make the Georgia Tech brand more accessible to students –  Develop  communica/ons  tools  that  form,  direct,  and  engage   students  in  the  Georgia  Tech  brand   –  Develop  student  engagement  strategies  for  Ins/tute-­‐level   ini/a/ves   –  Consult  with  departments  and  student  organiza/ons  on   student  engagement     –  Increase  consistency  and  relevance  in  the  messages  and   mediums  developed  around  student  engagement  15
  16. 16. Student Communicator Responsibilities •  Identify, write and track student stories (academic, extracurricular or social) for existing vehicles to enhance relevance to students •  Gauge student perspective and opinions on campus issues in student-focused settings (SGA meetings, one-on-ones with students) –  Lend perspective to Institute projects and decisions •  Communicate regularly with staff across campus to learn of upcoming student opportunities16
  17. 17. •  Meet one-on-one with students in leadership roles to build relationships and share ideas and information •  Provide mentorship/assistance on various communications (from adding a calendar event to reviewing proposals/communications plans) •  Capture snapshot of student activity across campus to provide students with ideas and opportunities for collaboration •  Identify students to represent the Institute both internally and externally17
  18. 18. Benefits of Marketing Student Affairs: Marketing 10118
  19. 19. Benefits of Marketing Student Affairs •  Improve the student experience –  Build affinity toward the Institute •  Recruit and retain highly desirable students •  Increase program awareness and participation –  Reach the elusive middle student •  Generate awareness and build credibility among campus colleagues •  Increase funding opportunities19
  20. 20. Student Affairs: Marketing 101 •  People –  Understand your audiences and their information needs20
  21. 21. Student Affairs: Marketing 101 STUDENTS High Involvement Prospective First-year Fourth-year Graduating Low Involvement21
  22. 22. Student Affairs: Marketing 101 •  People –  Understand your audiences and their information needs •  Programs –  Know your programs and how they complement your mission •  Purpose –  Solidify your value proposition •  Plan –  Develop objectives and a supportive plan –  Dedicate resources to implementation22
  23. 23. Student Affairs: Marketing 101 •  Collaborative effort between Office of Communications and Marketing and students to promote the Student Experience Survey campaign •  Authentic feel gives credibility and improves participation rates23
  24. 24. Division of Student Affairs at Georgia Tech •  Strategic planning process to support the Institute s strategic plan –  Updating marketing and communications plan •  Partnering with campus constituents –  Office of Undergraduate Admission –  Office of Communications and Marketing •  Leveraging touch-points to reach audiences –  Events: recruitment, orientation, convocation, graduation –  Media: print and electronic –  Word of mouth: students, parents, faculty, staff24
  25. 25. What Research Tells Us: Lessons from USA Today25
  26. 26. USA Today College Take a collaborative approach to understanding the needs of our customers through effective partnerships and ongoing assessment Immerse ourselves in our clients’ business and processes so we can more fully define the needs of all key players on campus: students, faculty and administration Established The Collegiate Readership Program in 1997 at Penn State University by the recommendation of President, Dr. Graham Spanier - Now, 450 programs active nationally Our objective is to continue to collaborate, assess and learn in order to develop new products and services that meet your ultimate news and information needs26
  27. 27. Students Gather feedback through various outlets: - In-person surveys conducted on campus - Class projects (Penn State, Ohio State) - Direct interviews with students - Facebook Advisory Group - Intern feedback - Focus groups Cannot answer a direct question, such as “what do you want…” More effective to ask questions that assess their behavior Consistent feedback gathered despite varied assessment methods27
  28. 28. Faculty Do not like to be “trained” or “talked down to” Must see a relevance for better receptiveness Don’t try to be “all things to all people” - Break the message down by curriculum area Rather than presenting at a general faculty luncheon, invest the extra time to connect with Chairs individually28
  29. 29. Additional Takeaways When marketing to individual groups on or off campus, it is most effective to go straight to the source for effective feedback - Consult your SGA, student marketing clubs, etc. for help - Ask innovative faculty members for direct feedback/suggestions Use social media to have a conversation and gain feedback - “For students, by students”29
  30. 30. Discussion: What is going on with your campuses?30
  31. 31. Discussion Topics •  Given the state of communications in student affairs, are you effectively reaching your audiences? –  What are some of your successes? –  What are some of your challenges/failures? •  Describe your planning process –  What are your objectives? –  How do you assess? •  Are your investments in communications generating a satisfactory return? •  What have you learned from planning and implementing a communications & marketing plan?31
  32. 32. Contacts •  william.schafer at vpss.gatech dot edu •  michael.warden at gatech dot edu •  rachael.pocklington at vpss.gatech dot edu •  Kpesha at usatoday dot com32