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					                                                                          HigherEd Marketing
                                                                                        Targeted Marketing
                                                                                       for the 21st Century


                                   What Colleges And Universities Can Do To Insure
                                      Growth and Stability As The Economy Slows

The United States, along with other western economies, has begun to enter a period of slower growth. This has
coincided with the inevitable refining of the new business sector based on e-commerce. Competition, efficiency,
and all of the other normal economic forces have begun the “pruning out” process among the dotcoms. The
eventual result will be a better functioning e-business market niche which will begin to realize much of the
potential that many of us have talked about.
In the mean time, a malaise has begun to grip the thinking of many. There is talk of recession, unemployment,
and need for “pulling back.” This malaise has begun to appear in the talk and action of educa-
tional leaders as well.
            •   Higher education officials in some states are asking for smaller budget increases or are prepar-
                ing to defend their requests against lawmakers who want to balance state budgets on the
                backs of public colleges.
            •   10 states have started to cut this year’s educational appropriations to avoid deficits.
The fact is that the U.S. and other western economies are not projecting decline but a period of slower growth
after what has been a very long period of amazingly rapid growth.
The same factors that have driven our economy, technology, AND EDUCATION are still here
because they are long-term structural trends.
•   The baby boomers are still the largest generation in the history of the United States -- their demands and
    expenditures will continue to produce economic growth and the need for more continuing education as
    they age.
•   The half-life of education continues to decline and with it there will be an increasing need for more profes-
    sional retraining and new certification programs.
•   Moore’s Law looks more and more outdated as the speed of microprocessors accelerates with no sign of
    peaking, making technology cheaper and easier to use.
•   The number and variety of online courses continues to grow and they have become a permanent portion
    of the higher education delivery options, without eliminating traditional delivery formats.
•   Geographical boundaries have shrunk and will continue to do so as we move through the 21st century.
    Economic protectionism disappeared in the 20th century as economies became global.
    Educational protectionism will disappear in the 21st century as distance education,




                             www.HigherEd-Marketing.com
                                                      
                                                                            HigherEd Marketing
                                                                                          Targeted Marketing
                                                                                         for the 21st Century




    educational alliances, and specialization come to characterize higher education. As
    Thomas Friedman has demonstrated. “the world is quickly becoming flat.”


So What Do Colleges and Universities Do Now In Order To “Stay On Course”?


Action One—Understand your Selling Propositions
For an organization to prosper it must understand what image its student clients and potential clients have
of it and whether this is the image that the institution really wants to project. All too often, an organization’s
image is established inadvertently. A Selling Proposition should project the image you want to project to the
target audience that you want to reach. Most importantly, an organization usually has more than one image.
These images will be different for different client groups.


Action Two—Choose your Best Market Riches
As competition continues to grow your organization must specialize in what it does best. Most colleges and
universities cannot continue to be everything to everyone. Louisburg College, one of North Carolina’s last
surviving two-year private institutions, recently shifted from trying to compete for a general college audience
to educating mainly learning-disabled students. In so doing Louisburg became the only higher educational
institution specializing in that audience. Ms. Rosemary Gillet-Karen, Louisburg’s president, truly understands the
importance of specializing in key market niches when she says, “ we think we’ll be drawing students form all
over because there’s such a crying need for this.”


Action Three—Move to a New Learning Paradigm
Farhad Saba, a respected educator recently noted in an article about distance education that “so far distance
education has not shown the miracle its recent enthusiasts were preaching.” But it is important to remember
that we have maintained that distance education will not replace traditional formats but rather be part of a
series of different delivery options available. Also and most importantly, we agree with his observation that a
primary problem for distance education is that many institutions are trying to mold this new delivery system in
the image of their campus-based education. Distance education requires that your institution rethink, cur-
riculum, support services, marketing approaches, registration systems, and the role of faculty. In essence your
institution must begin to make a complete shift in the teaching/learning paradigm.



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posted:11/3/2011
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