Universities are not commercial machines (in the same way as main stream businesses are) however you still need to ‘communicate’ a message. For this reason, there is a host of marketing that is needed. Such as an informative website, descriptive brochures and e-mails to communicate events. You are always looking for new students and most have thousands of students (both full time and part time) that attend courses. They need to know what is going on from a day to day basis (e-marketing updates regards classes/lectures, website notifications about events ). You need lecturers, to attract the best teachers.
Websites are essential, for promotion of courses, but also in communicating information about current events to enrolled students. Many universities have intranets (internal internets that students can use for e-mail, counselling, updating class information or questioning teachers directly) which are built into the main body of the website. There are numerous companies that offer website design for universities and they have a good idea of the kind of features that the site needs (which are normally different to commercial companies or businesses). Students need to remote login to the university website. This feature requires a specialist knowledge. The university website is the central part of marketing for universities.
A big part of marketing for universities is branding. Branding for universities is what separates one university from another. Whether the university is specialising in sport (like Loughborough) or whether it is a highly academic one (like Cambridge). Branding is an essential part of marketing for universities.
All universities have brochures, leaflets, student club information, new course leaflets, information about forthcoming events. All of these need to be designed and produced into hard copy, which is the job of a graphic designer. There are many that can help design brochures for universities along with a range of other graphics material for internal use on campus. Brochures and literature are essential parts of marketing for universities.
All universities use advertising in one form or another. It could be advertising in a local magazine or newspaper, internet advertising (PPC) or radio advertising. Advertising for universities is essential in drawing in new students (that pay fees) and encouraging growth of courses and syllabuses. PPC advertising is popular for universities as all students these days will use the internet to look for courses. PPC for universities is mainly used around enrollment time. Advertising is an important area of marketing for universities.
Public relations is something that is very important, as it is part of a necessity. You need to be able to communicate with the mainstream media, react to issues or problems, promote and communicate important announcements. PR for universities is normally very involved, something that requires either a full time internal PR person, or an agency that is putting in a lot of time as they talk to the local or national press. Drugs is a big problem for universities, so PR is needed to tackle this in the media.
Selecting a marketing agency needs to be done with experience in mind. There are tens of thousands of agencies around the UK, and some are better than others. It is strongly advised for you to select an agency that has experience and understanding of the education, to get the best results.
Costs are always going up, and you do have to keep to your budgets, therefore it is always wise for you to shop around and compare prices, rather than sticking with the same agency. Many have a ‘pool of suppliers’ that they can get quotes for – and the one that has capacity and can ‘do a deal’ is the one that is selected for the project.