This week we want to compare your university education to roasting a chicken. No, really.
We want you to consider a lesson learned in the grocery industry about marketing. What in the world would your international student recruiting plans have to do with roast chicken you ask? Perhaps not quite as much of a stretch as you might think.
Here at Intead, we are always looking at what industry does, how it markets, what it tracks. And we apply those lessons to academia. It keeps us on our toes.
Bottom Line: Supermarkets learned a while back that advertising focused on cooked meals attracts customers better than showing raw ingredients. For university enrollment, focusing on jobs and outcomes is critical in today’s academic marketing. The message resonates with students and parents alike. So you might want to rethink all those images of happy students on the quad, or engaged in classrooms. The ascending career needs to be present, and perhaps even dominant, in your advertising.
We will be discussing these approaches to academic marketing at the upcoming AIRC and ICEF conferences in December. Are you going? We’d love to meet you face-to-face instead of keyboard to screen! There are still a few slots left for our 3rd annual ICEF Pre-conference Global Marketing Seminar for Education Institutions.
More on using outcomes in your marketing below.
In the past, we have made comparisons to the airline industry. Parallels of semesters and airplanes? Once the plane is in the air, you can no longer fill the seats. So consider your marketing approaches: when you offer discounts, when you raise prices, what special offers might be available, all in attempts to convince prospective students to get into one of your seats before the semester takes off.
So back to that roast chicken. We are thinking about outcomes for international students. Most prospective students are excited by the prospect of studying at a university. The campus life, the academic and social interactions are all part of the allure. And then, there is the prospect of a job at the end. Better yet, an ascending career.
Decades ago, the supermarket industry did some market research about all the advertising dollars they were spending to attract you. They want you to come in and buy all those raw ingredients. And so they asked you and what you told them was: Please don’t show me pictures of raw ingredients. Those images are really unappetizing and suggest all the work I have to do to make them edible. Instead, show me images of the outcome. Show me the cooked meal that I’d be really excited to eat. That will drive me to your door so I can buy your stuff.
Is this market research something we can use as enrollment marketers? Like, yeah!
Education outcome data is more in the news these days and becoming an integral part of how universities are evaluated and ranked. The finished product – a happily employed engineer working on amazing things at a great company – is going to be a crowd pleaser among your prospective students.
Of course, you will want to reference how that “finished product” achieved great heights and the role your institution played. We’d recommend choosing someone who made use of your vibrant alumni network in landing the job or moving up the ladder.
This approach does not diminish the campus learning experience. Nor does it diminish the value of a liberal arts education that might be attractive to students who are not clear on their intended career vis-à-vis the engineer or accounting major.
Regardless of your university type (public, research, liberal arts, etc.) there are student audience segments you want to attract – those at the top of your recruitment list. Showing that those student types are achieving successful careers is a great way to promote what you have to offer.
Help them identify with the future they are investing in. Help them make an important decision with confidence!