营销人员应照看学生经历至毕业及以后

维多利亚·奥马利(Victoria O’Malley)问道,营销人员为什么不应该在他们正努力培养的潜在学生中不断投入品牌认知度呢?

二月 26, 2021
A giant sign reading "Brand" on scaffolding
Source: iStock

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在你的大学,营销推广人员什么时候从学生的经历中退出了?是当潜在学生询问时?还是申请时?还是被录取时?当然,我敢肯定,是在他们注册后。

但是,当然,入学仅仅是学生与大学互动的开始,该大学的品牌认知度正是营销人员努力培养出的。然而,营销人员却没有后续的角色来培养学生的体验,这是不是看起来有些奇怪?

一些学者可能会完全摒弃营销人员应该参与部门事务的想法。但是,让我们看到学校品牌承诺如何与实际的学生体验保持一致很重要。当大学领导和系主任致力于小班授课,而市场推广人员宣传这一承诺时,是否应该有某种方法可以确保这一宣传能够反映现实呢?

那么有关强大且具有交互性的在线学习体验的推广信息又如何?将市场营销人员包括在内的协作方式将能让我们了解将来为课程打广告时应提出哪些主张。

教师和教学设计师开发新课程时也可以从与营销人员的咨询中受益。市场部门经常收到需要推广的既定产品,比如一个新的学位课程,并被要求销售它。这些课程自带一两学术化语言的文字,却根本没准备好让公众理解。尽管营销人员可能对启动什么学位课程或制定什么课表没有发言权,但邀请他们参加早期对话可能会对产品的成功带来重大影响。

有效利用市场研究可以为机构领导者提供基于当前情况的、切合实际的招生预期,而命名课程时的竞争分析和关键字建议可以在这些参数内最大化实际入学率。这种教职人员与营销人员间的互动建立了双方的期望,并创建了一个更可行、更真实和更适合市场的计划,以向潜在学生推销计划。

营销人员在学生注册后的旅程中也可以发挥作用,尤其是对在线学习的学生而言。例如,这可能意味着研发或审视学生看到的内部沟通信息 – 无论是提醒注册、课程描述还是院长消息。

营销人员也应参与毕业典礼。对于许多学者来说,这似乎是事后添加的想法,但是毕业通常是学生与你的大学品牌在离校前(幸运的话并成为其代表前)的最后一次互动。一次难忘的经历可以巩固你努力建立的品牌;相比之下,如果学生没有足够的毕业典礼门票或者庆祝毕业的蛋糕过期了,那么他们“嘴中”可能就会传出不好的评价。

因此,学生的毕业体验应该从头到尾打上品牌烙印,重申希望毕业生今后对外传播的关键要点。利用营销人员的专业知识来创建能够反映学生体验的邀请函、注册流程、网站、材料、展示、社交媒体和视频内容。

甚至当学生成为校友时,你也会猜到:营销人员仍然需要参与。为了保持持续的忠诚度、联系和参与度,大学领导者应责成其营销团队创造校友参与机会和外展活动,以协调学术单位与其他相关机构部门之间的合作,例如校友关系、晋升或职业服务。令人惊讶的是,学术部门经常与这些部门脱节。他们的活动、电子邮件和募捐活动与大学品牌是否一致?

如今,高等教育领域的营销人员需要以数据为导向,具有创造力和战略性,并了解投资回报率相关的问题。他们还必须精通网站管理、活动计划、项目管理、电子邮件营销、社交媒体、公共关系、图形设计、摄影和写作。然而,营销团队常常与他们所服务的各个学术单位保持距离。

你的内部营销人员比任何人都更了解在你所在机构的品牌、产品组合和教育价值。他们对客户和机构的核心价值有深刻的了解,并且可以帮助学生在学术旅程的每个阶段保持连续性。在学生的整个周期中保持市场营销人员的参与,你会对计划推广、注册率和留存率以及学生满意度的连锁反应感到惊讶。你甚至可以提高员工留存率和财务周转率。

不必投资于随处可见中介机构,而是投资自己的营销团队吧——因为他们是投资于你的。

维多利亚·奥·马利(Victoria O’Malley)是丹佛大学(University of Denver)继续与专业研究学院大学学院的兼职教师和市场营销与传播高级总监。她最近在东北大学(Northeastern University)完成了有关机构品牌和成人学习者的博士学位论文。

本文由张万琪为泰晤士高等教育翻译。

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Reader's comments (5)

Students should not be treated as 'customers' and research/ teaching should not be 'branded'. Both have had a poisonous influence on universities, undermining science and pedagogy and replacing them with popularity and profit.
Totally agree. This is a depressing article.
Universities ought to be budget-autonomous government agencies with democratic self-governance, like in other countries. Have you have thought of brand marketing for government agencies? Didn't think so. The root problem is that the customers don't know what is good for them and would prefer to have less work in getting their degrees. This doesn't work because it is usually the lecturers who know better what the customers should learn and how. By asking for tuition fees, this is turned on its head and *has* to lead to a race to the bottom in standards, by design. This is a form of market failure, and even economists agree that either government regulation or self-government of institutions or a combination of these can overcome such failures. Why are we not moving into this direction? It's bad for students because they learn less and pile on debt. It's bad for the government and ultimately the tax payer because most debts are eventually paid off by the government because the former students never make it into those income regions where they could start paying off the loans. It's not even a popular thing on the basis of which the vote share could be increased. And it is also bad for lecturers and staff who have been suffering from its effects immensely. We need to move away from this unsustainable model and overcome this market failure *now* - instead of even adding more marketing activities as suggested here. Dear government, please do something about it. Please realise that the short-term economic gains of treating higher education as an internationally marketable commodity are worth less than the economic prospects of educating millions of Britons at a high level in the long term. Your party will govern Britain for the foreseeable future anyway, so you should not be constrained by short-term goals.
I do not know where to start with this article full of jargon, platituted and buzzwords. I am a marketing academic myself (mea culpa) but I despair of such hollow and unthinking gibberish. I am not against the branding concept per se (this where I beg to differ from the other commenters). However, it is a more nuanced and complex vehicle than the author makes it out to be. She does not seem to have ever heard of stakeholder marketing or corporate makreting, corporate branding and identity management etc. but applies simplified consumer marketing and product branding templates uncritically to a university (or any other organisation for that matter). No wonder our subject area and profession has such a bad name amongst our academic (and non-academic) peers.
*an edit function to correct spelling errors would be great!