Oh, if I had a dime. If I only had a dime for every time I have heard a board member say the following, in a very convinced tone, I would be happy man.
“Our enrollment would be fine if we just marketed and told our story better so as to differentiate ourselves from the competition”.
We hear this a lot from our clients and some of their key leaders. They actually remain convinced that their enrollment and sustainability challenges are primarily an issue of promotional efforts. And, it is simply not true. Most strategists would agree that there are a myriad of factors that play into enrollment sustainability, including market trends, effective strategic enrollment management, history and heritage, image and reputation, and, yes, marketing.
But, there some age-old advice for those who still subscribe to this belief. If you want to distinguish yourself from the competition, then actually do something different! It starts with program development, creating a set of flagship programs and services that are truly worthy of promotion. Marketing is never a silver bullet but, at best introduces great products in an audience-centric way. It is important, but it cannot deliver on a product that is poor in quality or not unique.
Now, back to counting dimes.