The Importance of Campus Marketing

Over the summer I posted a blog article on .eduGuru asking the question “Do we under market our campus?” There were some really important points in that article that are worth diving into more deeply. All too often we take campus for granted when it comes to explaining why one school is better than another. At nuCloud, we personally believe that this is a huge mistake. Because of this we have coined a term called “campus marketing” to basically sum up marketing of campus.

Beauty Sells

Let’s think about the way we choose what we buy. For example, when going car shopping how much of the time do people buy what they think is the prettiest or cutest car? So maybe I’m talking about women more specifically when I mention a cute car, but you get the idea. There is a large portion of the time that we make a buying decision based on how something looks, not how it functions. I wish I had some data on it, but you have to agree that this happens a significant percentage of the time with prospective students in their college decision process. In a scenario with all things being equal, the tie breaker could very well be which school has the more gorgeous campus.

Almost without fail schools have gorgeous campuses but rarely do they market this on their website or other ways without someone physically visiting the location. A lot of time and money is put into architecture and layout decisions, but rarely are these finished products pushed in marketing material. This is a big mistake.

Just your typical beautiful college campus.

Just your typical beautiful college campus. Photo Credit Greg Nissen

People Need Tangibles

A great analogy is you wouldn’t buy a car without taking it for a test drive, right? Well the majority of people don’t make a decision to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a college or university without physically visiting campus.

It is true that a degree comes in the form of a physical diploma, but otherwise “an education” is a nebulous, abstract idea. It can be very hard to wrap your mind around exactly what it is or its value, but that is the service that a school sells. On the other hand, typically all of this education happens in a tangible and vibrant physical location. You can walk around it, touch buildings and much more. It is much easier to make a decision when they use all five senses to absorb the experience. Again this comes back to campus marketing. Campus helps cement the idea of a student spending the next few years living and learning there. It’s tangible and real to them.

Humans Relate Through Stories

My father spent 32 years in the ministry and gave a sermon every Sunday. He did a lot of public speaking and one of the most important selling lessons he taught me is that people need stories to relate to. You can’t just preach (or teach or sell or whatever) to people without showing or telling them how it relates to them. Storytelling is a great and powerful way to do this.

Storytelling has always been a part of education marketing and has been experiencing a strong renaissance in recent years thanks to blogging and specifically student blogs. Who better to tell the value of an education at a specific school than someone who is currently getting an education from that school?

The thing about this storytelling is that almost all of this happens on campus. People can better relate to a story when their mind can wrap itself around the locations, buildings and people who are part of the story. Also many schools have been around for decades, if not centuries, and with this long existence come lots of history. This history is part of the school’s story, and all of it happened somewhere on campus. Sharing history and stories of your school are essential pieces of campus marketing.

Vassar College is loaded with history and locations to prove it.

Vassar College is loaded with history and locations to prove it.

Are You Doing A Good Job Of Campus Marketing?

In just these three examples hopefully you can see how campus helps prospects interact and become more deeply engaged with your school. There really isn’t much of a school without a campus. Campus is vitally important to every single person associated with your school and brand. The single biggest problem or challenge with this is that we simply take campus for granted. It’s such a valuable and underutilized resource.

Are you under marketing this valuable asset? What are ways that you are marketing campus? Maybe we can help!

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