In the course of working in higher education, we all come across buzzwords that are often used but only occasionally explained: “Student Centered Learning”, “Social Media”, “Knowledge Economy”, “Globalization”, “Distinctive”, “Synergy” and of course, “Integrated Marketing”. We even have an appointed cabinet to work on that last one.
So what is Integrated Marketing, anyway? In order to move from cliché to common language, consider the following analogy: each division and department at a college is like a musician in an orchestra. Playing individually, we may occasionally reach our intended audience with positive results, but only when the orchestra is tuned and playing from a common score, will the results move an audience to tears.
Since that analogy is itself a bit cliché, here’s the textbook definition of integrated marketing as Dr. Robert Sevier puts it: “a listening-first, database-dependent approach to marketing that includes a willingness to segment and coordinate such strategic assets as product, price, and place, and to develop effective promotion strategies for key target audiences.”
For us, this means coordinating our efforts to communicate the value of a Hope College education to our students, their families and other key audiences.
Realizing a need for this type of communication, President Bultman has appointed an Integrated Marketing Cabinet to work towards the vision set forth in Chapter 2 of the Hope College Strategic Plan, approved by the Board of Trustees in 2006. The vision stated in the plan is that “all areas of Hope College succinctly communicate a consistent message that accurately reflects the vision and values of the institution in both the content and the design of the communication.”
Meeting since September of 2008, the group has begun both strategic and operational dialogue in the following areas:
- Identifying what we currently do in the area of marketing as well as the target audiences we would like to reach
- The role of marketing research in our decisions and identifying what research we currently have available to us
- Overall branding and integration within the institution, including the possibility of seeking input from an outside agency
- Better utilizing positioning outcomes, including a placement report and an economic impact study
- Improving and integrating both the content and design of Hope’s print and online communications
This blog’s aim is to keep you up-to-date as the college moves forward with these initiatives. In the process, we will try to avoid the clichés.
— Submitted by Scott Travis, Director of Alumni and Parent Relations