tales from the front lines Âť the case for a new media specialist Âť mixing new and traditional media
Counsel news and ideas about community college marketing and public relations
volume 3 | july 2011
Leading Like a Lion
President’s View What College Presidents Think About Social Media Recently, I had the pleasure of presenting a session on “Shaping the Community College Social Media Strategy” at the annual convention of the American Association of Community Colleges. Joining me in the presentation was my colleague, Barb Dreger, director of college marketing at Fox Valley Technical College in Wisconsin. Roughly 50 college executives came to the session with positive attitudes and a readiness to learn how colleges can include social media in their marketing mix. This strong showing should be encouraging to those of us in college marketing who are trying to get top executives to embrace social media as another way to advance the college brand. College Executives’ Views on Social Media This session provided a great opportunity to survey CEOs on their perceptions of social media and to what extent it is being used at their colleges. Overall, the ad hoc, unscientific survey revealed that while many two-year colleges are doing well with social media, many colleges still have a long way to go to engage the general public through these new communication channels. Here is what we found: n 95 percent of the respondents indicated that they believe social media provides a valuable opportunity for colleges; 5 percent were unsure. n 26 percent of the respondents said their colleges are using social media “very often,” while 67 percent said their colleges are using it “somewhat often.” (Wouldn’t it be more comforting if these two numbers were flipped?) n All of the respondents – 100 percent of them – indicated that they are open to using social media. The downside, however, is that 36 percent indicated that they are “not at all active” in social media at their colleges. n Only 18 percent of the respondents said they are confident that they are doing a better job with social media than the competition. (Perhaps more colleges are doing better, but the executive teams aren’t aware of it. Either way, there’s work to do here.)
How NCMPR Can Help If your college isn’t doing a very good job with social media, don’t panic. There are resources to help you get started or take things to the next level. Your first step: Turn to NCMPR. That’s exactly what I did. I credit NCMPR for prompting me to establish social media accounts and become more involved with it several years back. Indeed, social media has been a prevalent topic of programming since NCMPR identified it as a platform issue back in 2006-07. Just this past year, there were 14 sessions on social media at district and
While many two-year colleges are doing well with social media, many colleges still have a long way to go to engage the general public through these new communication channels. national conferences, including a keynote session by social media guru Peter Shankman, who opened NCMPR’s national conference in Philadelphia. Last month, NCMPR’s Summer Institute focused on social media as the new “word of mouth” and, over an intensive day-and-a-half, gave participants the tools to take their college’s social media strategies to the next level. NCMPR webinars have focused on the topic, and in the coming year, you can bet that the fall district conferences and the 2012 national conference in San Francisco will offer plenty more opportunities to enhance your knowledge of social media and its applications in today’s ever-changing marketing landscape. And keep in mind that although social media is top of mind, it isn’t NCMPR’s exclusive focus. Our organization offers a wide range of professional development opportunities on the latest trends in community college marketing and PR. It’s all designed to help you stay relevant as a community college communicator – and to help you say “I’ll get right on it” when your president asks you to “tweet” or “blog” about an important college issue. Kyle Schwarm firstname.lastname@example.org Executive Director, Statewide Marketing Wisconsin Technical College System Madison, WI
Contents Leading Like a Lion: Using Transformational Leadership to Build Stronger Creative Teams »4 Community colleges rely on creative teams to make their missions real for people through words, symbols and ingenuity. To be successful, it takes a team with heart. Cover Illustration ©iStockphoto.com
©Robert Pirola | Dreamstime.com
Tales From the Front Lines of an Integrated Marketing Campaign »6
District News »15
Harper College uses emerging technologies and social media to promote summertime programs. Lessons learned the first year pave the way for an improved version the second time around.
Maximize Your Media Buy: Mixing New and Traditional Media to Get Results »9 The buzz about new media has some folks scratching their heads when it comes to media buying. But there are some key aspects to consider that can help you mix new and traditional media affordably.
NCMPR’s districts announce their fall conferences.
2012 National Conference »16 Save the dates – March 11 to 14 – for next year’s NCMPR conference, “Golden Connection,” in San Francisco, Calif.
2011 Paragon Awards »16 NCMPR is seeking volunteers to serve as judging coordinators for this year’s Paragon competition. In addition, the call for entries is coming soon so start rounding up your finest creative work from the past year.
Making the Case for a New Media Specialist at Your College »12
in every issue
Hiring a new staff position dedicated to new media takes adequate research and justification to support the added expenditure, especially during these fiscally tight times.
On the National Front »14
President’s View »2
Counsel 2011 NCMPR Counsel © 2011 NCMPR. All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the publisher, NCMPR. Send all submissions to: Debra Halsey, Counsel Editor, 7516 La Madera NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109 505.828.4996 | email@example.com NCMPR Executive Director: Becky Olson, P.O. Box 336039, Greeley, CO 80633 | 970.330.0771 | firstname.lastname@example.org Design: Jeffrey Atwell
Leading Like a Lion: Using Transformational Leadership Theory to Support Stronger Creative Teams At community colleges, we’re educating minds, developing communities and inspiring dreams. We’re giving people a shot at a better life. This is good work – important work – but it would be less understood without the creative teams who support it. We rely on our creative teams to make missions real for people through words, symbols and ingenuity. And to be successful, we know it takes a team whose members do more than what their job descriptions say they should. It takes heart. How do you test for heart? Do you ask for evidence of it in the interview? Can you evaluate the size of it in an employee assessment? There is no litmus test for going above and beyond. But what you can do is create a culture in which creative teams become groups of people who are able to talk about, write about, make art about your college’s initiatives and products in ways that truly inspire. You can lead teams not just by supervising, but by transforming people to do tasks in a way that makes a difference. 4
Not Just Leading … Transforming The term “transformational leadership” was first coined by Pulitzer Prize winner and presidential biographer James MacGregor Burns in his 1978 book. From his study of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Burns detected a link between successful leadership and considerable skill in navigating what he called “lion, more than fox, tactics.” To Burns, someone who “led like a fox” was interested in transactional relationships with workers – a sort of “you do this for me, and I’ll reward you with that” style. But to lead like a lion was a very different prospect altogether. A lion symbolized a “transformational leader” – someone who, by the strength of a vision for what could be possible, and by the care for employees, could inspire people to realize a greater mission. Burns was onto something. In the last 30 years, communication researchers have elevated this idea to a theory that has stood the test of multiple organizational studies. Under a transformational leader, employees bring their heart and not just their skills. Consistently, they put more thought into solving problems; they help co-workers even when they don’t have to; and they find new opportunities to talk about the organization positively. More simply put, when employees feel like they are really a part of the vision, they put themselves into producing great, creative work. And, according to the research, going that extra mile doesn’t just benefit the organization – it makes employees happier.
Learning How to be a Transformational Leader Here’s the really good news. You can work on this – it is not simply an innate quality found in a few “really good” leaders. In fact, there are four characteristics that define transformational leaders, all of which can be directly applied to supporting our creative teams. Idealized Influence “Idealized influence” is about showing personal support for the mission. When leaders give people the chance to see and hear their belief in the organization, people get engaged. According to the research, leaders are seen as “charismatic” just by telling their personal stories about why they come to work every day. Application: Do you tell the story of what college meant in your own life? Do you go to basketball games, graduation, plays and other college events?
Think about leaders who made a difference in your own life. Did you not see them living what they were trying to lead? At Portland Community College (PCC), one of the most powerful stories our president tells is how a $600 scholarship to community college set him on the path to where he is today. It is that personal story that inspires others to think about what the college actually does for people in a way a written report cannot. Inspirational Motivation “Inspirational motivation” goes beyond conveying the ideals of your organization’s brand. Transformational leaders inspire employees when they not only convey the vision, but help employees see how their work makes a direct and specific contribution to that vision. Application: Do you take time to tell employees how their individual creative work contributed to the bigger idea? One tactic that I’ve found helpful is to keep a file of “cabinet-level news” (news about college-wide initiatives I learn about at manager meetings) and then bring that news to our creative-team staff meetings. I try to not just share the news, but make a few notes about how that news affects us, and how our future work will make a difference to that initiative’s success. Intellectual Stimulation Creative teams are supposed to, well, be creative. But updating a class schedule is more about using creative tools. Real creativity is about solving new problems with ingenuity, strategy and surprise. Transformational leaders provide their workers with “intellectual stimulation.” Application: Do you challenge your team to look at routine tasks in new ways? More importantly, do you bring real, substantive challenges their way and depend on them for solutions? The PCC marketing office is often faced with complex communication challenges, and we are more successful when we make time to involve the full team. Several times a year, we go off campus (sometimes to somebody’s living room), bring food, butcher paper, sticky notes and markers, and engage everyone in the brainstorm. One that we’ve used quite successfully is scenario planning – in which three teams work on the problem backwards, writing a “story” about a positive outcome, a negative outcome and a neutral outcome. Then we gather back together as a full group and see what insights we can glean. Individualized Consideration Transformational leaders provide ongoing support through “individualized consideration” of each person they supervise. This calls for truly seeing people as individuals, offering personal coaching and encouragement – showing that you really believe your staff member can make a personal difference, and supporting him or her in doing so. Application: Do you meet with your team regularly? We have a format for personal coaching meetings called “one-on-ones.” For one half-hour, we sit down for the pure purpose of connecting – and not solely about projects but about our goals and lives too. For the first 10 minutes, the staff member talks about whatever he wants; for the second 10, the supervisor talks and offers feedback; and then for the third 10, we make a plan for moving forward. It’s a simple device, but going through the ritual regularly has strengthened our office relationships. As an employee, the coaching I’ve received in my own one-on-ones with our marketing manager has been invaluable in helping me solve problems and get encouragement to keep working on goals.
Everyone Can be Lions One of the most interesting aspects about transformational leadership theory is that researchers have had a hard time determining whether leaders predict employees who work with more heart – or whether employees who work with more heart cause their leaders to be “transformational.” We only know that the two variables exist together. In other words, maybe both parties – leaders and workers – can play the part of the lion. At Portland Community College, our marketing team has had the privilege of working on many successful campaigns. But as I look around at the people I work for and supervise, I credit a full pride of lions. Jennifer Boehmer supervises the creative team as assistant marketing manager for Portland Community College, the largest postsecondary institution in Oregon enrolling 93,000 people annually. In the last four years, her team has won six Paragon Awards, including two more golds this year. Boehmer’s previous experience includes public relations and marketing for local, regional and national organizations. She is currently a graduate student in communication at the University of Portland. Much of the ideas presented in this article are based on a recent social science project she conducted for school. If you’d like more information about the research referenced here, email her at email@example.com.
Jennifer Boehmer firstname.lastname@example.org Assistant Marketing Manager Portland Community College Portland, OR
Tales From the Front Lines of an Integrated Marketing Campaign “The best laid plans of mice and men go oft awry.” No matter how well you design your marketing campaign, something unexpected will happen, sometimes for the better, but often for the worse. Within the realms of marketing, no place is perhaps more likely to throw you a curveball than the “Wild West” of emerging technologies and social media. Enter the Harper College summer campaign, which involved direct mail, email, online advertising, Web, Facebook, Twitter, mobile, QR codes, cinema, SMS/text messaging, on-campus displays and banners, internal marketing, media coverage, summer transfer university advertising and a YouTube video competition. Harper had never done anything quite like it before. Hopes were high, but expectation meters were set to “modest success.” Harper plunged forward, come what may. High Hopes, Modest Expectations “Modest success” was precisely the right thing to expect for the inaugural 2010 campaign. Similar to other campaigns relying heavily on social media, the Harper College summer campaign was not a runaway viral success its first time around – but the planning and strategies behind it established a foundation for an improved version the following year. It also provided valuable learning experiences about some of the new communications channels, including SMS/text messaging, QR codes and YouTube. What Do You Mean, Double Opt-in? Today’s students text. A lot. It would make sense, then, to meet them where they’re at and provide SMS/text messaging options to obtain more information about Harper College, right? Using a short code number, students could receive a short message or link to a mobile website, maybe even an inquiry form they could fill out for more information. 6
This display for cinema and on-campus distribution promotes Harper College’s YouTube competition for summer 2011.
Both of these pieces — a flier (left) and a vinyl banner (right) — were used to promote Harper College’s YouTube competition for summer 2011.
It was rather simple to find a vendor to provide SMS/text messaging services, but the further things progressed, the more it became apparent that this was anything but simple. First came the surprise of a “double opt-in.” The Can Spam Act, which extends to SMS/text, generally encourages marketers to adopt a second confirmation step before an opt-in is considered complete. In this case, this vendor required not only confirmation, but a ZIP code, as well. But there were other surprises in store: If students refused the double opt-in, they were directed to other local services or offerings by the vendor. Moreover, any opt-ins were owned by the vendor, and the database would never be provided to Harper College. The blessing in disguise for Harper was that only two short code submissions were received, and neither opted in. From this experience, Harper learned that texting students doesn’t appear to work very well in an integrated marketing campaign, and a recent Noel-Levitz report supports this. The 2010 study, “Focusing Your E-Recruitment Efforts to Meet the Expectations of College-Bound Students,” indicated that although 78 percent of students reported text message use, 67 percent said they did not want college representatives contacting them via text. Only 9 percent identified texting as a means of learning more about a school they are considering. Those Funny Black-and-White Squares By now, you’ve probably seen, and maybe even scanned, a QR code from the side of a building, in a magazine, on a business card, from an online www.ncmpr.org
profile pic or even from a T-shirt. Their power is two-fold: They provide a means to track the success of print pieces, and they offer considerable flexibility in terms of added content. QR codes can immediately provide contact information, launch a phone number or text message, link to a video online, download files and more. Even so, management of a QR code campaign can be tricky. URLs built specifically for Google Analytics become long and bulky, resulting in codes that are more complex and thus more difficult to scan. Passing each of those codes
Within the realms of marketing, no place is perhaps more likely to throw you a curveball than the “Wild West” of emerging technologies and social media. through a URL shortener like bit.ly is timeconsuming. And that’s to say nothing about going back through for post-campaign analysis. Services like those provided by http://qrpro.co.uk make QR implementation and management much easier by offering a complete service that will generate unique codes based on a single URL and track the number of scans for each code. Uh-oh … my YouTube Views are Frozen For the YouTube video competition, Harper encouraged students to upload videos explaining how they planned to use the summer to help (continues on next page) 7
Integrated Marketing Campaign (continued from previous page) them achieve some personal, academic or professional goal. The student whose video got the most views would receive a $1,500 scholarship to Harper College. YouTube is an awesome platform for making one’s voice heard. It is, however, far from perfect, particularly when it must bear the weight of a competition on its shoulders. Last year’s summer campaign involved its own challenges, some of which were resolved by changes to the way YouTube itself works. This year brought a shockingly easy, updated process: Students simply uploaded a video response to Harper College’s original promotional video for the summer campaign. However, campaign under way and video submissions rolling in, certain videos would mysteriously become stuck at approximately 300 views. Other videos would magically start at about 300 to 400 views. Some deep sleuthing through the dungeons of the YouTube forums brought to light a flaw inherent in the system, of which YouTube is fully cognizant but has done nothing to rectify. In short, videos often start at or freeze in the 300 to 400 view range, sometimes for only a number of hours, other times for up to a week or more. Unfortunately, there was nothing that Harper College could do to resolve the situation. Right on the heels of this problem came another one about software which routes views through proxy IP addresses and constantly refreshes an Internet browser in order to cheat YouTube into counting multiple views of the same video. Again, the college had no way of delineating real from “fake” views, and given the extent to which some participants were promoting themselves on Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels, their sudden increases in views could have been perfectly valid. Fortunately, the contest rules and guidelines had absolved Harper College from any technical malfunction on the part of YouTube. Even so, Harper will probably avoid this issue entirely for future competitions and no longer base winning criteria purely on number of public views. Patience is a Virtue The bottom line? Patience is a virtue, and as with every marketing cycle, it’s a learning process. The inaugural year’s modest success taught Harper College what worked well and what didn’t work at all. The follow-up campaign has proven to be exponentially more successful, resulting in significant increases in overall leads collected, the number of video submissions uploaded to YouTube, the total number of YouTube views across all student-generated videos, and QR usage. Current success aside, there are still things that worked, things that didn’t and ways to improve. In true marketing fashion, analysis will begin, final results will be tabulated, the cycle will roll over, and the machine will start grinding away in preparation for 2012.
This shows Harper College’s YouTube channel with summer 2011 contest entries in the right-hand “Favorites” list.
As strategic marketing specialist at Harper College, Marc Westenburg develops initiatives and materials to promote Harper within three markets – first time in college (traditional aged); influencer (parents, high school counselors and advisers); and minority. He also specializes in new media and emerging technologies. Previously, he worked as director of external relations for Istituto Lorenzo de’ Medici, a private Italian university with campuses in Florence, Rome, Tuscania and Venice. Westenburg is currently working toward a master’s degree in higher education administration from Robert Morris University. You can find him on Twitter at twitter.com/mwestenburg.
Marc Westenburg email@example.com Strategic Marketing Specialist Harper College Palatine, IL
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Maximize Your Media Buy: Mixing New and Traditional Media to Get Results
With media budgets shrinking, traditional media is no longer the only option to consider when your school is embarking on a new campaign. Adding new media to your mix is easier than you think – and you can easily track it.
The buzz about new media has some folks scratching their heads when it comes to media buying. But there are some key aspects to consider that can help you mix new and traditional media affordably. When planning a campaign, begin with media options that work well for your institution. Media markets vary, and it’s important to know what channels perform best and provide the best access to your target audience. For example, if you’re tracking print advertising and it’s still an effective way to reach parents, grandparents, careerchangers and stakeholders, keep using it. However, don’t overlook the changing scope of news and how readers access it. (continues on next page) www.ncmpr.org
The buzz about new media has some folks scratching their heads when it comes to media buying. But there are some key aspects to consider that can help you mix new and traditional media affordably. 9
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Maximize Your Media Buy (continued from previous page) Newspapers: Print and Online Options With more multimedia content finding its way online, consider some of the alternative options your daily or weekly newspaper provides. Does the paper have an online version? Can you combine digital and print ads in your package? Ask the newspaper to provide statistics for its online readers to determine if there is a target market better suited for online advertising than traditional methods. Do you have a specialized program you need to promote? A targeted ad in a special section might prove more beneficial than a generic ad on the newspaper’s home page. For example, place ads for a performing arts program in the arts and entertainment section of the newspaper’s website. Looking to promote your athletics programs and increase attendance at events? Place your ad in the online sports section. If you’re seeking to promote registration or increase brand awareness, your best option is to place banner or poster-sized digital ads in the top stories or breaking news sections. These are the sections the newspaper promotes through its social media channels, daily emails and home page. Outdoor Advertising Outdoor and transit advertising are great for quick messages targeted at a broad audience. Think about your service area. Are there highvolume traffic zones? Could you reach a larger number of commuters with an outdoor or transit ad versus a print ad that runs once or twice a week? Companies that operate outdoor media can provide helpful statistics, including average vehicle impressions per month. For an outdoor ad, consider creating a custom URL or splash page for a campaign to attract new visitors to your site. This will help measure the effectiveness of the ad while enlightening your community about a new degree program, event or athletics. TV or Cable Broadcast television advertising can be costly in large markets. However, if you live in an area 10
with a regional affiliate, the cost for commercials is considerably less. Most local television stations also have a creative services team that can assist with production. If broadcast TV isn’t an affordable option, you should strongly consider cable. With hundreds of cable networks, each with a defined audience, your message can be specifically targeted on networks that provide programming content that matches your college’s key programs or has viewers that reflect the demographic profile of your prospects. An added advantage of cable is the Internet service that most companies provide. Consider packaging television commercials with linked online ads on an email login page, for example. Online Advertising Online advertising offers the advantages of customization, engagement, immediacy, interactivity and tracking capability. The most common formats are banner advertisements and keyword advertising. Online tools allow you to fine-tune the reach of your advertising by selecting demographics, geographic location and interests of your audience. Mobile formats offer the same alternatives. Check with your local newspaper and radio stations to see if they provide an option to advertise on their smart phone apps or mobile sites. When investing in online advertising, consider how you want to pay. Do you want to pay for impression-based advertising or do you want to pay per click? Impression advertising is a good format for raising the awareness for your school’s brand, specialized programs, events and registration. This is similar to outdoor/transit where vehicle impressions are measured based on the location of a billboard. You pay for the number of impressions you can afford and are not charged if the user clicks through. A possible disadvantage to impression-based advertising is site traffic. If it is a popular website, your impressions (25,000, 50,000 or more per week) may be used up before your campaign’s end date. An alternative is pay-per-click (PPC) or pay-for-performance online advertising. This is a better option for a sustained campaign, especially if you’re testing different messages or running multiple campaigns at once. For this option, you pay for each user who clicks on your ad. Don’t panic, you’re not going to drain your budget within the first day. With PPC, you can set a daily budget based on a prescribed bid price. For example, in August, you want to run a last-push campaign for three weeks using PPC ads on Facebook. Your budget is $500. Playing it conservatively, you set a daily budget of $20 and bid an ad cost of $1. This allows for 20 Facebook users to click through before you max out your budget each day. Each day, you can monitor the traffic. If you’re maxing out within the first
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two to three days of the campaign, you still have budget available to increase the daily cap. If the campaign is underperforming you might want to consider increasing the bid price of your ad so it will show up more often on your targeted audience’s Facebook accounts. With PPC, the budget can be adjusted; you can reset your bid price; you can track in real time; and more importantly, impressions cost you nothing. Don’t Forget About “Added Value” Added value is a key component that can help gain extra awareness during a campaign. Media vendors should reward your institution as an appreciated advertiser. If you’re consistently running advertisements with a radio station, there is a good chance you can stretch your dollars by asking for extra spots, an online ad or perhaps an in-studio appearance from a college representative. When negotiating your campaign, ask what added value the station has to offer. They may be willing to place an ad on their website or feature your school as a sponsor for news, weather, traffic or include some of your school’s branded merchandise as a giveaway. Tracking If you choose to place digital ads, consider using a specific URL or URL parameter. Tagging URLs with a question mark followed by a tracking code can help you when analyzing campaign performance through a free product like Google Analytics. If you’re linking your ad to your college’s home page and want to track how the ad is performing, here’s how to format the link: www. yourcollegewebsite.edu?fall2011newspaper or www.yourcollegewebsite.edu?fall2011radio. Using a Media Buyer Planning and negotiating your media buy takes time. If you have the financial resources, a media buying service can make the process easier. The fee structure for agencies varies, but most charge 10 to 12 percent on gross advertising costs. If you’re paying more, find a new agency. www.ncmpr.org
When hiring a media buyer, choose one with higher education experience or one that has worked with nonprofit clients. Use the NCMPR listserv to get recommendations from your NCMPR peers locally, regionally or nationally. Use an RFP process, and create a campaign “exercise” in it to see if the agencies that respond really know your market. In your RFP, ask for a fully detailed cost breakdown of fees, campaign planning timelines and your direct point of contact at the firm. Just a Few Tweaks Works Media is changing, budgets are dwindling, and marketing and communication departments are being challenged to provide measurable results. A few tweaks to your integrated marketing communications planning, a shift in your spending, and some creative media buying solutions should increase the overall effectiveness of your institution’s campaigns. Geoffrey Pettifer is the director of college marketing for Atlantic Cape Community College. He has won national and regional awards for marketing campaigns, publications and special events, and as a team leader, plays a key role in the design, development and launch of new media marketing strategies for Atlantic Cape Community College.
Geoffrey Pettifer firstname.lastname@example.org Director of College Marketing Atlantic Cape Community College Mays Landing, NJ
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Making the Case for a New Media Specialist at Your College
i Building a case to include a new media specialist as part of your college’s marketing team requires a thoughtful and practical approach. 12
t’s not always easy to convince college leaders to embrace those seemingly risky – but often necessary – marketing changes of today to better position ourselves for the future. The ongoing challenge of any college marketing professional is to stay on top of trends, know your customers, creatively think outside the box, and get buy-in from key decision makers on campus. And when it comes to hiring new staff, it requires adequate research and justification to support the added expenditure, especially during these fiscally difficult times. For sure, new trends in media are changing so quickly that even the field experts are not able to stay on top of it all. Higher education is beginning to embrace the nuances of new media but hasn’t been the quickest industry to realize its potential power and implications as a component of the overall marketing mix. Times are changing, however, and marketing leaders at colleges and universities must educate administrators about the new media trends that are beginning to influence the institution’s overall impact on student enrollment, retention and the bottom line. Building a case to include a new media specialist as part of your college’s marketing team requires a thoughtful and practical approach. Mount Wachusett Community College (MWCC) recently went through this process and succeeded in convincing its leaders to approve an additional support person to focus specifically on new media strategies, implementation and analysis. Do Your Homework, Get the Facts and Educate So is it social media or new media? That is the first hurdle for the marketing team to confront when beginning to build the case for specialized help. “Certainly, someone on the marketing staff can do social media as a part of their existing job, right? After all, it is just another media tool. What’s this person going to do all day ... watch Facebook and makes posts?” These are just some of the comments that marketing folks will hear from those less informed about the new media trend. Mistakenly, some consider social media as a simple add-on marketing tool, like another ad in the paper or another simple news release. The
fact of the matter is that new media is so much more and requires a technological skill set that is specific, time-consuming and a necessary component of today’s marketing environment. In a nutshell, social media is only one component of new media, just as radio is one component of the more traditional mix. Social media, however, requires constant real-time monitoring and usage with technological expertise that is synonymous of all new media today. But people only know what they know, so educate them. Gather up all your references and disseminate informative articles and best practices from industry periodicals. Research various consumer behavior statistics across higher
education, technology and marketing. Conduct your own surveys and find out how your targeted audiences are acquiring information. The more empirical evidence you obtain and disseminate, and the more that people understand the marketing world and the changes occurring with communication and technology, the better prepared they will be to appreciate your case position. (See sidebar for a list of recommended sources.) Provide Evidence of ROI – Pilot a Social Media Campaign The next hurdle is to prove that a return on investment is probable. First, assess current outcomes of traditional marketing strategies and reallocate a portion of funds from your budget to pilot a social media campaign that is measurable from an outcomes standpoint and with a potential costs savings in comparison to current traditional media strategies. Whether you hire a consultant to put the social media campaign into place or have some internal resources to do this, a piloted strategy that displays practical evidence is a small investment toward validating the case to hire someone who specifically strategizes and implements more of such positive outcomes. For example, at Mount Wachusett Community College, $1,000 of a $4,000 budget typically used for newspaper advertising was reallocated to support an online campaign that was tracked using Google AdWords, Facebook, and various URLs that linked media usage to website activity. Within two weeks, the campaign results yielded a measurable 22 times more people viewing the online advertisements as compared with newspaper estimated impressions; and the online campaign directed over 525 people to our website and increased website traffic from Facebook by at least 47 percent. Furthermore, the Facebook and Google AdWords strategies increased new visitors from these sources to the MWCC website by 96 percent and 60 percent, respectively. Had we used the originally planned $4,000 for the two-week campaign using traditional newspaper media, we would have only estimated our reach of about 70,000 impressions with no concrete means to target our audiences or measure our effectiveness. After completing the experimental campaign, prepare a marketing brief for executive members of the college that summarizes the strategy, its purpose, findings, cost analysis and recommendations. Not only will this briefing help keep key constituents of the college informed and build relationships, it will also show due diligence on the part of marketing to appreciate the overall fiscal concerns of the college and help substantiate the value of a needed investment. Align Strategies With the College’s Strategic Plan Next, it is imperative that marketing strategies be in alignment with the college’s overall goals and objectives. When strategies are developed in this way, true integrated marketing exists. Take the time to become familiar with the college’s long-term strategic plans and its enrollment goals, as well as its commitment to technology advancement. Being able to directly correlate the positive outcomes of hiring a new media person with the measurable objectives of the college is most definitely a supportive argument for any case. Develop Relationships and Credibility Finally, develop positive relationships with as many people on campus as possible, especially your president and executive team members. Building trust and credibility around your marketing expertise is extremely helpful in moving new initiatives forward. Within our institutions, there are many “experts” among us, but it is critical that you’re recognized as the primary marketing guru on campus. This respect can be earned by educating yourself and others, engaging in consistent communication, and highlighting samples of success when given responsibility and adequate support. It is a process and it takes time; but at the end of the day, it is so worth it!
sources used by Mount Wachusett Community College Pew Research Center, Millennials: Confident. Connected. Open to Change. 2010; http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1501/ millennials-new-survey-generationalpersonality-upbeat-open-new-ideastechnology-bound Rueben, Rachel. The Use of Social Media in Higher Education for Marketing and Communications: A Guide for Professionals in Higher Education. (2008). Whitepaper.; http://doteduguru.com/id423-socialmedia-uses-higher-education-marketingcommunication.html JupiterResearch Finds That 48 Percent of Brand Marketers Plan to Use Social Tactics in the New Term; www.redorbit.com/news/ technology/866700/jupiterresearch_ finds_that_48_percent_of_brand_ marketers_plan_to/index.html As vice president of marketing and communications at Mount Wachusett Community College, Robin Duncan is a member of the college’s executive team and has more than 20 years of experience as a business consultant and marketing professional for profit and nonprofit organizations. Over the past 15 years, she has developed and marketed a number of community and business programs for MWCC. Duncan has a master’s in business administration from Anna Maria College and a bachelor’s degree in marketing management from the State University of New York with additional postgraduate work from the Anderson School of Management at UCLA and the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.
Robin Duncan email@example.com Vice President of Marketing and Communications Mount Wachusett Community College, Gardner, MA
On the National Front
10 Trends Predicting the future can be tricky business, especially when so many of the decision “levers” are beyond one’s control, as is often the case with community colleges. Management guru Peter Drucker observed, “Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window.” But trying to anticipate what lies ahead for community colleges can still be a useful exercise, and it may provide helpful context as you ponder your next marketing move or your next budgeting decision. The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) recently identified 10 trends that current indicators suggest will significantly affect our institutions for the foreseeable future. Credit for the list goes to AACC Senior Vice President David Baime as lead prognosticator. For a more granular analysis of AACC’s “The Future Landscape for Community Colleges,” see www.aacc.nche.edu. Pressure to serve ever-more students will continue. Employment experts project that two-thirds of new jobs over the next seven years will require some postsecondary education. That need will be fueled by continued growth of and changes in technology at every level of society. Institutional financing will be of paramount concern. Fiscal constraints will be the “new normal,” requiring actions beyond such traditional cost-saving measures as restricted travel or larger classes. At the same time, the need to serve more students puts more pressure on support activities – so-called “wrap-around” services. Public funding will remain stagnant at best. Educational appropriations per FTE at public institutions, in constant 2010 dollars, are the lowest since that figure has been recorded (1985). Federal funding is likely to decrease in the near term. A broad, multifaceted mission will be assumed. As the relatively inexpensive, flexible providers of postsecondary education, community colleges will continue to be viewed as the workhorses of higher ed and may be asked to do more.
Affecting Community Colleges for the Foreseeable Future
The student population is changing and becoming harder to serve. More students will come from underrepresented minority groups; from 2008 to 2019, enrollment in degreegranting institutions will be up 30 percent for African American students and 45 percent for Hispanic students. Accountability demands will sharpen, with continuing emphasis on completion. With local and state economies under stress, institutions receiving direct public subsidies will be the subject of greater scrutiny. Student preparation will remain an acute problem – perhaps the biggest facing institutions. Close to 60 percent of entering community college students are underprepared to do college work, and K-12 reform efforts are not likely to ameliorate that significantly.
Trying to anticipate what lies ahead for community colleges can still be a useful exercise, and it may provide helpful context as you ponder your next marketing move or your next budgeting decision.
Competition will become keener. Both forprofit and nontraditional education providers will continue to expand. Better alignment with other educational institutions is needed and will be expected. Community colleges must help move the needle in K-12 reform and improve transfer between two-year and four-year institutions. Leadership development presents significant challenges. Retirements of community college presidents and senior administrators will continue to accelerate over the next five to 10 years. Finding diverse and appropriately skilled leaders will be challenging, fueling recruitment from fields outside of education.
Norma Kent firstname.lastname@example.org Vice President of Communications American Association of Community Colleges Washington, D.C.
District News Districts Announce Fall Conferences NCMPR’s district conferences provide a great opportunity for district members to meet with colleagues from neighboring states and get a good dose of professional development. To learn details about your district conference, go to NCMPR’s website (www.ncmpr.org) and click on “District Connections.” Each district has its own pages with information about conference programming, registration and fees, hotel accommodations and the district Medallion Awards competition. Here are the dates and locations for this year’s conferences: District 1: Nov. 13-15 Baltimore, Maryland Contact: Ron Taber, District 1 Director Northern Essex Community College, MA (978) 556-3954 email@example.com District 2: Oct. 16-19 Atlanta, Georgia Contact: Terri Giltner, District 2 Director Kentucky Community and Technical College System, KY (859) 256-3186 firstname.lastname@example.org District 3: Oct. 24-26 Detroit, Michigan Contact: Mae Hanna, District 3 Director University of CincinnatiClermont College, OH (513) 732-5332 email@example.com
District 5: Sept. 25-27 Omaha, Nebraska Contact: Jim Strayer, District 5 Director Central Community College, NE (308) 398-7355 firstname.lastname@example.org District 6: March 12, 2012 San Francisco, California (Medallion Dinner Only) Contact: Amber Chiang, District 6 Director Bakersfield College, CA (661) 395-4256 email@example.com District 7: Oct. 12-14 Tacoma, Washington Contact: Janet Paulson, District 7 Director Clackamas Community College, OR (503) 594-3162 firstname.lastname@example.org
Districts Issue Call for Pacesetter and Communicator Nominations Each of NCMPR’s seven districts is seeking nominations for the 2011 district Pacesetter and Communicator awards. Both awards recognize outstanding leadership in community college marketing and public relations. The Pacesetter Award goes to a college president or CEO. The Communicator Award goes to a marketing and PR professional among NCMPR’s membership ranks. Eligibility guidelines are available online, and the nomination forms and supporting documents can all be completed online and sent directly to the national office. Go to NCMPR’s website at www.ncmpr.org, click on “District Connections” and then your district page. District winners will be announced at their fall district conferences. The winners then go on to compete for the national Communicator and Pacesetter awards, which will be announced at NCMPR’s 2012 national conference in San Francisco, Calif.
District 4: Oct. 2-5 Dallas, Texas Contact: Sonya Spencer, District 4 Director Cedar Valley College, TX (972) 860-8142 email@example.com
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Important Information About the 2011 Paragon Awards Call for Judging Coordinators NCMPR is seeking volunteers to serve as judging coordinators for the 2011 Paragon Awards. It’s a great way for you to get more involved in NCMPR! Judging coordinators are assigned to take three to four award categories – ones which they and their colleges are not entering – and round up judges to evaluate and score the entries. For each category, two to three judges are needed, and they should be “outside experts,” NOT peers within our community college network. The national office provides support throughout the judging process. All Paragon entries are submitted to the national office, which processes them, sorts them by category, distributes them to judging coordinators with detailed instructions, and covers all shipping costs. The judging takes place between mid-November and mid-December. If you’d like to volunteer to serve as a judging coordinator, contact Shirley Medbery at (970) 330-0771 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Call for Entries While on the subject of Paragons, start thinking about what creative work you want to enter in this year’s competition. By planning ahead, you can take advantage of the early-bird entry deadline and get $5 off each entry. The Paragon Awards competition is the only one of its kind that honors excellence in communications exclusively among marketing and PR professionals at two-year colleges. NCMPR will issue its annual call for entries in September for creative work completed between Oct. 1, 2010, and Sept. 30, 2011. Watch your mail and the NCMPR website (www.ncmpr.org) for more information. The early-bird deadline is Oct. 15; the drop-dead deadline is Nov. 1.
Save the Date: NCMPR’s 2012 National Conference is March 11-14 NCMPR’s 2012 conference provides a golden opportunity to connect with some of the latest trends in community college marketing and PR and make lasting connections with colleagues across the country. And what better setting than San Francisco – the “City by the Bay” known for its spectacular sights and scenery and iconic attractions like the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown and Alcatraz. The 2012 conference takes place March 11 to 14 at the historic, turn-of-the-century Fairmont San Francisco. The hotel’s location high atop Nob Hill offers panoramic views of the city and the bay. Its central location also offers convenient access – by foot or by cable car – to a host of city attractions, including Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39, Ghirardelli Square, Union Square, theaters, museums and so much more.