Navigating the Maze: Marketing to Students or University Faculties?

Navigating the Maze: Marketing to Students or University Faculties?

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As digital marketers in the realm of higher education, we must pinpoint our target audience accurately; are we aiming our efforts primarily at the students themselves, or are we more concerned with catching the attention of university faculties? At Education Cubed, this question is not just a matter of semantics but a strategic cornerstone in our mission to facilitate meaningful connections between prospective students and universities.

What is our goal at Education Cubed?

Our primary objective is clear: to create compelling touch points across various channels that resonate with prospective undergraduate and postgraduate students, both nationally and internationally, and ultimately drive them to choose a specific university. However, reaching this audience presents its own set of challenges in an era where attention spans are short and digital noise is deafening.

Consider this: the average prospective student spends a staggering six hours a day on social media and digital platforms – flicking from one app to another, bouncing from Instagram to TikTok, from TikTok to Twitch, from Twitch to Snapchat. This statistic represents a golden opportunity for us to leverage these channels for maximum exposure and engagement. Yet, amidst the cacophony of vibrant brands vying for attention, university advertising often falls short of capturing the imagination of young minds. Static posts of students lounging under trees simply don’t cut it in a landscape dominated by dynamic, bite-sized content.

How can we ensure our message resonates with our audience?

What our audience craves is authenticity, transparency, and a no-nonsense approach. They devour short-form, snappy content that aligns with their values and speaks to their aspirations. While educational and informative content remains essential in their decision-making process, it doesn’t have to be dull. Instead, it should offer a glimpse into the vibrant student lifestyle that awaits them in bustling cities like Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, and Bristol, the courses that are offered and the skills they will learn that can be transferable to their future careers.

So, how do we ensure our message resonates with this discerning audience? The answer lies in embracing new channels and reimagining our content to be more engaging and exciting. While traditional platforms like Facebook, Google Search, and LinkedIn have their place, they may not be the most effective in capturing the attention of today’s students. We need to think beyond the conventional and explore emerging platforms where students are actively engaged and interacting.

Time to think outside the box: New ways of talking to our audience

In today’s saturated digital landscape, the average person encounters an overwhelming barrage of over 10,000 advertisements daily. While traditional platforms like Meta, Google and LinkedIn have their place in media plans, they may not be the most effective in capturing the attention and engagement of today’s students – we need to think beyond the conventional and explore emerging platforms where students are actively interacting.

Amidst this cacophony of marketing messages, higher education institutions must cut through the noise and capture the attention of their target audience effectively. That’s where strategic digital marketing comes into play. By strategically leveraging social media platforms frequented by both undergraduates and postgraduates, universities can position themselves where their audience spends a significant portion of their time online. It’s about more than just being present on these platforms; it’s about speaking the language of today’s students, engaging with them authentically, and offering content that resonates with their interests and aspirations.

The power of creativity and innovation: OOH

Universities need to create both digital and print marketing materials that speak to the prospective undergraduate and postgraduate students – giving them something to think about, something to learn about and something that will excite them, igniting their curiosity and enthusiasm.

Take, for instance, the University of Wollongong in Australia, whose marketing materials on ‘Social Work and Law’ directly engage students, inspiring them to effect positive change by tackling real-world issues. Similarly, the University of Plymouth challenges aspiring scholars to confront global challenges head-on, such as addressing the question of how to feed 6.9 billion people. This proactive approach encourages students to envision the impact of their studies on broader societal issues. In contrast, the University of Leicester employs a more personal touch, sharing students’ stories to illustrate the tangible transformations that their education facilitates. This transparent and authentic approach offers a glimpse into how academic pursuits translate into real-world applications, resonating deeply with prospective students seeking meaningful and impactful educational experiences.

Our final thoughts on navigating the education maze

Navigating the landscape of marketing to students or university faculties requires a nuanced approach that balances authenticity, relevance, and impact. Whether it’s captivating prospective students with compelling narratives of social change, challenging them to tackle global issues, or showcasing the transformative power of education through personal stories, effective marketing strategies must resonate deeply with their target audience. By understanding the unique aspirations, concerns, and motivations of students and faculty alike, universities can cultivate meaningful connections and drive engagement that transcends the traditional boundaries of academia. In this dynamic journey of exploration and discovery, embracing creativity, empathy, and innovation remains paramount to successfully navigating the maze of university marketing.



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