Higher educationonly high consideration, high involvement product in which the date of purchase is known. Higher education knows that someone has until January 15th to buy the undergraduate version.
Think about that for a minute.
At the high end, the product is $250K and the buyers and sellers all know the date of purchase. Everyone knows who the purchaser is, and when the purchase decision is being made. Many are on Facebook spending hundreds in an online auction on the SAME people, telling them the same thing: we have small class sizes, offer off-campus study, have a tree you can study under, and a professor who does class outside.
The problem is, most schools don’t think they need to sell. They don’t think it is a product.
The mission is higher.
The mission is to make better adults, to generate a love for learning. There’s often a 1000+ word mission statement, on a ridiculously obtuse website, about what the school wants to do, and how it makes a difference. I’ve seen the data on this, and no one looks, or cares.
I’m not here to tell you the missions is wrong, I think it is right. I’m here to tell you that the communications department needs a different mission.
Think back 25 years: one can imagine an editor and someone who can work a fax being the comms department, The team was responsible for an alumni magazine and a press releases faxed to the press about something or other that the school did. It is called news, and in an era where there were newspapers, news was important.
Schools had an alumni magazine, it was said, because alumni are interested in news.
The comms department might have helped with the view book, and they might have helped with the DM packages from advancement, but this is back at a time before higher education budget bloat, when the IT department was still 5 people with overhead projectors.
Fast forward to the first stage of the internet, and higher education got its first website, and the first major expansion of staff. More IT people, more comms people. The mission of IT was to support faculty in the mission. And maybe help with this website thing, but maybe not. It was school specific.
What is the website for, asked no one.
Admissions or advancement? Dean of Faculty? Dean of college?
As pages got added to the website, staff was added in IT and comms.