1 Guide to marketing University of Glasgow Corporate Communications 3 The Square Glasgow G12 8QQ
2 2 Introduction One of the easiest mistakes to make when thinking about marketing or promotion, is to bypass the fundamental questions of: what are you trying to do? who are your audiences? how are you going to get there? how are you going to measure your success? Instead an automatic tendency is jump straight into the mode of We need a poster. A poster might be a good idea, but have you thought of what it will contain, how it will be distributed and whether it is really the right thing to do in the first place? The following pages are intended to give you some guidance, not just about your promotional material but also the more fundamental area of marketing planning. They also indicate who you can approach for help. Although you will find some information here relevant to recruitment, this document is not specifically aimed at recruitment marketing. We hope you find this information useful. If you have any queries, or would like to suggest additions to this material, please contact: Fiona Duncan Corporate Communications Telephone:
3 3 Creating a marketing plan Coming up with marketing or promotional ideas can often be reactionary and treated in isolation - numbers are down, we need to do this, rather than adopting a planned approach over a 12 month period or longer. Although preparing the background takes some time, planning is essential if you are to make things work. Planning helps you to: identify where you are and where you want to be; clarify how you are going to achieve your objectives; get buy-in from everyone involved; gives you time to think about what you need to do in good time; saves panic and the rabbit-in-the-headlights approach. Stage 1 Where are we now? Assessing the current position Before embarking on any marketing or promotional campaign, it is useful to spend some time drawing up an overview of where your department or service stands currently. This will help inform the decisions you make later on in the process and is a useful way to make sure that everyone involved in the project is in agreement from the start about what you are trying to do. The questions below serve as a guide to collating this information. You may have some of it already in other plans or reports, the rest you can draw together through discussions with colleagues and some desk research. Step 1 Where are you now? 1. What does your service or department do? 2. What are your strengths and weaknesses? Carry out a SWOT analysis which indicates your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. 3. What are the objectives of your department or service? 4. Have you any agreed KPIs in place?
4 4 5. What do your current students (for customers) think of you? What do they think are your strengths and weaknesses? How satisfied are they with the services you provide? How effective are you in meeting their needs? How do they see their needs changing in the short and long terms future? How prepared are you to meet their needs? What methods for collecting and analysing feedback are in place? Do you act on the feedback you are given? Do you report back progress to those students who have given you feedback? Step 2 Your competitors 1. Who are your competitors? 2. What are their strengths and weaknesses? 3. What do they do well that you don t do? 4. How do they promote themselves? 5. Which are the organisations you aspire to be like? 6. What do they do well that you don t do? 7. How do they promote themselves?
5 5 Step 3 Establishing your audiences 1. Who are your audiences? Make a list identifying all of your potential audience groups in order of importance eg parents, academic colleagues, schools, prospective students UG & PG (this can be broken down into several areas such as local, UK, international North America, international China etc), funders, local community. 2. How do you communicate with each of your audiences at the current time? 3. Do you have a planned approach or is it ad hoc? 4. Who is responsible for the different areas of communication? 5. Is your activity coordinated? 6. How much do you currently spend? 7. Are your results measured? Step 4 People, process, place As part of the University it is likely that whatever you need to do, it will revolve around providing a service, eg providing courses, a research environment, consultancy. As part of your situation audit it is therefore very useful to spend some time looking at people, process and place. People The people employed in your organisation will determine the quality of service your customers/students receive. Happy, skilled and motivated staff make happy customers. Your staff are more likely to think about the end user and deliver good service if they are well trained and realise the importance of good service. If your task involves recruitment, then first and foremost you need to think of your students (prospective, current and past) as your customers, and recognise that in today s market they have high expectations. You can also achieve an advantage over your competitors through offering a high level of support and advice both before, during and after the time a student is with you. 1. Carry out a task analysis of what your staff do in terms of customer contact; 2. Involve your staff in setting standards for customer service; 3. Prioritise training needs for these staff and provide appropriate training.
6 6 Process The processes involved in delivering your products and services to the potential students/ customers have an impact on the way in which your customers perceive you. 1. How do your potential students or customers find out about you? 2. What information is available to them and how good is it? 3. Look at all the processes involved in getting your products or service to the customer. Does any stage cause a delay? How can you improve this? For new and prospective students, what are the processes involved in providing them with the information they require? How successful are you in meeting their needs? 4. Are your customers kept informed about what is happening? In student terms, are they kept in touch with what is going on before they arrive and once they are here? 5. Do your staff keep their promises to students/customers? Do you live up to everything you have said about yourselves? 6. How effectively are you handling complaints? What feedback do you give about the improvements you are making? Place 1. Place is an important part of creating a favourable impression. What image does your department or organisation portray through its physical presence, namely its premises, the appearance of its staff, its vehicles, etc? 2. Ensure that the image portrayed by your organisation is consistent with the type of product or service you offer. 3. Look at your reception area, notice boards, your car park (are there spaces for visitors near to the entrance), the appearance of your customer service staff, your lecture theatres and study areas 4. Where can you make improvements?
7 7 Stage 2 What do we want to do? Defining your objective(s) Step 1 What do you want to achieve? Now you ve established some of the background, you can begin to think about what the specific objective is you are trying to achieve. This needs to be: specific measurable achievable realistic timely (ie have a time factor associated with it) For example: increase the number of applications from the North American market by 5% in two years; develop awareness of your services in the local community over the next three years; increase revenue by 10% over the next three years. Step 2 Define your audience 1. Who are the people you need to target in order to achieve the above? Are there multiple audiences? 2. What are the channels of communication you already have with these audiences? 3. How effective are they? Are there areas which can be improved? 4. Do any of your competitors have similar objectives and what are they doing that you are not?
8 8 Stage 3 How do we get there? Achieving your objective Before you engage in any communications programme with your target audience, you have to decide: what you want to say who you want to say it to how to present your message where to distribute your message when to send your message You also need to consider the style and tone of your message and the follow-up actions that will be required by you and your staff in order to achieve your required result. Step 1 - What you need to know To use the marketing communications tools effectively, it helps to follow some cardinal rules: 1. Different customers have different needs. So your marketing communications activity may be wasted if you target it at the wrong customer group. It is therefore important to tailor your promotional message to meet the needs of each different segment of your audience. 2. Decide how the message should be delivered. To help you to decide what aspects of the promotional mix to use, think about taking your customers on a journey that starts by creating awareness about your service or department, through obtaining information about the products and services you provide, and ends by achieving a result. Each component of the mix will achieve a different result, so your choice must be based on real objectives. What promotional tools should be used? When should communications happen? How often? Is the message consistent? 3. Even if your budget is limited, there are still a lot of different ways to make the most of what you have to spend. Consider a two-colour brochure rather than a full colour one, or compare the value that you would achieve by printing, say 1,000 posters, compared to having a good press release printed in the local paper.
9 9 4. Think about your website as a priority. We know that 96% of prospective students use the website as their main source of information so if your content is poor it won t be doing you any favours. Unlike printed material, a website needs to be updated regularly to keep the site fresh and interesting to visitors. It is not enough simply to develop a website. You need to be prepared to invest time and resources in website maintenance. 5. For help with writing with the web and developing content visit Corporate Communications Web Team can also provide you with advice on how to structure your website to make it user-friendly 6. Decide on a budget. 7. Decide what actions you want your audience to take as a result of receiving your communication. 8. Put in place a means of measuring and controlling the plan once it is developed. Who will be responsible for checking that promotional activity happens as planned? 9. Undertake your promotional plan. Be consistent in what you say and how you say it. 10. Measure what you have achieved against the original objectives that you set. Step 2 - Deciding your promotional/marketing mix Here are 10 simple steps for deciding on and developing any form of marketing communication. 1. Start by deciding what your objectives are. Do you want to improve the general awareness about your department or organisation? Are you launching a new product or course? Are you looking to attract new students or to encourage existing customers to return? Decide on the message to use. Are you trying to differentiate, remind, inform or persuade? Set an objective for what should be achieved. Be clear about the benefits that you want to promote 2. Once you have decided your objectives, consider the various elements of the promotional mix and decide which are the most appropriate for you at this time. Successful marketing uses a mix of promotional methods and techniques. The combination of tools you use will depend on your target audience, what you are trying to achieve, the message you wish to communicate and your budget. Options include: advertising online, print promotion publications, posters, give aways
10 10 public relations PR campaigns, news stories direct marketing mailers, eflyers, database marketing face to face open days, conferences, exhibitions, events relationship management. More information about each of these can be found on page Decide what you want to say about your department or product/service. This is harder than it sounds. Focus on the main benefits that you offer and use short words and sentences to explain this clearly. Rather than simply say We offer x, talk about the benefits that this will bring to the user. Eg Instead of We have links with many top employers, try Our strong links with top employers means you will have access to excellent mentoring and work placement possibilities. What are your unique selling points (USPs)? Outlining your USPs is one of the basics of effective marketing and business that has stood the test of time. A USP can help customers by saving them time when they are considering buying a product or service. By stating simply and clearly why your service is different, it will stand out from the competition. A USP may be high levels of customer or student service something which other institutions offer, you may just do it better. 4. Try not to use too much jargon and if you do have to use it, then explain what it means in simple terms. Imagery and testimonials have a huge impact so make sure your photographs are well taken and up-to-date (the University Photo Unit produce some excellent material and will come and take photos for you), and wherever possible include quotes from students, staff, alumni, customers etc. Also don t forget to include basic information such as name, address, contact numbers and a web site address. 5. Once you have decided what words and pictures you want to use, think about the way you want your communications material to look and feel. The design, colours and layout of your brochure, mailing, website, exhibition stand, annual report etc will create an image of you in your customers minds and should reflect what you do. If you are not really sure what you want, check what your competitors are doing. This exercise will help you to decide the things that you like or dislike and will help to focus your mind so that you can then formulate your own ideas more clearly. The University s visual identity guidelines will provide a framework for you to work to but it is still possible to create your own style within this. Corporate Communications can work with you either to help design a style or to work with one of their roster of recommended designers and agencies to develop this.
11 11 6. Prepare a short written brief. This ensures that you have your ideas straight and that there will be no misunderstandings in what you are asking the designer to do. Let them see any existing ideas that you like or dislike and provide as much text, photographs, diagrams, maps etc as you can. The designer will usually provide you with a number of outline design ideas from which you can select your favourite for further development. You can amend these as you see fit, but remember that all amendments take time to do and will therefore add to the cost of the finished material. 7. The University s Print Unit (telephone: , will be able to provide costs for printing. For digital printing (useful for smaller quantities) Corporate Communications can recommend other printers so you can decide whether you wish to go for an A4 or an A5 for example. Remember the more planning you can do at the start of the project, the more cost-effective an exercise this will be. 8. When you get to a final proof stage, be absolutely sure that the material says everything you want it to and that the colours, style, paper weight and quantity ordered are agreed before you sign it off. Mistakes at this point can be very costly to change. Generally, you will need to allow up to two weeks from sign off of the final proof to delivery of the printed material - so allow time for this within your planning calendar. 9. Once your promotional material has been delivered, then your full marketing communications plan can swing into action. Remember AIDA - use your material to: get your audience s Attention keep them Interested generate a Desire encourage them to take Action. 10. Finally, be consistent in your overall promotional approach and measure your success against your original objectives.
12 12 The marketing mix further information Advertising There are three main reasons for advertising: to provide your target audience with information (creating awareness) to persuade them to buy from you (by promoting product and company benefits) to reinforce your existence (by consistently repeating key messages). Research shows that people need to see an advertisement at least seven times before it starts to mean anything to them. So, to be effective, advertising needs to be conducted regularly in a consistent and recognisable manner. It can therefore be quite costly. Typical advertising media include websites, trade journals, local newspapers, radio and exhibitions. It is also difficult to assess how much business is achieved through paid-for advertising unless you include some form of monitoring scheme within the advertisement. If you issue is with recruitment, IPS and RAPS can advise you on which websites to advertise on, however print advertising is not generally recommended due to high cost and very low return. Promotion Promotion can cover a wide range of different materials, from publications to freebies. Publications are a key way to promote your organisation, department or service but you need to think carefully about what a publication is trying to do, who it is aimed at, the messages it contains and how it will be distributed. One size does not fit all! You should also think about: Quality how does the finished item reflect on your department? Message write for your audience, not for you. Does it say the right things? If your target audience is made up of 16 year olds, the feel, look and language should reflect this. Distribution how is it going to get to where it needs to go? Freebies it s easy to get caught up in the me-too way of thinking. But freebies can be expensive and serve little purpose. Think about what you are trying to do with them and whether you really feel they will have an effect. Corporate communications can advise you on any publications you wish to produce and any promotional campaigns. They also work closely with a number of external agencies who can work with you to take a brief and present you with a number of ideas to achieve your objectives.
13 13 Public relations Public relations (or PR) involves a sustained attempt to develop your reputation as an organisation by using the media to help create the image you desire. It is a way of keeping you in your customers eyes. News or press releases can be distributed to the media to announce, for example, new discoveries, new services or organisational and individual successes. Articles can be distributed to trade journals or local newspapers helping to position you more prominently in the market place than your competitors. Attendance at exhibitions and seminars can also help to promote the image of your organisation to a chosen target audience. In a University context, PR is a very good (and largely low cost) way to generate awareness and promote your reputation. The downside is that it is not possible to control what a journalist might print, so the time and effort you put into developing a press release mentioning all the names of your partners for instance, could appear in print with just two lines about an event, not even mentioning your institution. However, this avenue is well worth pursuing. The Media Team at Corporate Communications can help you with any media releases and news stories you might have. They can also advise you on how to go about creating a targeted PR campaign. Direct marketing Direct marketing is an increasingly popular technique as it enables you to target specific customer groups very accurately. It is a flexible way to deliver your message and, because each letter can be personalised, the chances of a response are greatly improved. The overall success of a campaign can also be directly measured in terms of the number of responses received. You can collect information on customers and use this to build up your own in-house database. Although this can be time-consuming, the information gathered will be accurate and relevant to you, and can be relatively easily kept up to date. More and more marketing is being used for direct marketing. Corporate Communications can provide advice on campaigns.
14 14 Face to face Exhibitions, open days, conferences, events and personal visits are all an effective way of promoting your organisation or service. To be successful, they need to be planned well in advance and should incorporate some way of measuring their success. It s very easy to spend lots of money and time organising event and inviting the same people every year without analysing the results. Plan well in advance; Think about what materials you will need eg invitations, posters, stand, give-aways and organise them well before the deadline; Make sure anything you use for promotion presents your department in a good light; Revisit your invitation list; If travelling any distance, can this activity be combined with anything else? Can you evaluate the success? What follow up activities are in place? For events, Corporate Communications can advise you on both organisation and promotion. For exhibitions and recruitment fairs RAPS and IPS can advise. Relationship management Increasingly anyone involved in marketing or promotion is focusing on relationship management essentially this means keeping in contact with your potential student or customer through a continued period from the moment they first get in touch with you, through to them accepting a place or becoming a customer, during their time with you, and importantly, afterwards. Alumni today are often a huge and often untapped resource, not just in financial terms but in providing student mentoring, business collaborations, word of mouth recommendations and helping spread your reputation. Therefore the student journey is hugely important. The same can be said with any customer. It costs six times as much to find a new customer as to keep an existing one. Think about your process and channels of contact. What happens when someone first gets in touch with you? How efficient is the process? Do you keep them connected? When they arrive are they made to feel welcome? Is their experience a good one? What happens when they leave how do you keep in touch?
15 15 Who can help you? If you have any questions about any of the material contained here then please contact: Fiona Duncan Corporate Communications Telephone: For help with: Contact: Marketing planning and developing any promotional materials including literature and ezines Fiona Duncan: Telephone: or Publications Team: Telephone: Media or PR activity Media Relations Team: Telephone: Web enquiries or advice on how to write for a website or structure your content Web Team: Telephone: Events advice Clare Laidlaw: Telephone: Internal communications Annie Vaz: Telephone: