August 20th, 2012

Colleges think marketing will solve admissions declines

By Bruce Goldman

Colleges across the country (but apparently neither the University of Richmond nor VCU) are hiring chief marketing officers to create messages that will divert prospective students’ attention from the harsh realities of their schools’ very real product and pricing problems.

“[A] number of universities, wary of the public perception that the degrees they offer may not be worth the student loan burden, have taken to hiring highly-paid ‘CMOs’ (Chief Marketing Officers) to build their brands and coordinate their admissions offices’ sales pitch,” Walter Russell Mead writes.

The advertising industry has long believed that consumer perceptions—even counterfactual perceptions—are marketing realities that no effective strategy or execution can afford to ignore.

In this case, though, the perceptions are totally factual.

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