Draper- vs. Carnegie-Style Education Marketing
Confident, handsome, successful—everyone wants to be Don Draper. But Mad Men-style advertising won’t get you education marketing success long-term.
Not only is Don Draper a fictional character, but he’s also a fictional character meant to represent a mythical, unattainable lifestyle. The overarching story of seven seasons of Mad Men preaches the moral lesson that trying to attain the Don Draper way of doing this is pure folly.
But that doesn’t keep us marketers from trying! Here are some examples (Hope you like the following alliteration):
Marketers Mimicking Mad Men Marketing
- Advertising. Using mass communication channels to get your brand message in front of as many eyes as possible, even though the majority of them are not your target audience.
- Promotion. Spending all your time on cool ways to promote the product and almost no time on the needs, desires, and questions of the target audience.
- Publicity. Relying entirely on the passing popularity and credibility of personalities, fads, and trends instead of the core benefits of your school and timeless strategies to build your brand following.
- Hype. Exaggerating results, benefits, and features instead of living out your brand with authenticity.
All of these flaws in the Don Draper character made him successful for 1960’s product advertising. But in today’s world where a quick look at our mobile device can show us the truth about any brand’s message, these kinds of disingenuous tactics simply do not work.
So what approach does work for education marketing?
Introducing Carnegie Style Marketing
American author and thought leader Dale Carnegie had a completely different style of selling the brands he represented. As shown in his most famous work, How to Win Friends and Influence People, he took almost the complete opposite approach to marketing and sales.
- Friend-raising. Being more interested in your audience’s problems, desires, and preferencesover your own.
- Informing. Focusing more on solutions than sales by giving your target audience answers to their questions in evergreen and temporary content.
- Conversation. Having a two-way conversation with your audience instead of blasting out an endless, org-centric monologue.
- Influence. Building loyalty through consistently solving your audience’s problems rather than demanding that they listen to you.
- Caring. Starting all your messaging and program development with the student/donor/parent/alumnus in mind instead of all of your organizational needs.
While Don Draper might be all the rage, he’s got some serious disadvantages, which I’m sure you can see in my comparison above. But I’ve still got two more BIG problems with Mad Men-style marketing that I think I should mention.
The Problem with Don
Don is Really. Really. EXPENSIVE.
TV spots. Ads in national publications. Billboards at strategic urban locations. All of these types of traditional advertising come with a hefty price tag.
Don’t take my word for it. Just try and put your video ad on national TV. More than likely, you’ll end up spending more than Don did on his lavish lifestyle.
Don answers to no one.
Traditional, mass media channels can get you in front of lots of people. But they can’t tell you exactly how many. More than that, they can’t tell you how many people signed up for a campus visit because they saw your ad.
On the other hand, inbound marketing techniques (like content marketing) offer numerous technologies that track your audience’s engagement so that you can accurately measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
Carnegie Wins Out in the End
Dale Carnegie might not have worn his suit as well as Don Draper, but at the very least, he was real. And his approach to marketing and sales works!
So beware of flashy marketing trends that overpromise and underdeliver.
Stick with proven marketing practices that require hard work, humility, and a servant attitude.
Do your education marketing “Carnegie style.”
Don’t see how you can make the switch from mass media style channels that are costing your school a fortune while offering little in return? Get ahold of us for a free consultation to see how we can help you build your educational brand and hit your marketing goals.
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Twelve Profitable Reasons You Should Recommit to Content Marketing this Year
Whatever resolutions you have for the new year, make sure one of them is a recommitment to content marketing for your education institution.
Content marketing is an inbound marketing strategy that attracts and moves prospective students (or donors!) through your admissions pipeline using content you create that informs or entertains your target audiences.
Essentially, you become a media creator that produces consistent, quality content your audience wants to consume in the form of blogs, newsletters, magazines, videos, infographics, and more.
Perhaps you’ve already tried content marketing in the past, but slow results, various urgent priorities, or even boredom got in the way. Or, maybe you’ve never tried it, thinking it’s just a fad.
The delivery methods may have changed, but this tried and true marketing technique has been around since the 19th century—and because it works so well, it’s not going away.
Whatever the reason… if you fell off the wagon, it’s time to recommit to a content marketing strategy.
1. Content marketing builds your brand.
Consistent, quality content that keeps your audience engaged is the most efficient and long-lasting way to build your school’s brand. Rob Norman of InspirED School Marketers describes an educational brand this way:
“The primary purpose of a brand is to have a way to consistently and compellingly describe what makes a school unique.”
Sure, a 30 second TV spot could help tell your brand’s story.
But the short-lived effect of those 30 seconds can’t hold a candle to the engagement you get when a prospective student spends 15 minutes reading your field guide on choosing the right school.
2. Content marketing gives you the biggest bang for your buck.
A 30 second TV spot can cost you upwards of $200,000 easily. But you could launch a content marketing strategy and build a sizable online following for as little as $2,000—or less.
3. Content marketing reaches much farther than traditional marketing.
Let’s say you buy spots in newspapers or magazines. Your exposure is limited to the geographic area and demographics of that publication’s circulation. This might be a great tactic if you’re diving deep into a local, small market for enrollment.
But what if you’re trying to cultivate donors from your alumni base who happen to live all over the nation (or world)? How do you reach them without breaking the bank?
Content marketing, my friend.
4. Content marketing drives traffic.
At its core, great content answers the many questions your audience has. In fact, the primary reason they’re surfing the Internet is to find answers to unspoken questions. If you create enough content that keeps answering their questions, you’ll always have steady, healthy traffic coming to your site.
5. Content marketing is recyclable.
The idea you used to create one blog post can be re-created as an infographic to post on Pinterest, a video for YouTube, a SlideDeck for LinkedIn, a podcast, or many different channels. The inherent efficiency in content marketing is one of the many reasons it yields a tremendous return on investment.
6. Content marketing is discoverable.
Everyone wants to rank high in search engine results, but it’s just not possible for every page on your site to achieve the coveted spots at the top of search engine results. To increase traffic, you’ve got to make yourself discoverable in more places than search engines. Using such techniques as #hashtags in your content, you can bring eyes to you on numerous social media platforms.
7. Content marketing uncovers hidden prospects.
Education marketers face an enormous challenge: Where are the potential students I should be talking to and how do I get my messages to them?
You can’t be everywhere at once—and no school can afford to send recruitment officers to every place where prospective students can be found. Eventually, to keep your admissions pipeline healthy, you have to get prospects to self-identify. You have to get them to come to you.
Through the years, content marketing has proved an effective way to generate new leads by attracting hidden, even anonymous, prospects.
8. Content marketing is shareable.
Growing awareness of your brand is a tough job—but not if people are sharing your content with their friends. Friends and family can’t share the TV spot they saw last night with their friends today, but they can easily share your Facebook video.
9. Content marketing increases your marketing assets.
You could be on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all day trying to engage your audience, but whatever you post is the property of the platform you’re on, and they can disappear at any moment.
Content such as your blog posts, videos hosted on your website, and pictures in your newsletters are your school’s media assets forever, and they can be reused for future projects.
10. Content marketing improves your site’s SEO.
What’s the surest way to improve your search engine rankings? Consistently post quality content on your website. Search engines, like Google, favor sites that are frequently updated and that feature in-depth content.
11. Content marketing is multichannel.
Traditional educational marketing offers a single channel for every campaign. But one piece of content can be implemented across a plethora of channels, even routine admissions communications, to get in front of more eyes.
12. Content marketing is measurable.
Do you know how many people called your enrollment office because they saw your billboard? How many people are signing up for a campus tour because they saw your television commercial?
Measuring results is tricky with traditional marketing. But with content marketing via digital channels, you can accurately gauge your marketing results.
There’s No Better Time
If your content marketing efforts have stalled, or you just gave up on them for a while, there’s no better time to get back in the game and begin experiencing the benefits of content marketing than right now.
But whatever you do, know that you’re not alone! We’re here to help you get your content marketing strategy off the ground producing the results you need.
So if you’re ready, get ahold of us! The first consultation is free—and there’s absolutely no obligation.
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