Marketing is relationship building.
Brands use marketing to develop trust with their customers, and to educate how their product/service can add value to their customers’ lives. Ultimately, buyers part with their hard-earned cash, investing in a relationship that can make their lives better.
Higher education marketing epitomizes this concept. Institutions strive to embed their value in the hearts and minds of prospective students, who ultimately take a leap that will define the rest of their lives.
Such a massive commitment to a brand does not happen instantly, and it’s a mix of emotion and logic. It all begins with good storytelling.
The prospective student must be able to see themselves as the hero of the story the institution is telling. Each interaction with the institution must feel like a sequential step through their personal journey.
Disjointed, incohesive marketing feels awkward and loses prospects along the way.
We’ve written previously about storytelling, and mentioned The Hershey Company’s cameo at AMA Higher Ed 2022 to discuss their faux Reese’s University. The backstory behind Reese’s parody ad is one of a marketing tactic that struggled because it lacked a good story.
Prior to creating Reese’s University, Reese’s consistently sponsored NCAA sports and ran commercials during college football games. But while people love the peanut butter cups, they weren’t making the connection between the candy and football (Hint: There is none). Peanut butter cups at tailgates? Not so much…
So Reese’s went back to the beginning and came up with a compelling and funny (even if contrived) story to connect the dots. They created a foundation, relatable and based on humor, for why they’re even in our faces during college football games in the first place.
Dr. Pepper has also done this effectively with their “Fansville” ad campaign, creating a fake town where people can’t cheer for their local sports team without their favorite soda.
(If you haven’t noticed, all the branded product images on our website use our fake Doubletake University branding, in a similar vein. We’ve created our own university brand profile to help connect with higher ed marketers like you. Our mascot is the Doubletake Defenders because we’re the “Defenders of Your Brand.”)
To help you tell your story, our 3-Touch Mailer Program provides a way to make successive touchpoints with your prospective, accepted and deposited students. The products included in each touch can carry a common thread, and the card accompanying each touch can tell the next chapter of the story.
For added personalization to really pull the student into the story, include a note from a current student, a proud alumnus, a member of the faculty or even the college president! Student-centric storytelling is an important marketing trend, and another top takeaway from AMA Higher Ed 2022. This is a powerful way to achieve personalization at scale.
Rather than just a random, standalone marketing touch with no underlying purpose or overarching narrative, our 3-Touch Mailer Program provides a real storytelling opportunity. And if you experience the “silo effect” at your institution, which we’ve written about, this program also bridges the missions of multiple departments:
o Touch 1 - Generates initial interest/Marketing
o Touch 1 - Entices campus visits/Enrollment
o Touch 2 - Congratulates accepted students/Admissions
o Touch 2 - Increases yield/Enrollment
o Touch 3 - Limits melt/Enrollment
o Touch 3 - Fosters campus community/Student Affairs