From Google ads to NFL sponsorships: Colleges throw billions at marketing themselves to attract students

Customer Focused GrowthSocial ImpactMarketing, Sales, and Strategy
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10月 01, 2021
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Customer Focused GrowthSocial ImpactMarketing, Sales, and Strategy
Executive Summary
A look at the 'why' and 'how' behind college and university marketing efforts

Excerpt from the article originally published in The Hechinger Report by Jon Marcus

The Hechinger Report quotes T.R. Straub on the perception of marketing in the higher education space.


It was the personalized emails that got Jadyn Turner to consider Catholic University when she was choosing a college.

She still has them in her phone, along with a photo of herself holding up the Catholic University banner that came in the mail. Those and other inducements lured her to an open house at the business school, where she’s now majoring in entrepreneurship. 

Even though marketing played a central role in her decision, however, Turner was surprised to learn the university, founded by U.S. Catholic bishops, is spending $5 million on a marketing and branding campaign and hiring five new marketing employees.


In fact, the sum is small compared to what other colleges and universities are investing in advertising, marketing and promotion, which has been steadily rising and is on track this year to be nearly double what it was last year. 

Among the reasons are a steep ongoing decline in enrollment, made worse by the pandemic, and increasing competition from online providers and others. 


It’s a huge turnaround from a time when administrators hesitated to talk about marketing, never mind throwing around terms such as “earned media” and “brand spend” and coming up with advertising slogan-style taglines (“A journey to excellence,” “A foundation for life,” “Be the change,” “Dream big”). A story about higher education marketing in 2006 was titled “The M Word.”   

“Say the word ‘marketing’ and you could hear faculty members gasp,” T. R. Straub, executive search and assessment consultant at Russell Reynolds, recalled of those days.

To read the full article click here. This story also appeared in The Washington Post.