What is a college to do when rock-climbing walls and in-room yoga mats become standard equipment among your competitors? How to differentiate? How do you up your value proposition for your most highly valuable consumer targets?
Let’s face it, it’s a cut-throat world out there in student marketing. And it’s no wonder. These market targets are worth a minimum of $200,000 over four years, at very high margins, and with many added revenue opportunities over that time. Value-adds like safe spaces for confessing crimes against correctness come with a premium price tag, after all.
This is almost guaranteed income. Nobody flunks out of college any more. That would be really bad business. Failing is totally passé. Many of these consumers will go on to the same school for graduate degrees. Ka-ching! And as alumni, in order to protect the image of their school as a smart choice, most can be counted upon for thousands and thousands more in donations to the class fund.
The good news is that our government has put price controls on tuition. These controls ensure that prices will continue to rise (it’s government, after all). And our government also makes it ever so easy for students or their parents to borrow money to pay those rising prices. They think of everything, don’t they?
You can count on your own students for inventive marketing ideas, as well. The kids at Pomona College recently suggested (well, okay, demanded) a great idea. They want to take over the search committee for new faculty. That way, there will be no more racist, misogynist professors. Another possibility is to let kids buy a seat on the faculty compensation committee.
It’s true that some express concern over the frailty of free speech, or even free thought in this new marketing environment. No worries. Those old-fashioned ideas add zero revenue and can even endanger the school brand in social media.
And, a couple of quick brand-building tips: make sure it’s the students who deny access to the deplorable influences; give them the opportunity to shout them down and break a window or two at Starbuck’s. That makes them feel both engaged and empowered – and those are very important words in student marketing today. So, when it comes to marketing a college education, take it from me: the sushi bar is a no brainer.