Marketing: It’s More Than Just Looking Good

by Robin Duncan
Mount Wachusett Community College
Gardner, MA

How something looks pales in comparison to how it is for real! So you have an awesome-looking ad in the paper or really cool photography in a brochure. Your billboards look great and that video clip is out of this world.

Sure, how it looks is really important in marketing, but whether or not it is working is what matters most. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that marketing is show business. It is not. And no matter how much you advertise, marketing is definitely much more than that.

I think of marketing as the problem-solving component of my institution. This means using research and data to identify problems and then develop strategies to address them. Without a marketing plan with measurable objectives, it’s difficult to know whether or not your strategies actually worked at the end of the day. Developing a plan and committing to it are essential.

It’s amazing to me how many people on our campuses continue to think that marketing is simply creating a flier, placing an advertisement, conducting a telemarketing campaign or using social networking. All of those actions are certainly part of marketing, but none of them represent the whole deal. A good marketing plan employs a variety of tactics and multiple channels to reach your audiences – plus various measurements that can help you identify the combination that provides the highest marketing return on investment.

Spread the word — marketing is an opportunity to solve problems. And if the process is done right, you’ll generate revenue, perhaps have a chance to collaborate with other businesses in your community, and build lasting relationships.

Maybe that’s why there are four P’s to marketing and not just the “P” for promotion. I’d like to suggest a fifth “P.” How about “P” for prove it!

Robin Duncan is vice president of marketing and communications at Mount Wachusett Community College in Gardner, Massachusetts.

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