A cross-college marketing strategy

May 29, 2013

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We were approached by a Scottish college to help them develop a single, cross-college marketing strategy for the organisation. The college had previous employed an ad hoc approach to marketing, tending to focus on delivery of events and local PR activity. While this in itself was not a problem, it meant the college missed an opportunity to engage its many audiences, via a planned programme of activity and consistent key messages.

The first stage in developing a marketing strategy for the college was to conduct a consultation with the many internal stakeholders who had a vested interest in marketing the college. It was quickly apparent that marketing in the college was largely seen as PR, events and recruitment advertising; and there was little expectation that marketing could have a more strategic role.

Having gained an understanding from the internal stakeholders of how a marketing strategy could help them deliver their objectives, we developed a strategic plan that defined clear marketing objectives linked to the business objectives of the college. We then identified the audiences and linked them to the marketing objectives. This gave us a clear understanding of what we needed to achieve. We then developed a set of key messages, which again supported the college’s overall business objectives and would ensure all parts of the college communicated with their external stakeholders consistently. We then wrote the marketing strategy itself, outlining activities and initiatives that would deliver the objectives agreed for each audience, in the form of an easy to follow communications plan.

Our work with the college also revealed issues in the structure of the marketing team; gaps in the roles, responsibilities and skills of the team members; and also the way the marketing team engaged with its internal stakeholders.

Our recommendation was that the college re-structured the team into a more service-focused internal agency. We helped to define the new structure for the team, wrote job descriptions and developed an entire marketing governance framework that would provide the basis for marketing operations and the way that the team would interact with its “internal customers”. We also worked to build capacity with the internal team, mentoring and guiding them throughout the process.


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