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    The StratEDgy blog is intended to be a thoughtful hub for discussion about strategy and competition in higher education.

Marketing: Awareness + Engagement
May 20, 2012 - 10:06pm

Marketing requires a balance of promoting general brand awareness and engaging specific target market segments.  For example, an organization may advertise on a news website, reaching a national audience with a general message, and also use social media to engage a particular audience about a relevant offering. The second part of that equation is less straightforward, and is becoming an increasingly interesting and challenging endeavor.  The right research, segmentation, creativity and understanding of new technologies allow organizations to stay in the game.

In other words, a marketing strategy that only includes efforts to reach the mass market, essentially by shouting, “We exist!” is a bit like expecting the food to magically appear in the fridge simply by writing a grocery list. It works toward the goal of increasing brand awareness, but can’t be the whole strategy.

It can be balanced with engagement efforts - providing relevant, authentic and valuable content to segments of your target audience.  Opportunities for this type of engagement have proliferated in the digital world.  More people are online and more data is being collected about them, which means organizations can use that data to reach the right people with the right message.  

Here’s one elaborate example of how Google adapted the 40-year-old, iconic Coco-Cola ad campaign for the interactive digital age.  As this NYTimes article describes, the new campaign “…gives consumers a chance to ‘send a free Coca-Cola across the world,’ the ads say, to ‘someone you’ve never met’ through mobile apps and customized vending machines.”

It all starts with the right research of your target market, which can lead to successful and efficient use of marketing resources. In developing an integrated strategy, marketers strive to balance reaching the masses and creating engaging content relevant to different market segments. The fast-paced evolution of digital marketing combined with the increasingly competitive higher ed industry make marketing decisions more critical than ever.

 

 

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