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The American Marketing Association’s Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education is in Boston this week and the event is off to a great start.

After the first day of presentations, one idea seems consistent -- the importance of simplifying when it comes to marketing messaging and design.

This idea surfaced in discussions about website design, communicating with internal audiences, reaching prospective students and measuring results.

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."
- Leonardo da Vinci

Two simple, yet powerful, campaign examples have emerged so far. First, the University of California System started a campaign last fall called, “Onward California.”  As described in this article, the main focus of this effort was to connect how UC activities impact the lives of people in California every day.

Ithaca College created a campaign around the word “Ready” to communicate student stories tied together with a simple, cohesive message.  As described here, the concept is based on strategic research and focuses on how Ithaca College readies students for success in the world.

Yet achieving simplicity is anything but simple. Strategies for creating simple messages include first having important conversations to prioritize goals and resources.  Comprehensive conversations can often involve multiple stakeholders.

Segmentation can also provide the opportunity for simplified messaging by tailoring communications for distinct audiences. Each segment only receives the ideas and information most relevant for them.
In a digital marketing world of shares, likes, plus 1’s, notes, pins, posts and retweets, it’s a good reminder to keep things simple.

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