Where Marketing Fits Into Your Institution’s Org Chart

While marketing is finding increasing favor in the higher ed arena—it’s practically a given—most colleges and universities are still uncomfortable with its presence and practice on campus. Consequently, standard models for its placement within the institution have yet to be implemented. Does marketing stand on its own as a department? Is it paired with other external-facing departments like advancement or enrollment? Does it report to the president? What significance does marketing truly have on campus?

Marketing needs a home that allows it the freedom and flexibility to serve the whole institution. In January, we released the results of a survey we conducted in collaboration with the Lawlor Group to measure the challenges and opportunities that presidents of independent colleges faced. The 2016 Independent College Presidents Survey generated a strong response and revealed a snapshot of how marketing is structured on these college campuses. The survey also uncovered a limited understanding of marketing’s role on campus. At a time when college and university presidents identify generating income and sustainability as their greatest challenge, it’s no wonder appreciation for marketing is gaining ground. Most presidents are cognizant that best practices in marketing will help them achieve their financial objectives, but many are still wondering where marketing belongs. In this paper, we examine several common models for the place of marketing on campus and offer perspective for knowing where it best fits on your campus.


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Rick Bailey

Rick is the Principal and founding partner at RHB.