How to Structure Your Higher Ed Marketing Department for the Future

If you’ve been reading our recent insights, or if you’ve reviewed our takeaways from the 2016 Survey of Independent College Presidents that we conducted in collaboration with The Lawlor Group, you may already be aware of our research suggesting that, while institutions have embraced marketing as a vital means of promotion, the embrace of marketing to aid in new program development or signature experiences is not as ubiquitous (or warmly regarded). Part of this is due to the fact that marketing has, in the past, been kept at arms length in higher ed. But the connection between marketing efforts and the success of endeavors like new program development or signature experiences is undeniable. Marketing needs to be brought into the conversation sooner, which requires a stronger, more capable and more responsive department.

Having a well-structured marketing department on campus offers tremendous value to an institution. Yet achieving that ideal structure is no easy feat, particularly if your campus has never really had a well-established marketing department to begin with. Knowing where marketing fits within your organization is trying enough, but assembling it with the right players and pieces requires a keen and diligent assessment of the resources you have, as well as a strong vision of your institution’s current and future marketing needs.

Back in July, I wrote a white paper outlining how the marketing department on your campus should look and how to build it in a way that will effectively advance your institution’s cause and message. The response from our readers was overwhelmingly positive, though a few expressed concern that—while ideal—it “couldn’t be done” on their campus. Conversely, however, many expressed that, not only have they successfully restructured the marketing department on their campus to better serve their institution’s needs, but they were more confident to compete in the higher ed marketplace than ever before.

It can be done.

To supplement the white paper, we’ve created a guidebook to help you structure a higher ed marketing department for the future. Use this guidebook to understand the roles and expertise you’ll need, take stock of the resources you currently have, and decide what components you may be missing in order to shape the department in a way that best suits your institution’s goals. You may wish to share this with your team, and other leadership on campus, in your efforts to prepare for the challenges ahead.

We hope this guidebook gives you the direction you need to help your great cause succeed. Should you discover along the way that you need support, we’re ready to assist.


To download the guidebook

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Rick Bailey

Rick is the Principal and founding partner at RHB.