MARKETING HIGHER EDUCATION IN A POST PANDEMIC WORLD
Traditional “brick and mortar” higher education institutions faced many challenges during and after the pandemic. From quickly restructuring the framework of classes to how to hold a commencement ceremony and keep everyone safe. Happily, we can now function in a world that is close to what it was before 2020. But there are lingering challenges that will continue to cause headaches for higher education administrators.
Breaking the Stigma of Online Education
While it was necessary for institutions to push as many of their courses online as possible, it also caused a normalization of online classes. Prior to 2020 many might have thought online degrees from either traditional or online institutions were of a lesser quality. Now we are seeing a two-year span of graduates who had at least half of their education provided mostly online. Breaking the stigma of online education. While this benefits the online schools it will be a challenge for the brick and mortar.
Now more than ever institutions need to sell the experience of “going away to college”. I am not suggesting that they promote the virtues of the “kegger.” But college has long been more than training a student for their career. For most, it is the first time leaving home. Meeting new people from different towns, states, and countries. It is where a student starts to become their own person.
Schools need to make sure this is part of their Brand Story. They need to communicate more than all the degrees, awards, and prestigious professors, they need to effectively communicate how each student will become the hero of their own story. Schools need to illustrate how going to their university and attending in person is a key part of the story.
Student Generated Content
Use of video, testimonials, and student generated content is vital. Deputize student ambassadors. Hearing from other students helps individuals see themselves at an institution. Students need to feel comfortable that they will fit in.
People can get a degree from anywhere. And if all they need is a degree, they can go to the cheapest place to get one. Institutions need to show how they will provide prospective students with more than just a degree along with those intangibles that matter. When institutions accomplish this they win, and more importantly the student wins!