Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Marketing new programs: Shaping your plan

One of the most exciting projects for any marketing professional would be the opportunity to build a new brand from scratch. While few of us will get to do this for an entire organization, new institutional programs create a unique opportunity to stretch our creative muscles with a fresh challenge.

Once you've done the preliminary research on your new initiative, it's time to build the plan to get the word out and cultivate interest in your product. A textbook marketing plan is typically broken down into Goals, Objectives, Strategies and Tactics (or GOST). It's easy to get caught up in the strategies and tactics, applying the techniques that have been successful for other projects. But for your best chance for a successful launch, you'll want to start first by establishing the ultimate goals and objectives for the program.

Goals. Typically a new program will be designed with one long-term, primary outcome in mind. It's even possible that the program might be a part of a larger organizational goal. For example, if your law school's strategic plan included the goal of becoming "the nation's leading program for intellectual property," the new LL.M. in Intellectual Property program you've been asked to promote might be a part of that bigger plan. When building your marketing plan, one way to help define this goal is to ask the program director what success looks like five years from now. In the case of a new LL.M. program, it might to be to become a "high-demand, elite program that distinguishes University Law School in the field of intellectual property."

Objectives. These are the measurable steps you plan to take to achieve your goal. If you will excuse another textbook reference, many professionals like to use a "SMART" approach to writing their objectives:
  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable/Action-Oriented
  • Results-Oriented
  • Time-specific
Unlike goals, you may have more than one objective that will guide your communications plan, however it's still best to narrow your objectives to two or three major priorities. For our hypothetical LL.M. program, one marketing objective could be to "Enroll 25 qualified students by year three."

Strategies. Once you've outlined your goals and objectives, you can begin defining the strategies to accomplish your objectives. For our same LL.M. example, strategies for enrolling 25 qualified students could include reaching out to professional organizations for intellectual property lawyers or engaging J.D. alumni who are in the field of intellectual property or took significant coursework in the area.

In my next post, I'll cover tactics and implementation of your marketing plan, including building timelines for you and your campus clients.

1 comment:

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