Publications & Products
Volume 5, Issue 10

Using Data to Maximize Marketing Budgets

Like many community colleges, Tallahassee Community College was looking to grow its enrollment, but instead of simply spending more on advertising and marketing, the college took a step back—and decided to take a different approach to its marketing strategy.

Without the resources that larger institutions have, such as nearby Florida State University, implementing new marketing strategies can be difficult, says Candice Grause, market research and digital communications specialist at TCC.

Grause and her team already knew that TCC was the top transfer institution to FSU thanks to many years of collecting and analyzing student enrollment data. Using this knowledge, the school decided to enter into a partnership with FSU and used this program to market TCC to potential students.

"We don't have tremendous budgets... so we really looked at our strengths and what differentiated us, and we built our campaign around that," Grause says.

And for many community colleges, there are ways to leverage marketing tactics to achieve success with high-level strategies.

"It doesn't take sophisticated software to run an integrated marketing campaign or a PhD in market analytics. You already have a lot of this knowledge," Grause adds.

Sarah McMaster, director of marketing and new media at Mount Wachusett Community College, was leading the marketing division at the college as the school was developing its most recent strategic plan. Like most community colleges, the institution has many priorities competing for its limited time and resources.

"But, we've developed ways to stay on track, making sure prospective students know about us and know how to become a student," says McMaster. "If we're doing something, devoting time and money to it, we tie it back to enrollment goals as well as strategic goals."

After the new strategic plan was adopted, McMaster and the marketing team re-analyzed MWCC enrollment data to determine how to update their marketing approach. They developed several different campaigns to appeal to multiple "types" of students; not just one "type" of student.

"What we learned from this experience helped us form strategies that we use throughout the year," McMaster says.

Grause and McMaster will discuss how to use limited resources and data to inform marketing decisions during the "Making the Most of Your Community College Marketing Budget" webinar, 2 to 3 p.m., Eastern, on May 17.

The webinar will explore a "30,000 foot view" to ground-level implementation of marketing resources. The webinar will also detail the process from collecting data over several years, analyzing it and developing marketing strategies based on that data.

"Something I always try to say... to people who are overwhelmed with this, is that we've spent years on these plans," McMaster says. "It takes time. This is not something you can do for this year, but this is something you plan across many years. You have to start somewhere."

This article is from the May 2016 issue of the Community College Advancement News.

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