Thursday, May 28, 2015

To Agency or Not to Agency

Inside Higher Ed
May 28th, 2015

Market position, branding, messaging: these terms were once reserved for big corporations hawking everything from soft drinks and toothpaste to luxury cars. But such words now echo inside the halls of academia. While reasons for this are a complex stew of rising costs, declining state funding and fierce competition, it’s plain to see that universities are spending more money to attract students using media channels that didn’t exist within academia a few years ago.
In my dozen years working in communications for two land-grant universities, I’ve seen the sophistication and ambition of marketing tactics soar on campus. From traditional commercials to interactive websites and online documentaries, it’s been an exhilarating storytelling laboratory full of challenges and opportunities for personal growth for staff communicators like me. But I’ve also seen more institutions turning outside, to polished agencies of the sort that once seemed more likely to work with Fortune 500 companies and major corporations than state universities and private colleges.

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