22 Mar 2023
by Stephen Skrocki

Tips for Colleges to Stand Out in a Crowded Market

Have you ever wondered how colleges and universities can stand out in the crowded market of higher education? It turns out that marketing principles can play a big role in showcasing the unique value of each institution.

Here's some nice little statistics I'll drop for you:

  • Gen Z (ages 18-24):
    • 95% use YouTube
    • 71% use Instagram
    • 65% use Snapchat
    • 48% use TikTok
    • 40% use Twitter
    • 30% use Facebook
  • Millennials (ages 25-40):
    • 89% use YouTube
    • 66% use Facebook
    • 64% use Instagram
    • 34% use Twitter
    • 29% use LinkedIn
    • 20% use Snapchat
  • Gen X (ages 41-56):
    • 81% use YouTube
    • 58% use Facebook
    • 34% use LinkedIn
    • 28% use Instagram
    • 16% use Twitter
    • 7% use Snapchat
  • Baby Boomers (ages 57-75):
    • 70% use YouTube
    • 52% use Facebook
    • 15% use Instagram
    • 9% use Twitter
    • 7% use LinkedIn
    • 2% use Snapchat

So now that we have the major social media apps broken down, did you know that 91% of Gen Z use social media for an average of 2 hours and 55 minutes per day? That's a lot of screen time! But it's also an opportunity for higher education institutions to connect with potential students.

By understanding the needs, motivations, and behaviors of their target audience, colleges and universities can create programming that is specifically designed to meet those needs. For example, if a university finds that a high percentage of its students are interested in sustainability, it could create a program that focuses on environmental issues and how they can be addressed through education and research.

But it's not just about meeting the needs of the students. Higher education institutions must also differentiate themselves from their competitors. Did you know that there are over 4,000 colleges and universities in the United States alone? That's a lot of competition! By offering unique value that sets them apart, such as specialized degree programs, cutting-edge research opportunities, or innovative technology and resources, institutions can attract students who are looking for an education that stands out from the crowd.

One effective marketing tool that institutions can use is storytelling. People are naturally drawn to stories, and when they are well-crafted, they can help to create an emotional connection with the audience. In the case of higher education, stories can be used to highlight the transformative impact that an education can have on a student's life. For example, universities can feature testimonials from alumni who have gone on to achieve great success in their careers. These stories can be featured on the university's website, social media channels, and during campus visits, creating a powerful narrative that showcases the value of education.

Of course, none of these efforts matter if they're not reaching the right audience. That's why it's important to measure the success of marketing efforts. By tracking metrics such as website traffic, social media engagement, and enrollment numbers, institutions can make data-driven decisions about how to improve their programming and reach a wider audience.

So there you have it, some key marketing principles that higher education institutions can use to showcase the value of education and connect with potential students. With the right mix of differentiation, storytelling, and targeted messaging, colleges and universities can stand out in a crowded market and attract the students who will benefit most from their programs.