I have been on a bit of a TED talk kick lately and came across one presentation with the marketing guru Seth Godin that I thought could be applied to the international student recruiting community. Seth brings up a couple points that might spawn innovating thinking within your international student admissions office.
One major theme of his talk is to ask yourself, is your marketing remarkable? Remarkable doesn’t mean what you are saying or doing is ‘cool’, remarkable means your audience is inspired to ‘remark’ about your marketing efforts to others.
This is the essence of social media. We have many tools where for free we can distribute material to our audience and where our audience can easily share or remark about it to others. But the material must be remarkable!
Take the example highlighted in the Old College Try: Marketing Higher Ed blog by D.W. sharing a concept made very popular by the Obama Campaign and now being employed by Gonzaga. In her blog D.W. shares how Gonzaga has created their own version of the Obama campaign’s ‘Obama would have won only if “insert person’s name here” had voted‘ video.
Now I have no interest necessarily in Gonzaga but they have done enough to compel me to share their video with others. For me it was remarkable. And now that you are checking it out, you too might feel compelled to share it with someone. Gonzaga has developed an initiative that may start a large conversation being heard by an audience that is interested in what they are saying. You can’t buy that kind of undivided attention with mass media!
The other theme that I really liked in the presentation was the explanation of the term Otaku. Otaku describes the obsession one has with a particular product or service and their uncanny desire to do something as the result of that product or service. The example Seth uses is how people in Japan who are obsessed with Ramen Noodles. These people will drive half way across Tokyo just to try a new restaurant serving Ramen Noodle and because of thier obession with Ramen Noodles will remark about their experience to others.
This whole idea of Otaku made me think, who is the market truly obsessed with having an international education?
Is it the student who is obsessed and will talk about a great university that offers a lot of merit aid for foreign students to his friends? Is it the mother and father who will talk to other parents about the amount of money they can save by having their child go to a particular college in the US? Is it the alumnus who is really proud of something going on at their school that will tell others to check out a video, podcast or blog on their alma mader’s website?
I would love to hear how other school’s are engaging the different international education community members to attract international students.
Do you have campaigns geared specifically toward prospective international students’ parents as well as the prospective international students?
Who are the gatekeepers that you try to influence, the one’s who have the ability to open the floodgates for your school to get prospective international student inquiries? Agents? Web Services? Tour Companies? EducationUSA offices? Someone that I am failing to mention here?
But ultimately we must ask ourselves…
Do I believe that my school is effectively marketing to the prospective international student market’s Otaku?
Photo by takomabilbelot