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McCauley on Building Enrollment: The Plan (#1)

    If the devil is in the details, it’s time we call them out and face them down.  Over the coming weeks we will develop and implement a practical marketing plan for your Business Administration program based on the introductory template below.  We do so with an understanding that every program is different.  You might be operating a High School of Business program, or simply have a few marketing courses.  You could be at a school with over 3,000 students or working with an enrollment of just 750. There is a chance you have a firmly established brand and reputation; or you are just starting your program.

    Certainly you understand that not everything works for everybody; but don’t use that for an excuse.  Rather, use it as a reason to modify, stretch or reformat these ideas so they do work for you and your situation.

    Seek out help from others by posting to the MBA Research Facebook page.  The idea behind social media and digital communities is to share.  If we continue the dialogue you will be amazed at the great ideas you will get from your fellow professionals!

    Take time to examine our template. Take notes. Cross things out. Write in new ideas. List the questions you may have. And get ready for next week as we tackle the first Defining Question: Why does our program exist?

    Defining Questions Strategy
     Why does our program exist?  Be honest.  Break it down to the basics.  No need for platitudes.  Is it to “give students a head start on a college degree or career in business?  To introduce students to the world of business? Top provide all students a foundation in business?  It’s up to you, but be honest with yourself.
    What is our WOW factor? What sets your program apart from all others?  Technology? Great internships? CTSO? Project-based instruction? Your work experience? Ask your current or former students what the wow factor is.  If they can’t tell you, and you struggle thinking of one—you better create one in a hurry!
    Who is my ideal student? Grade? Interest? Experiences? Involvement in other organizations?  Other classes they are taking? Parents’ occupation? GPA?
    What does my ideal student care about most?  Why are they selecting my program? What’s the buying motive of your ideal student?  Success in business or school?  Make their parent’s happy by taking a business class? A desire to compete? Scholarship or resume builder?
    What is my # 1 goal related to building enrollment this year? Increase enrollment by X?  Attract more non-traditional students (boys, girls, minorities, etc.)  Sufficient enrollment to offer X sections or a new course? Increase my sections in Accounting so I no longer have to teach that course?
    What are three keys to accomplishing my #1 goal? What must you do to make your goal happen?  Presentations to students? Brochures, DVD, website or other media development? Train and work with students to make presentations?  Meet with counselors? Develop social media sites?
    What can I do to make my ideal student think of our program? How do we create top of mind awareness?  Repetition.  Frequent touch points. An integrated media approach. Multiple platforms.  A message that is memorable.
    Who are the key influencers of my ideal student? Counselors? Parents? Peers? Program graduates?  Business Community?  There is a good chance that one or more of these groups or individuals will have an influence on the decisions made by your ideal student.  Market to them as well.
    Who is the priority among the key influencers Walk before you can run.  It might be a little difficult to target all key influencers, so pick one category and make them a priority this year.
    How much money will I need to get it done? This will vary considerable because of the difference in what can be done for ”free” at a school vs. what might have to be paid for.  Some districts have printing programs, other do not.  Can you create a website or must you have one created for you?  The list goes on. Here is one caution.  Whatever you do, do it well.  I am not sure there is a place for hand-painted posters and “cute” clip art anymore!