Sometimes I think that the job I have is an almost impossible job. Because I am about to market a college, and attract more students. Hmm, that almost sounds like a very interesting job (ok, it really is an interesting job, but I have a few obstacles).
I’ll be brief about the problem; there are a lot of people who have strong opinions about marketing. The college is using a very small amount of money dedicated to marketing, and the way the college have been marketing itself in the past is the traditional way – like all other colleges and universities in Norway.
All colleges and universities in Norway act the same, pay for the same kind of advertising, and in sum; they are almost all the same. It doesn’t really matter if you attend one college instead of another one. There are usually not any prestige involved, or there are no way to say that you will have a better chances to get a really good job if you attend one college instead of the others. We are all the same (or at least almost the same) when it comes to education.
Now, how should you go about marketing something where there are a lot of competition and there are very hard to stand out from the crowd?
I am calling it ”the quest for the Purple Cow”, and I am going to tell you why. But first, I need to give you a quick definition of a Purple Cow (according to the one by Seth Godin in his book Free Prize Inside:
A Purple Cow is a product or service that’s remarkable. ”Remarkable” simply means that a customer is willing to make a remark about it. If you can create remarkable products, people will talk about them. If that happens, the word will spread and your sales will grow. That explains the success of most every fast-growing company of the last ten years.
Seth Godin is suggesting that we should put marketing in the creation of every product. And that’s actually something I have been thinking about for a while, a long time before I have read any book from Seth Godin.
I think our education is way to similar to the ones offered by all other colleges and universities in Norway. I am not going to be going into details here, but on (almost) all areas, colleges and universities in Norway are almost exactly the same.
I am thinking that making a purple cow might be really hard or it might actually be kind of easy.
Just by doing some name changes, we could end up attracting more students. We have the same study programmes as most other colleges, but if we make new cool names for them, we could end up with more people spreading the word (just a thought).
There are a lot of innovative stuff we could do, that people at our college wouldn’t think of as marketing, but in the end, it would help us attract way more students – so it really is marketing.
The problem is how?
Should I start thinking of creating one Purple Cow for the college, or should I create one Purple Cow for each department, or maybe one Purple Cow for each study programme?