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How to develop a Marketing Plan

The RCC Marketing department is available to assist you to reach potential students or customers for your college program or service.

There are numerous ways to communicate with potential customers or to increase general awareness of your program. You may want to sponsor a special event, develop an advertising campaign, prepare a brochure, get an article published, create a flyer, or come up with something entirely new.

Whatever you identify as your primary goals will determine what marketing instruments to use. We suggest you think through your marketing needs by following these basic guidelines.

What do you want to accomplish?

This could be as simple as "increase enrollment." In other cases there may be more complex objectives in addition. Your program may need volunteers; there may be grant funding that is significant; the “internal market” may also be important to your program; or perhaps your program is new and you need to get the word out about what is now available. Your goals should be stated as succinctly and completely as possible.

What do you have to offer?

In business terms this would be a statement of your product or service. A product is a unique bundle of characteristics. It is rarely one thing. A college experience brings with it much more than knowledge and information. There are social outcomes, personal development possibilities, financial benefits, career enhancement prospects, and so forth. List as many of these outcomes as are relevant to your program.

Who do you want to reach?

Your target market should be defined as specifically as possible. Look at the demographics of your historic enrollment. Identify the composition of your students by gender, age, race and ethnicity, family status, goals, and other appropriate measures that help you to identify those likely to respond positively to a marketing campaign. Demographics include:

  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Ages
  • Family Status
  • Goals
  • Other

What do you want to say?

The messages should be clear, directed at the target markets, and related to the product or service being offered.

What is your timeline for delivering your message?

With these five issues addressed you will have a basic marketing plan. You may want to include your advisory committee in its development — feel free to call on us to assist you along the way. After the plan is in place, we will work with you to develop the marketing instruments that will help to achieve the goals identified in your plan. For more information email [email protected].

Click here to download the Marketing Plan Worksheet.