I recently conducted a market research project for a company that is looking to extend its existing product to provide better solutions for career services offices and help universities tell better stories to key audiences. The product is currently in use by more than 300 colleges and universities nationwide, primarily in the marketing/communications area. As someone who has worked in marketing in higher education for nearly two decades, I found it fascinating to talk to thought leaders in career services and learn just how similar many of our challenges are. I also realized what great opportunities are ahead for stronger partnerships between these two groups.
Marketers are storytellers. They seek out stories to help raise or change the perception of their schools among prospective students and their parents, to raise money, and to reinforce associations for alumni. They need to showcase what their students do while enrolled, and more than ever, share outcomes to prove the value of a degree from their universities.
Career services offices are also seeking out stories to share to help build strong internship and employer relations programs, and they too want to showcase first destination and post-graduation outcomes. Stories walk in through their doors every single day.
Imagine the collaborations if these two historically siloed departments worked closely together to craft strong stories that would benefit both of their offices and the college/university overall? And imagine if they even shared data? Break down the divisional silos, befriend each other (and your CIO), draft a vision that doesn’t get hung up in multi-year committee chaos, and make it happen. Add Alumni Relations to the mix and you’ll be the superheroes of your university.
Rachel Reuben is a consultant and experienced leader helping marketing professionals who are stretched thin so they are freed up to focus on strategic on marketing to optimize their marketing goals while increasing operational efficiency and negotiating tight timelines.