how many $150K products do you buy from 20 year olds?
I've been touring colleges over the last couple of weeks, and oh boy, there's plenty to share. This will hopefully be the first of a few posts related to higher education marketing.
Let's talk tours.
The college tour system is BROKEN. And they're all doing the exact. same. thing:
+ Meet in the visitor center (and at the better colleges) mingle with a couple students.
+ Tour a lecture hall, the athletic center, a dining hall, a sample dorm room, a classroom, the blue light security system, and the student center.
+ Deliver factoids about the teacher/student ratio, the dorms, the meal plan, and security.
(I can now walk onto any campus in the U.S., and give the tour, sight unseen.)
Things that are bothersome, and are ripe for change:
+ Yes, the prospective student wants to hear from a real student, but not everyone's comfortable buying a $150,000 product from a 20 year old. (Like parents.)
+ The student tour guide is a representative of the end product. If she says things like "I'm ascared of the dark" or "...help with the softwares on your computer" or "most freshmans are on this plan," parents aren't getting excited to make a buy.
+ Most students (and parents) tour more than one school. By tour #3, they're bored out of their skulls.
There's an opportunity for someone to do something spectacular.
+ What about having an admissions/marketing person on tour with a student guide? Co-presenting, for the win? Sales teams present to clients selling $150K products every day. Why not higher ed?
+ Everyone has a meal plan, quad style dorms, blue light security systems and lecture halls. Hand out a fact sheet to cover the obvious stuff that everyone asks (but must be covered.)
+ What's different about your school? The entire campus of UMASS Dartmouth was pretty much designed by renowned architect Paul Rudolph. The buildings are striking. Any mention on the tour? Nope.
+ How could your tour be fun? Something that I want to tweet to my friends?
+ How could your tour be interactive? Is there a way to get the student/parent to participate?
+ Everyone has a camera in their pocket. Some even stream video. Let's put it to use, and give people a reason to take a photo. They might even share it with their friends.
+ Anywhere else in the consumersphere, you're treated like a rockstar if you've got over $100K to spend. How could you treat potential students (and parents) like rock stars?
Every higher ed admissions/marketing person should book a trip to Vegas today and take the Zappos tour. Seriously. This is a tour of AN OFFICE, and it's exciting, engaging, and you'll want to work there. What could your university be doing to make your tour more Zappos-like?