Marketing 101

What is Marketing?

Marketing is the process of getting people interested in what you are offering—typically a product or a service. The starting point for any successful marketing effort is having a firm grasp of your ideal “customer’s” needs and what motivates them to take action. Going through the 5 W’s of marketing and answering them is a great first step toward figuring this out:

  • Who is your audience?
  • What does your audience want or need?
  • Where can your audience be found?
  • When is the best time to message your audience?
  • Why would your audience be interested in what you’re offering?

What About Branding?

A brand is whatever comes into a person’s mind—ideas, images … a gut feeling—when they think about a product, service or company. It’s the intuitive associations conjured by hearing a brand name or seeing a logo; these are usually a mix of the practical (“this hat was made in the US”) and the emotional (“this hat makes me feel young”).

A company's or institution's brand is its most valuable asset, and trust is the foundation of a strong brand. People develop trust in a brand when their expectations of the product or service it represents are reliably met.

The 5 C’s of brand building:

  • Clarity — what value do you provide and to whom?
  • Conversation — engage your audience in a two-way dialogue
  • Community — actively nurture a sense of belonging and shared purpose
  • Content — create and share content that inspires, educates and entertains
  • Consistency — in your tone, visuals and across channels helps to avoid confusion

Getting Started

Answer these and you’re well on the way to identifying your brand:

  • Who are you as an organization?
  • To whom are you speaking?
  • How do you want them to feel?
  • What action(s) do you want them to take?
  • What is your call to action?

Marketing an Event: Where to Begin

Some first steps when you’re planning an event on campus.

  1. Make sure you have all of the final event details.
    Pro tip: avoid scheduling your event on the same day as another similar event by cross-referencing the campus calendar and checking with relevant unit heads.
  2. Identify the target audience and find out how they like to be contacted.
  3. Identify the goal of the event.
  4. Formulate your call to action.
  5. Decide what channels you will use for promotion.
  6. Secure your budget.
  7. Prepare a marketing plan (recommended—see below).

Marketing Plans

A good marketing plan defines the objectives, strategies and tactics for a marketing campaign or event promotion. Taking the time to develop one during the early planning stages is usually a good idea. It will serve as your central reference document throughout the campaign, helping to keep track of progress and keep everyone on the same page.