Indiana University must market itself more efficiently to reach not just to prospective students and employees, but also competitors who help decide IU’s rankings. That was the message from Kelley School of Business Dean Dan Smith to IU’s trustees Friday.
Smith concludes IU’s many departments could save money by more effectively targeting their marketing dollars, pointing out his school feels it keeps its recruiting costs down by convincing other business school deans to rate IU highly.
“One of the things we’ve also turned to lately is we’ve been sharing our best practices with the deans because after a while they get tired of opening up just sales material, if you will, or presentation material about what’s going on at the school,” Smith says. “So we talk about ‘news you can use.’”
Smith adds the University must also monetize IU’s existing possessions and offerings, especially in its nationally recognized programs – such as its journalism, informatics and music schools. Trustee Phil Eskew expressed concern about standardizing IU’s many web pages in look and color for a cohesive electronic image. Eskew did throw his support behind a suggestion to limit the amount of printed marketing material IU generates and focus more on targeted electronic communication.
“I think it’s a matter of focus groups – talking to alumni – [asking] what do you want to receive,” Eskew says. “Well you learn that by people that delete the address or don’t do that. So electronically we have the opportunity to survey people, to find out what they would like to know, whether it’s about athletics or a particular school.”
IU has issued a request for proposals to branding firms to help reposition the University in the marketplace. Smith says full implementation of his recommendations and those of the branding consultant will likely take several years.