I joined the School of COmunications & REputation also known as SCoRe- in March this year as a Marketing Communications Manager. The one thing that I have understood in these few months is that it is easier for someone from a Public Relations background to do the job as compared to someone from a non-communications background.
The reason is that, having a complete knowledge about the sector you are selling helps in a lot of ways. And since PR is a very niche career option that is gaining popularity, this factor became even more important. There are a lot of tools that one can use while marketing a new post-graduate programme, and the top five according to me are as follows:
Trust is the most important factor when it comes to making a decision about education. Parents and students only invest their money and peak time of their career when they trust an institute or a brand. Hence, it becomes very important for a new post-graduate programme to gather confidence and support from industry stalwarts. A student or their families are likely to rely on the recommendation of a known professional versus a new school that just came into existence.
Public Relations in another important tool that can be effectively used to build trust. While an advertisement is paid for, a journalist will only write about your institution if they believe in what you are offering. Though your school will not be eligible to take part in course rankings, it can be a good idea to stay in regular touch with reporters so that they are constantly updated about new developments. The various tools in digital marketing like search engine optimization, social media engagement, Facebook advertisements etc. can be good ways to market your programme if used intelligently.
It is always a good idea to interact with the target audience personally, hence it is beneficial for a post-graduate institute to visit college campuses and talk to students about their programme. By visiting campuses students have the opportunity to ask you questions face to face and clear their doubts. For marketing SCoRe we have personally visited over 25 colleges in Delhi NCR region, close to 10 in metro cities like Mumbai, Bangalore and around 20 colleges in Tier-2 towns like Chandigarh, Jaipur, Lucknow, Meerut among others.
Career counsellors and coaching centers are one of the places where students visit the most. Also, the counsellors and teachers at the coaching centers are direct influencers to the target audience of a post-graduate school. If you as a PG programme can make these influencers your advocates, it can work incredibly well in your favour. We are lucky to get support from famous Indian career counsellors like Mrs. Pervin Malhotra and Mr. Jitin Chawla
Industry experts are the best people who can clear students’ doubts. They are also the people who are mentors and hold an aspirational value to the students. If as a PG school, you can provide a platform for potential students to meet industry experts, you can be positioned in a desired manner. Not only these experts can clear the doubts of students, but they can also be good advocators to your offering. So far, SCoRe has conducted one such session branded as PRep Talk with a CEO of a PR firm and aims to conduct these regularly for the benefit of students.
There are a many other ways you can market a post-graduate programme but according to my experience the ones listed above, can be the most effective. While it is not easy to publicize a new course and get people on your side in the first few years, you can rely on these tools that can give you some in-road in the education sector. If like us, you too are beginning to establish a specialised PG programme, we would greatly appreciate your ideas. All the best!
– Radhika Nandwani
Radhika is the Corporate Communications Advisor at Dell’s Performance Analytics Group. She started her career in 2011, with one of the leading PR firms of India – MSLGROUP, specialising in technology brands. The campaigns executed by her while at MSL, have won several PR industry awards including SABRE and PR Week Asia. In her last role, she was the founding team member and the marketing communications manager at SCoRe. Radhika is an English graduate and holds a Master’s degree in Mass Communication. She loves reading and is passionate about gender equality, food and Bollywood. She can be reached at @RadhikaNandwani on Twitter and here on LinkedIn