Select a case study below.
AT JAMES MADISON UNIVERSITY, AN UNSTRUCTURED AND AD-HOC MARKETING APPROACH WAS TRANSFORMED INTO ONE THAT WAS FAR MORE STRATEGIC, OPTIMIZED, AND COST-CONSCIOUS.
When the project is done, you’re left with the capability to execute on the plan. Some consultants will make you dependent on having to stay around — we feel empowered to function as a self-sufficient entity.
Shonta Sellers, Communications & Marketing Manager, Professional & Continuing Education at James Madison University
Professional & Continuing Education (PCE) department at James Madison University (JMU) in Harrisonburg, Virginia
JMU offers a diverse range of programs from credit to continuing ed from everyone from children to seniors, traditional and non-traditional students, but had its eye on one single objective: growth. To that end, the university needed a solid marketing plan and a common template for each business unit that could be used to meet enrollment goals and targets.
The PCE group was on the hunt for a new marketing manager, but before they could focus on that, they needed a marketing strategy for that person to actually manage. Funds for program areas weren’t accessed strategically; there were more or less “buckets” of funds that were dipped into on an as-needed basis, with zero central oversight. This created a reactionary environment and not one tied to the department’s — or university’s — goals.
JMU’s need was immediately clear: a strategic marketing plan along with a tracking tool that could serve as a roadmap on a day-to-day basis. It needed to be process-driven and simple for the new marketing manager to implement. Approaching marketing on an annual, big-picture basis was key to avoiding ad-hoc activities that didn’t have a strong ROI, and being able to tie each expenditure for those activities to revenue goals and expected leads was crucial.
Guy met with JMU staff and different business units to understand how they’d approached marketing in the past, leading him to piece together the best path forward given each unit’s current processes for things like credit courses, professional development, continuing education, seniors, and youth camps. The needs were vast and varied.
Based on these meetings, Guy and JMU leadership decided to create a strategic marketing tool that was comprehensive, forward-looking to forecast trends, useful in serving diverse program needs, and results-oriented. This led to setting up key performance indicators (KPIs) so that they could narrow down their aspiration of growth to measurable and realistic goals. Using those KPIs and combining them with other measures of performance unique to JMU, Guy came up with meaningful metrics to guide decision-making and coalesce into the strategic marketing tool. Moving forward, JMU could look at the tool and answer three questions: 1) What has been spent from our budget? 2) How many leads can we expect from a certain activity? 3) What is the revenue we can expect from these leads?
The strategic marketing tool lets team members be more deliberate and intentional about their marketing activities and the budgeting that goes alongside those activities, allocating resources more appropriately and tracking where their dollars are working hardest on a channel-by-channel basis. All of this enables JMU departments to have a more streamlined process that allows everyone — from programming to marketing to leadership — to take the same approach toward their singular focus: growth.