Having a new baby at home has led to a change in my reading habits. I never thought I would spend my time studying infant sleep patterns, best performing bottle warmers, or the finer differences between identical-looking car seats.
Brian Millar’s article “5 Things Toddlers Can Teach You About Marketing” seemed like a great opportunity to read outside the infant literary spectrum, but not too far.
Millar is the Strategy Director at Sense Worldwide, but during a two-year stint as a stay-at-home Dad, he found himself immersed in a culture that taught him some valuable marketing lessons. Yes, marketing lessons… from his children.
1. Emotional benefits sell better than rational ones. Ravioli was only a hit in Millar’s house after being renamed “pasta presents.” What’s the ravioli at your institution that with a new perspective could be a huge hit?
2. Don’t ask your consumers whether they want something new. Apple is the clear example. Do I need an iPhone with a 4″ screen instead of 3.5″? Now I do. How can you stay ahead offering what your students want before they even want it?
3. Bonuses are better than bribes. I’m already bribing my child to crawl across the room with a toy or a cracker in exchange for a moment of quiet. He reminds us that the bribe will work, but you’ll always have to up the ante. “Bonuses are where you get something extra for doing something you’d like to do anyway,” Millar writes. In the college recruitment world, it’s the signature moment that makes your campus experience unique.
4. Nothing kills a bad product faster than good advertising. A commercial had convinced me that the overnight super soaker diaper would lead to a dry morning. Instead, I changed a wet baby, wet pajamas, and wet sheets. Oh, and started laundry. Make sure you can live up to the promises of your campaign. Promoting that you were named a best-buy college in the four-state region? Much will be expected of the financial aid packages you send out in the spring.
5. Move beyond functional equivalence. Millar writes, “It seems that people will pay for much more than function these days.” In-state public school tuition is very different from that of a private university, but people are paying for more than the diploma. It’s up to you to demonstrate the value added by your institution.
Read more about our authors. Derek Luther has been working in admissions since his days as a student at Elon University (graduating in 2001). He has worked with students in first year experience programs at Elon and Immaculata University, e-communications and has a Master’s degree in Student Affairs. As a valued member of the TargetX team, Derek has been working with prospective clients of the TargetX CRM, a cloud-based CRM solution for admissions. He has presented at several conferences and workshops throughout the nation.