Universities Boost Marketing Budgets By 25% Over Three Years


One rarely comes across marketing data related to universities, so the information I stumbled upon recently proved an interesting read. According to an article in the Drum, universities increased their marketing expenditure by 25% between 2009 and 2012.

The publication was citing figures from a study conducted by EMR. The marketing staff recruiter estimates that the average spend grew from £498,549 to £579,035 over that period. When broken down to spending per applicant, the amount increased from £19 to £25. According to 25% of the survey participants, universities attach greater importance to their existing reputation than to proactive marketing, which probably explains why neither Oxford nor Cambridge have any advertising budgets.

Commenting on the poll results, EMR managing director Simon Bassett told the Drum that marketing had become much more important since the introduction of new tuition fees. With students expected to pay up to £9,000, higher education has come under intense scrutiny and marketers have to work harder to demonstrate value.

But bigger ad budgets alone will not do the trick unless universities invest their money appropriately, Bassett went on to add. They need to get creative and make the most of their heritage by embracing alternative channels to reach new people. Social media is one such channel and many private education institutions are using it effectively to communicate with prospective students. Even established providers can derive significant benefits from social media campaigns, allowing them to present a new face to an audience enamoured of this communication platform, Bassett noted.