Foothill College 2011-2012 Integrated Marketing and Communications Plan Introduction The purpose of the Foothill College Integrated Marketing and Communications Plan is to support the college mission by enhancing public awareness and participation in the college’s many programs, services and activities. The plan seeks to increase the overall visibility of the college and reinforce its brand and reputation within the community. Foothill College prides itself on academic excellence, responsive student services, advanced technology, community and industry partnerships, and workforce and economic development. Foothill’s marketing efforts highlight the high-quality education and dynamic services the college provides to its community, to support the college’s growth, reach diverse student populations and communicate to its many constituencies through multiple channels. To effectively communicate and market to existing and prospective students, Foothill College must use of a variety of strategies, based on our target audience communication style, and constantly re-evaluate its marketing methods and messages to meet our diverse student population. This document provides an overview of the 2011-2012 activities of the Marketing and Communications Department at Foothill College. The emphasis of this plan was determined by evaluating the changing needs our diverse student body through current market research, student survey results as well as the college’s past marketing experience. Key challenge in 2011-12 environment: misperceptions generated by state budget crisis and being heard above the noise Throughout the state budget crisis of the past three years, the public has heard constant reports on the crippling impact of budget cuts, higher fees and reduced course offerings on student access to higher education. The message has created a misperception that students should simply give up trying to access community colleges and that all classes are full. In this environment Foothill faces the challenge of informing the public about the negative affects of budget cuts while still sending a positive message to potential students encouraging their participation and success in college. When our audience is being bombarded by a constant stream of information we must differentiate our message and to be heard using the following strategies.: • Implementing a comprehensive advertising plan to increase student enrollment in core areas. For Fall Quarter the college increased course offerings in high-demand subjects like English, math and science and closely monitored enrollment patterns to adjust course offerings to serve as many students as possible.
Promoting and communicating a simple, consistent and ubiquitous message throughout the advertising and communications campaign. “There is a place for you at Foothill. Classes are available, but students must plan ahead and be flexible.” Utilize media relations and external communications strategies to communicate the impact of budget cuts, while at the same time communicating that we are still a top choice for students to pursue their higher education.
Goals 2011-2012 1. Create and implement a 2011-2012 marketing plan to continue to address college wide marketing needs and promote the Foothill brand. Work with research and enrollment managers to focus strategy. Expand use of online marketing venues such as Google Adwords and social networking sites. 2. Advance the use of electronic communication tools such as targeted email, social networking sites and electronic media to communicate and market to students. 3. Review and assess the Foothill College website through both quantitative and qualitative metrics and research to determine ways to improve its function and organization. 4. Implement a mobile applications strategy and investigate options such as Banner mobile platform and higher education mobile applications.
I. 2011-2012 Marketing and Communications Plan