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How to differentiate a new college program


Standing out is becoming harder and harder. With the massive amount of media constantly thrown at us by the modern world, information overload often blurs everything together. This presents a serious challenge to colleges who are launching a new program. From the perspective of the institution, these are uncharted waters. It’s exciting to think of the possibilities and untapped potential the future may hold. It opens up new areas of academic discussion, creates more options for current students and enhances the appeal of the institution through broadened (or more advanced) offerings. But what about the external perception?

Do you need to differentiate?

From the perspective of your target audience – if you don’t know who that is, you should - your new program might look quite similar to what other schools are offering. Since they are not intimately familiar with what you have produced, it’s imperative that you show why you are different. You’re giving them a reason to be excited about your new program and hopefully motivating them to want to learn more. How do you accomplish that?  

The 1-2 punch for differentiating a college program

At Idea Agency, we have successfully used a dual approach of brand and lead generation to help new programs get started and get filled. First, build a strong brand around your program. Second, use lead generation strategies to start filling up class seats. It is the one-two brand-and-marketing punch.

Take our Brand and Marketing 1-2 Punch quiz for customized feedback on your company.

Strong brands differentiate

A brand is not your logo, jingle, or tagline. A brand is a claim of distinction — it’s the stake in the ground that proves how a company or institution is different. The same thing applies to your program. A brand is a consistent drumbeat of your promise. What does your program provide that separates you from the pack? A strong brand for a new college program capitalizes on academic excellence, industry relevance and audience motivation.

If you can speak to those three aspects, you are well on your way to developing differentiation for your program. 

Free resource: download our social media worksheet now! 

Strategic marketing drives results

Differentiating your program is only the beginning. You still need to develop a plan to fill the seats. The final piece of differentiation, audience motivation is where much of your marketing starts. Develop a clear view of your audience to uncover their needs, aspirations, challenges and much more. With this foundation underfoot, you are ready to build a marketing plan.

If you would like to learn more about our one-two punch approach and how we are using inbound marketing to help higher education institutions meet enrollment, download our free resource. Or contact us for an in-person discussion.


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