January 13, 2009

The Internet as University marketing tool

While the use of information and communication technology (ICT) as education strategy is a hot item receiving a lot of attention it seems that ICT as education marketing strategy receives a very low priority. This is my conclusion from many visits to university or in general educational web sites. The web sites of most universities are notoriously bad and structured around contexts and philosophies of the previous decade. With few exceptions most sites are targeting the internal rather than the external publics and often score very low in usability.
While I haven't found much research evidence of this I suspect that educational institutions are missing opportunities in the market place because of poor design of their web sites and bad visitor experience. In an article published in EDUCAUSE Quarterly Meredith Weiss comes to a similar conclusion. Weiss seems to agree with this thesis suggesting a number of approaches that could turn the educational web sites into sources of value. To my pleasure the author is suggesting, among other approaches, the methodology described in my 4S Web Marketing Mix model as a basis for designing of educational web sites.
In the age of the Social Media and customer empowerment educational institutions should seriously think about learning to use the new media effectively, adjusting their marketing to the requirements of today's student. Ignoring the Internet as marketing tool is a very serious strategic mistake.