A Season of Collaboration

It is officially May, and for many in higher education admissions and marketing, that’s the start of the busy season. Yielding one class, prepping for the next, developing marketing campaigns, and placing billboards – it means a hectic summer to ensure the best results for minimizing summer melt and laying the groundwork for the next year’s marketing and admissions strategy. 

As I was reflecting about the work that happens in the summer between admissions and marketing, I kept returning to the idea that it is a time of critical collaboration.

As such, if a strong relationship does not exist between the two groups, it can be difficult to efficiently complete the work needed each summer, which could have longterm ramifications.  

From my experience, the relationship between marketing and admissions is one of the most critical on campus. 

Study Participant

Being in a new role at a new university, I am spending time building relationships across campus, and I find myself revisiting several strategies I wrote about for building collaboration in the AACRAO SEM Journal about 2 years ago. While the article is a few years old, the strategies and tactics discussed have not changed significantly. Here are three of the points out of the 10 discussed in the article.

Strategies for Collaboration

1. Meet Regularly

Find a regular weekly meeting time with your peers as an initial place to build collaboration. The regular meeting of leadership with both groups should only take an hour. It should cover current projects, key messaging opportunities, upcoming needs, and review of prior opportunities. Meeting each week is critical to build the relationship with the other office and help everyone see each other as people. Additionally, one person needs to be tasked with sending the agenda the day before and the notes after the meeting. With multiple people attending each week, it is critical to have one a consistent source of the notes to make sure that everyone has the same understanding of what was discussed. 

2. University Personas 

Developing personas of the target audiences you work with is another way to help build collaboration because it removes personal preferences. The personas allow everyone to make decisions about what the personas (for example, Susie, the first-generation student) need. Not what you or someone else prefers. Additionally, using personas creates a litmus test to brainstorm all ideas against it to assess if the idea would help achieve the desired outcomes. It is a relatively quick way to help remove personal preference from the decisions. 

3. Collaborate on Communication 

When talking about communication, collaboration is critical. When done correctly, it creates a win-win scenario for both groups. Admissions talks to a large audience of prospective students, so it is a great way for marketing teams to get their materials and brand messages out to large groups who they normally would have limited access to. For Admissions, they need lots of content to connect with and engage with prospective students. The collaboration with marketing gives them access to a plethora of quality university content including video content, graphical content, and lots of campus imagery. 

Putting It All Together

These are just a few of the tips in the article, but I think they serve as a starting point to create meaningful, robust collaboration with colleagues.

I, too, am benefitting from this exercise, as these are three of the tips that I hope to use to help continue to build relationships with those on the campus of the new university I am a part of.

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