Strategic Directions

Drop Shadow

Marketing: Strategic Directions Workshop, February 8, 2005

[pdf file for printing]

Theme: Improve USD’s visibility locally, regionally, and nationally.

General Questions:

  1. What processes could we put in place to ensure that we present a consistent, coherent message to our various publics?
  2. What organizational model will best integrate our marketing efforts?

Discussants: Coreen Petti (group leader), Anna Cain (recorder), Elaine Atencio, Theresa Hrenchir, Stacy Miller, Reuben Mitchell, Steve Pultz, Barbara Quinn, Ky Snyder, Elaine Worzala.

Summary of Major Ideas

USD is “becoming a nationally preeminent Catholic university,” according to our Vision Statement. One of our strategic goals commits us to develop “a stronger and clearer institutional identity regionally and nationally.” The following ideas will help us achieve this.

1. Clarify USD’s local identity:

  • Distinguish USD from “UCSDSU” by emphasizing our unique Catholic heritage. Showcase how alums and the USD community have demonstrated USD’s values in their own lives. Identify and promote what USD can do that UCSD and SDSU cannot.
  • Build a local identity by defining and emphasizing the unique USD experience, which is the core of our culture. We are known as “the Catholic College,” and this can be both a disadvantage and an advantage—survey results show that we are recognized and appreciated for being inclusive of other faith traditions.
  • We need consistent messaging around our values, so we need to define what we mean by these values. We should compose a statement that can be used to explain our position on a number of recurring issues (e.g., race/ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation).
  • Increase our outreach to community groups, local schools, cultural groups, partnerships. Bring kids to campus. More visibility translates into more local support.

2. Clarify USD’s regional and national identity:

  • We need to be consistent in our imaging, paying particular attention to the images we create for attracting students nationally and internationally as well as locally. Currently, 10% of our incoming freshmen come from San Diego.
  • We need a tagline—a shortened vision statement—to summarize our identity. We also need to agree on a process for choosing one.
  • We could out-source with a PR firm for specific programs, set out a clear idea for visual identity, get a clear sense of who we are on a national level, and define how we want to differentiate ourselves from other schools nationally. The confusion between USD and “UCSDSU” is weaker nationally than locally.

3. Establish consistency in our marketing efforts:

  • Improve our “internal marketing”—our communication among the campus community. Each division/school needs someone who can communicate what’s going on in that area to the rest of the campus and regularly interacts with the marketing department. We need a way of communicating “who does what” in the different areas.
  • Recruitment and marketing should be inseparable. At present, marketing is viewed as being driven by fundraising objectives. We must involve faculty and staff in recruitment, and create images that emphasize the unique USD experience.
  • Take an inventory to determine what we’re doing, how much we’re spending, and what resources and tools we’re using (including Web pages).
  • Identify what we want to market, why we want to market it, and what tools will be most effective (e.g., flyers, newsletters, promotional pieces, Web pages). Define our mission and vision for each marketing area.
  • We need to produce guidelines to assist different areas in developing their own marketing tools. What needs to be written in every publication? boiler plate? contact info? Marketing should be supportive, not authoritative.
  • Consistent marketing begins with the Web, and we need a centralized Webmaster to ensure a quality product. Quality is important to both our external constituents and our internal community. The Web should include: scholarship info, employment, press releases, events, etc.
  • We should give a branding token to guest speakers—something with our logo on it. Allocate funds for this effort, so that it can be done campus-wide.
  • Prioritize—do a little, but do it great!

4. Provide an organizational structure to optimize consistency and cost effectiveness for our marketing efforts:

  • Because marketing is part of University Relations, it’s not viewed as having an umbrella over all of USD. We need to be “presidential” in the way marketing is positioned with some cross-divisional lines to create a more “institution-oriented” model. Areas tend to “reinvent the wheel” because institutional marketing is so decentralized.
  • We want to keep marketing bureaucracy to a minimum, but we also need a structure to provide enforcement, authority, and accountability. It is legitimate to say “this is how we do it at USD,” while still providing some flexibility. We can apply a “global vision/goal” to each dept/school with some flexibility to properly market it—Proctor and Gamble, for example, has many sub-brands.
  • We have no institutional marketing budget. We need to develop standard methods of spending money for marketing efforts. Negotiating rate cards, photography, designers for campus-wide use is more cost-effective if centrally coordinated.
  • The Department of Marketing and Strategic Partnerships has a Web coordinator, an Office of Creative Services for advertising, and an Art Director, but most of the campus isn’t aware of them, as it has come into existence over the last six months. They serve the UR division, but ultimately they need to serve the entire campus. How do we make this happen?

Action Priorities:

  • Define our tagline.
  • Review and analyze the current organizational structure; recommend needed changes.
  • Collaborate with groups across campus to create a marketing protocol.
  • Extend our outreach by marketing to local communities—but we must answer some key questions about our commitments in order to do this.
  • Improve internal communication.