When most people hear the word marketing, their minds gravitate
to catchy or memorable television commercials for products such
as beer, cars and fast food. Marketing theorists counter that
advertising is just one subset of the total approach that a
company or brand uses to present itself to the world, including
the product’s price, how and where it is sold, and even
the product or service itself. Most people would agree that
marketing as a discipline has its place, but does marketing
have a place at Memorial?
|Michael Pickard will help lead
Memorial’s marketing efforts.
Until recently, most universities in Canada (including Memorial)
had departments responsible for publicity and public relations
– both technically marketing functions, but not what most
would consider proactive marketing approaches. In the 1990s,
several Canadian universities – including UBC, UNB and
York – took the lead in developing integrated marketing
departments. They hired marketing professionals to analyze marketing
opportunities to help build the profile of their respective
universities, raise funds through alumni and corporate support,
and increase enrolment revenue.
Memorial’s administration recognized the importance of
developing strategically relevant messages to help achieve overall
institutional objectives. A marketing working group was formed
– a council of university professionals interested in
and knowledgeable about marketing.
One of the key conclusions of the marketing working group was
that Memorial’s brand needed to be examined and analyzed
by experts. After an exhaustive search, Memorial hired Manifest
Communications – one of North America’s leading
social marketing agencies. Manifest has developed strategic
and creative programs for York University, McGill University
and George Brown College. Manifest has consulted with dozens
of students, academics, administrators, government officials
and business leaders in the province. Manifest’s senior
team is now in the midst of developing recommendations for the
tone and style of Memorial’s marketing communications,
and strategic direction for its key messages.
Memorial has made other strides in refining its marketing approach.
Recently, Memorial hired Michael Pickard as its associate director
of marketing. Mr. Pickard has spent over 10 years working with
advertising agencies throughout Atlantic Canada, creating and
directing plans and programs for dozens of clients. Most recently,
he was a key architect of an institution-wide marketing and
communications program for the University of New Brunswick –
and he brings this specific experience to Memorial. One of Mr.
Pickard’s first tasks is to develop a long-term marketing
plan for Memorial – a task which is underway.
“With a strong level of support from the university’s
administration, a new brand focus coming, a marketing team in
place, and a three-year marketing plan in the works, Memorial
University is preparing itself for achieving long-term goals
in the areas of undergraduate and graduate recruitment, brand
recognition, and fundraising,” he said.