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   A Memorial University of Newfoundland Publication

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March 31, 2005


The evolution of marketing at Memorial

Michael Pickard
Michael Pickard will help lead Memorial’s marketing efforts.
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?

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.