The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Marketing Plan enters development stages

“Right now we are in the positioning stage,” said Senior Director of Communications and Marketing Ty Buckner. “We are looking really hard at what the external view of Guilford is and what we want it to be and make sure that this image is authentic.”The positioning process is a preliminary step in developing the college’s marketing plan, an element of The Strategic Plan for Guilford College 2005-2010. This process began in February and will be finished by May.

Lynn Gibbs, vice president of the Design Group, said that the marketing position will be determined through community input.

“We need students and everyone in the community to contribute their ideas on what they think the true essence of Guilford is,” said Gibbs.

Community Senate will be instrumental in the process of gathering opinions.

“Senate will bring this issue to the students, and from the input, we will compile a list of the highlights of the students opinions on Guilford’s image and the reality at Guilford so it can be referred to in determining the community’s position,” said Community Senate president Joe Pelcher.

The integrated marketing plan will be developed over seven months, from May to December. Upon the completion of that stage, implementation will occur in January 2010. This plan will be in place through December 2013.

“Before we begin developing the marketing plan and get the funding for it, we have to settle on our position,” said Buckner. “We have to determine what the positive characteristics or qualities are that we want people to think of when they think of Guilford. They have to be authentic and resonate with the entire community-not just prospective students, but current students, faculty, staff and donors.”

Buckner said that the goals of the marketing plan will be taken into account when determining the position.

According to the Guilford Beacon, the main goals of the integrated plan are to promote Guilford’s uniqueness as a Quaker-founded liberal arts college that emphasizes academic excellence. Another objective of the plan is to raise the college’s visibility in comparison to competitors and aspirants.

However, Buckner emphasized that a key goal is making sure that the image that Guilford presents to the world is authentic.

“It has to ring true,” said Gibbs. “Some people come to Guilford and find that the reality hadn’t lined up to their expectations.”

Sophomore and Senate treasurer-elect Jordan Auleb said that she thought Guilford would be more academically rigorous and considered transferring at one point.

“I decided to get involved and have found strong allies in the faculty, the staff and student leaders who cared about my concern,” said Auleb. “Guilford ignited in me a passion for learning and community learning. Instead of hating Guilford I learned to link the two.”

At a meeting concerning the positioning process with Buckner, Dean for Campus Life Aaron Fetrow and a number of student senators, Inter-club Council chair sophomore Alex Knox asked Fetrow about the marketing plan’s role in student retention.

Fetrow said that, historically, academic dismissals have always been the leading cause for students leaving Guilford.

“The two other leading causes are medical issues and problems with fit,” said Fetrow. “Fit is a generic term that can mean ‘my girlfriend is at home but I had to tell mom that I don’t like Guilford,’ or ‘I decided that I want an engineering degree and I need to transfer.’ We try to drill down so we can find out if students leave because they thought Guilford would be different. But we don’t get a lot of ‘you lied to us’.”

The Ad Hoc Marketing Group has developed an online survey that students can currently access on The Buzz. This questionnaire asks students to identify words and phrases that “capture the essence of the college.”

“We need to survey effectively and in a timely manner,” said Buckner. “We need to gather as many voices in the community as possible.”

The group created the survey with specificity and clarity in mind. It lists statements that students rank from 1-5 (strongly disagree- strongly agree), such as: “Guilford is academically challenging,” “Guilford supports each individual student,” “Guilford creates leaders,” and “Guilford prepares students for social responsibilty.”

Focus groups that include students have already met and Buckner and Gibbs met with Fetrow, as well as officers from the current and upcoming Senate including Auleb, Knox, and Pelcher, in order to discuss the positioning process and to determine the best way to phrase the survey questions and what questions to highlight when they are brought to students.

In order to determine the primary unique qualities of Guilford that will be addressed in the survey, philanthropic studies were administered by Campbell and Company, and online surveys were conducted.

According to an announcement on the Beacon, “Analysis of survey results highlighted Guilford’s competitive advantages: Quaker heritage, politically active campus, liberal environment, academic excellence, social responsibility, small classes, practical liberal arts education, community and meaningful faculty/student relationships.”

“It’s great that Advancement has started a dialogue with students on how their school is marketed to the world,” said Community Senate community and student concerns chair senior Chris Pugliese. “Asking students about how to market the school opens up a conversation on what Guilford means to people individually and collectively.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Guilfordian intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and must be approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards. The Guilfordian does not allow anonymous comments, and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Guilfordian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *