I’ve been at this for almost ten years. I’ve been to just about every part of the U.S. to visit every type of higher education institution. I’ve talked with students at small private colleges and huge public research universities.
Across that diversity of location and scale, my favorite type of client is the one that works with us. I don’t always get the chance to speak my mind. But they’ve tossed me the keys to the Lipman Hearne blog, and before they figure out that there’s no one minding the store, I’m seizing the opportunity to point out a few things that define the best partnerships, especially when it comes to producing game-changing strategy and creative.
IT STARTS WITH INTAKE.
Bring us all the info. Send us the documents, the numbers, the strategies, the old creative. Put us in the room with your visionaries and decision-makers. Share with us your pain and your challenges. I promise you, we’ll do more than just look good in our suits and nod. We’ll hear you. We’ll feel your anxiety, your pride, and your hope. And we’ll learn more of what we need to know in order to help rewrite the narrative.
But don’t stack the deck. It’s understandable that you want to make a great first impression, but we need to hear everything—that includes the bad stuff. I’ll never forget the time I was doing intake on a client’s campus and I had an hour to roam around and ask random students what they thought about their school. The very first student I talked to said “This place sucks.” I was floored. But that student would go on to give me some of the most useful information of the entire trip. So don’t fill our on-campus discussion groups with tour guides who only know the company line. We need authenticity before we can help you build affinity.
Point to the bullseye. The clearer you are with your goals, the better we are with our chances of meeting them. We all want the same thing—whether that thing is to enroll more students, attract better students, boost the institutional reputation, or entice donors to give. We’ve worked with universities and colleges to do all of those things. But not all at the same time. The greater the focus, the greater the results you’ll have.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW CASE STUDY EXAMPLE
University of Texas at Arlington – over the years we have collaborated with UTA on
several successful marketing initiatives, including brand development, integrated marketing
campaign, website redesign, and fundraising communications.
Be honest. We can take it. Nothing kills an idea faster than silence. Nothing slows momentum quicker than a speakerphone on mute. We welcome the conversation. Whenever we share ideas, we try to leave a good portion of time for discussion. Without those important minutes of back and forth, some good thinking can get lost. So tell us honestly what you think.
Understand that you are not the target. Everything we do is built on solid research. We know the people you need to talk to and we know how to reach them. Sometimes that means you’ll have to approve messages or methods that might not speak to you – because they’re not meant to! I remember once a client was worried that the banner ads we’d done weren’t effective because she wasn’t seeing them, even though she went to the sites where they were placed. We explained how that was a good thing, since she was outside the targeted age range for those ads. We also shared with her the above average click thru rates we had accomplished, which helped.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW CASE STUDY EXAMPLE
University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business – understanding their target audience, and being in the right place with the right message to reach them.
I guess if I have to part on one note, it’s that – Lipman Hearne wants the same things you do. We love getting the results, moving the needle, and hearing the anecdotal feedback about how there’s a “new energy on campus.”
We don’t win unless you do.