A Fresh Look at Marketing for the New Year
Case Management can be a complex field and sometimes difficult to market to our surrounding community. Often, we face challenges such as lack of buy-in, budget, or manpower. Here at the University of Central Florida (UCF), our Care Management staff has put in hours, days, and years to get to the level of marketing that we have reached today. We have a smaller staff, started with a modestly low budget, and have grown leaps and bounds beyond where we’ve started. We provide non-clinical case management to over 700 students each academic year, and our numbers continue to grow. We also oversee a campus-wide caring initiative (UCF Cares) with a team of 20 student ambassadors to help spread the word about our support services. Here are some tips to remember for marketing your area and showing your institution what you’re all about! Our goal is to ensure that students don’t fall through the cracks and that our campus community has the knowledge and skill set to demonstrate care and comfortably make a referral to our services.
1. Stay Focused and Consistent: Make sure that your area or initiative has a specific mission and/or goals. Focus on communicating this clear and specific message to your community. What is your office name? What services do you provide? How can you be reached? Do you have a tagline that makes sense? Keep it simple.
Our staff visits as many academic or student affairs departments we can throughout the year. We do this annually to ensure they know our names and faces, what our area provides, and how we can work with them. We also make sure to be present at student and parent orientations, and often table regularly outside of our office with giveaways. We stick with the common theme logos, even if our content changes. Make sure to always put the logo on everything you create.
2. Partner: Never underestimate the power of a good partnership. Our office has teamed up with other leaders on our campus such as Housing and Residence Life, the Recreation and Wellness Center, Counseling, Health Services and more! These offices partner with us to make up our UCF Cares initiative team to provide programming and support for students. Because we all have the same goals for the safety and well-being of students, we share in a lot of things; programming efforts, marketing, services, and even monetary resources. We have been able to provide more programing and marketing materials by teaming up with other offices who generate their own funds because we share the workload and a common goal.
3. Increase your reach: Social media is your friend! We encourage everyone we meet to follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. We share valuable content such as scholarships, programs, university resources, job opportunities, and puppy pictures-everything you need as a college student. Our UCF Cares Ambassadors fill the gap with student to student outreach. They host educational and social events throughout the year to spread the word. We have also worked with students to create marketing videos for our office for students, faculty, staff and parents to get to know us a little better. We also offer trainings to student groups, faculty and staff, Resident Assistants, and present at orientations.
4. Get Creative: Research what resonates with students, what has worked well at other institutions and your community, and put your own twist on it! Don’t have a creative bone in your body? Team up with someone who does. For example, our university marketing team created a spin-off of the how are you feeling today? poster that people love! They provided us with swivel cards with various emotional faces and tips on how to deal with students experiencing the coinciding concern. The phrase From Caring Comes Courage can also be seen on many student and staff t-shirts at UCF which was another popular marketing campaign. We also repurposed some older lengthy Emergency Guides and transitioned them into quick glance resources and support tips and contacts for student concerns. These were provided at Faculty orientations and directly to departments.
What kind of support can you get at no cost? Think: Interns, student ambassadors, a Facebook page
5. Customer Service matters: Referrals are at the crux of the work we do on a daily basis. If the campus community doesn’t understand or trust what we do, the referrals won’t come in. The majority of our initial growth was from faculty and staff who had positive experiences with making a referral to our office. They were able to find out, either from speaking directly with care manager or through website FAQ pages, what to expect from a referral. They felt involved in the process, which led to telling their peers about our services. Take the time to develop simple talking points or website information that will quickly convey what the reporter can expect.
Hopefully these tips will give you some inspiration on creating a brand and marketing your area! Happy New Year!
Blog Post Written By:
Angela Newland, Care Manager, University of Central Florida
Ann Marie Palmer, Associate Director, University of Central Florida