Targeting a certain group of people is important in marketing because not all consumers share the same interests or have the same needs. Companies can waste a lot of money by not making their message specific to their consumer. It can also be quite easy to fall into the trap of, the more people I can target, the more product I can sell. However, as we now know, this philosophy is outdated and mass marketing is often a waste of time. Consumers want to feel like they are getting something of value; a product that is made for their needs. Therefore, products and their marketing, have to be more sophisticated and specific.
Real World Example: Colleges
Colleges spend a lot of money on marketing each year because they have a lot of competition to overcome. Students, just in the United States, have hundreds of choices when it comes to choosing a college. Therefore, colleges have to get their name and their mission statement in the hands of the students so that they consider that school as an option. According to insidehighered.com, colleges spend between $10 billion to $100 billion a year on marketing. I remember when I was applying to college, I would get a lot of mailings from colleges asking me to apply. My mom used to get so frustrated with all of these mailings, constantly calling them “a waste of paper and money”. Even though it may seem like a waste to send information out that could easily be accessed online, I would not have known about some of these colleges if I had not gotten their mailing. A couple colleges even sent vouchers waiving the application fee. So, even if I wasn’t necessarily that interested in their school, I still applied because it was free.
Let’s Look at Stonehill College
Stonehill already does a lot of online marketing. Between their website, twitter pages, Instagram accounts and Facebook, they have pretty much covered them all. And they do a great job at diversifying these accounts. In my opinion though, maybe they diversify them a little too much. I do not even want to attempt counting the amount of Stonehill based Instagram accounts there are. There seems to be one from almost everything. Whether that be Athletics, Career Development, CWAA, General Admission, etc., it seems I am always getting a new follow request. Accounts such as these are targeting current students and possible future students. Students on campus can learn about when games are being held, the hours of the help centers on campus or future students can learn about how programs are run at the school or what types of programs are available. However, not all of the Stonehill Instagram accounts are run by Stonehill College. There are also accounts for all of the clubs and organizations on campus. How does this affect Stonehill’s image? Well for starters, it shows the public that Stonehill students are very invested in their community and foster many different clubs or charities on campus. It also adds to the available information applicants can learn about the college when applying. However, Stonehill does have to keep an eye on these accounts to make sure that students who are creating accounts under the Stonehill name are doing so responsibly and maintaining the image of the college.
When it comes to Facebook, I think this account is more for the parents of current and future students. I do not personally follow Stonehill on Facebook, but I know that my Mom does and she started before I even committed to the school. Through the Facebook account, people can ask questions about tuition, services, location and more with the Facebook chat feature. The page also acts as a community where users can connect with other people interested in the college. Then there are the posts about what is going on at the school, information about majors, and posts that highlight the staff or professors. Overall, the Facebook page is promoting the best parts of the college and making it seem like an attractive and worthwhile investment.