A New Age In NC State (And Athletics): No Matter How Much You Hate Marketing, It Is Quite Important

Before I even get started, yes, I know some people love marketing.  People major in it, work in it, and live, breathe, and eat it.  The fact of the matter is, I don’t really care for it; however, I do understand its value and importance.  You see, marketing is a difficult and tricky thing to get a hold of.  How do you reach and sway a large targeted group of people effectively and consistently?  It can be as simple as putting up posters, or as difficult as planning for years how you’re going to run your presidential campaign.

The Breakdown

The official definition of marketing, provided by the American Marketing Association (AMA) is as follows,

“Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

Now, lets break that down a bit.  A more simple definition provided by Wikipedia, explains that, “Marketing is the process by which companies create customer interest in products or services.”  That helps quite a bit in understanding the AMA’s long winded definition.

Marketing is whatever you do to communicate your product/service to customers. It covers all forms of communication, such as word of mouth, newspaper ads, posters, fliers, television commercials, etc.  Its whatever you do to make someone stop and say, “Hey, that looks cool!  I think I’ll attend/buy it.” This simple understanding by your potential customer is what drives business and creates success.

Why Marketing Is Important

Without marketing, for the most part, the general population would be clueless as to what to do or buy.  Think about it.  When was the last time you did or bought something without seeing, hearing, or reading anything about it? I’m talking about, see it for the first time ever, and buy it without speaking a word to anyone, not even a store employee.  Exactly.  You had to think for a bit.  We, as a society, have to be told what to buy for the most part.  We see on TV what to wear, hear from friends what’s good to eat, and read and talk about where to go.  Are you beginning to see why marketing is so important?

You have to get your product out there.  Make people aware of what you have and why they should have it.  Also, remember the age old life lesson, KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid).  What a valuable saying.  Simple information is easy to process quickly and understandably. People make decisions about everything, some small, like what type of gum to buy, and some large, purchasing a home or vehicle.  The easier information is to process and obtain, the easier the decision, and the happier the person making the decision.  This job also lies in the hands of those doing the marketing.

Why Is Marketing Important To NC State?

Now, hopefully, you’re beginning to understand why I’m bringing this up in a blog about NC State.  How often do you hear about positive things going on at NC State?  When was the last time you saw a commercial for the university?  When was the last time you read/heard about some innovation made possible through research at NC State?  How about, when was the last time you heard a NC State sponsored athletics advertisement?  When you go into a clothing store, do you see more UNC, Duke, or NC State apparel?

So I’ve got you thinking again.  Granted, I don’t watch much TV, and its mostly cable when I do, but I can’t remember the last time I saw a commercial for NC State as a university, or for its athletics department outside the normal one or two during a football or basketball game.  I stay on the lookout for articles about NC State research and innovation, but I mostly see them from our own NC State website.  As for clothing sales, its sad to say, but I see mostly UNC and Duke apparel, even in Raleigh…

The University

We, as a university, need to separate ourselves from area institutions through marketing. I know, I know, times are tough and budgets are cut.  We have a handful of people doing the jobs of ten people, but we need to refocus.  We need to get our story– our success, out the the mainstream public at a higher rate.  We need to invest in commercials highlighting the innovations and discoveries taking place in Raleigh.  For example- our engineering department has developed a new methodology for better predicting winter weather and climate.  Did you know that?  It will cut winter weather preparation costs to governments and generally help everyone not get so mad at our local weatherman (I’m talking mainly about Greg Fishel).  Want to read more?  Check out the news release from NCSU.  There are tons of them.  Check them out here.

Why not make a commercial highlighting our biggest achievements?  The more people that go, “Wow!  That’s pretty cool,”  the more people we have respecting our university, the more students we have wanting to enroll, the more pride our alumni have in NC State, and the more donations we have flowing into the school.  Where’s the bad in that?

I know that increasing efficiencies in biofuel production isn’t the most exciting thing, but isn’t designing the next Mars rover pretty cool?  We need to build better relations with our local media to promote our news releases so more of them can be picked up for you to read about in your daily or weekend’s N&O or on WRAL’s website.

The Athletics Department

This same idea carries over to our athletics department.  We need to invest more in self promotion. Granted, when you have a nice period of a lack of success on the field, its a bit harder to do, but it can still be done.  While we wait for some of our programs to get it together, we can still promote.  We recently spent a good bit of money on revamping and improving the sound systems in Carter-Finley Stadium, so why not advertise it?  “Come out and join the excitement of Wolfpack football this season with 55,000 of your best friends.  Carter-Finley Stadium is one of the best venues in the ACC and we’ve recently upgraded our sound systems to make it even better.  Check out the schedule and purchase tickets to a game at GoPack.com or call us at (919) 865-1510.”  Now I know its not the best thing, but you get the point.  We can advertise basketball ticket sales with highlights of the freshmen and returning guys along with marketing our return to national prominence.

Give the people something to want and they will come and get it. As much as you may hate delving into the depths of psychology and brainstorming idea after idea for marketing purposes, but the main idea is simple enough.

NC State has a lot to offer, we just have to make people want it.

Advertisements