When I started working for City University / Vysoká škola manažmentu, our president used to tell us that “the role of successful marketing is to make the phones ring”. This still holds true today. But today we call it “lead generation”. Same effect, different name.
Today, most businesses, with the exception perhaps of innovative startups, face one brutal fact: they cannot pursue a “Blue Ocean Strategy” – a strategy, which creates “blue oceans” of uncontested market space. Rather, they have to operate in highly competitive markets, where they are battling competitors.
What works in highly competitive markets is to formulate your distinguishers, your strengths, why customers should buy from you and not from your competitors. Before you use any marketing approach, be aware of what makes you distinct as regards your product or service. Then create unique content around it, content that will emphasize your set of distinguishers, and will instruct, guide and assist your potential customer in solving their problem(s). Not content that sells your product or service, but content that solves your customers’ problems. This is a big difference.
At VŠM/CityU we sat down and first we gave honest answers to the question “What makes us different from other schools?” We came up with the following answers (our set of distinguishers):
- We offer quality business education in Slovak and/or English and our students can receive both Slovak and US accredited business degrees (BSBA, MBA, Bc. Mgr.).
- We have an international faculty – a mix of Slovak, US, Canadian, Ethiopian, and Swedish nationals with extensive business experience.
- We offer flexibility in our programs through various study modes – full time, part time, weekend or online.
- We offer value for money – our quality programs and their price are well balanced.
- We offer inclusive education with feedback from our students.
- We produce quality graduates with 0% unemployment rate (INEKO research).
After the specification of our distinguishers, we decided to create specific content matching our strengths and providing guidance and recommendations to our potential students. How did we do this? We decided to write high quality PR articles that highlighted each of our strengths. Remember that a strong headline is the key to catching a reader’s eye, so always take time to carefully word a strong headline.
Branislav Zlocha, City University of Seattle