There is potential to advertise anywhere. Pens, sidewalks, elevator doors, under a bridge and even on a baby. For higher education marketing, guerrilla marketing is inexpensive, unconventional, creative and only limited by the span of one’s creativity.
Guerrilla marketing differs from traditional marketing because you devote more time, energy and imagination than you would by just investing money. You also do a lot of follow-up even after you’ve gained customers—or in this case, enrolled students.
The goal in guerrilla marketing for higher education establishments is to be unexpected, non-traditional and, of course, memorable.
Go Big With Marketing
One creative advertising idea uses the more traditional billboard technique, but makes the unique with 3D graphics.
It’s important to have vivid images and a clean, simple catchphrase, but you also need to take that extra step. Try using the area around the billboard to really make an impression like Formula Toothcare did. This company’s billboard had an image of a man seemingly grabbing the corner of the billboard with his teeth and pulling it right out of the structure joints. Its catchphrase was “builds strong teeth.” It’s funny, interestingly unique and hits the slogan dead-on.
Advertising in a mall is always a good idea. In fact, National Geographic went all out with its guerrilla tactics, or perhaps in this case, “croc” tactics, by placing a 3D crocodile ad at the bottom of an escalator so it would appear like anyone descending the escalator would be heading to their doom. The advertisement was for a documentary on crocodiles.
The key to 3D advertising is to find a high-visual, high-traffic spot. Find a unique area in your city or town and find a way to use it to your advantage. However, be sure to have an agreement with local governments and property owners.
A good way to attract high schoolers is to come up with interactive opportunities during school games or events. For example, surprise them with a fun, shocking skit using the university’s dance team. Start a mock fight that erupts into a choreographed dance-off like the one in Michael Jackson’s “Bad” video.
One interactive tactic is to hold an online contest for the public to post interesting (but clean) photos of themselves with a school T-shirt on. The public can vote for its favorites and the winner can be offered a free iPad, shirt, game pass or even a discount on a course, encouraging them to enroll.
Start a Viral Campaign
Videos posted online always have the potential to go viral. Do it right and you can leave a great impression of your school that makes students want to enroll and tell their friends about it.
Getting your school’s science department, arts and culture students or even the school band involved in coming up with cool, funny and interesting videos can show the personal side of a university or college. For example, Emerson College in Boston pulled off a great flash mob in the middle of a public food court, getting an applause at the end.
If your school has a mascot, get him mobile. Have the mascot participate in community events like a 5K run or in parades. The mascot can be part of the school’s brand if you’re willing to be a little loose-collared and have some fun with this marketing tactic.