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Marketing takes center stage with UNCG’s campus card program

BY SCOTT MILMAN, DIRECTOR OF SPARTAN SERVICES AND JOSEPH DIX, MARKETING COORDINATOR, BUSINESS AND AUXILIARY SERVICES, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT GREENSBORO

In the business world, marketing is intended to beef up revenue. It is all about maximizing profit. Many card programs were never intended to be revenue generating. The program was developed with a single focus – to provide top-notch service. Does this mean that these programs require no marketing effort or budget? Of course not. It simply means that the marketing effort is geared to increase service rather than revenue.

For the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, we decided early on that our marketing efforts should serve three main purposes:

  • Enhance our product.
  • Integrate services on campus.
  • Let people know who we are and what we do.

We utilized an integrated marketing strategy to make sure our message remained clear to our key customers. Our strategy included the following components, keys to any successful marketing effort:

  • Develop written marketing objectives
    At the outset, we created a written marketing plan to serve as our roadmap. It outlined our objectives and how we intended to reach them.
  • Create market message(s)
    We developed a theme and tag line to accompany our campaign. We chose a single message, “Your Key to Campus,” to continually drive home to our customers.
  • Design a graphic identity
    To give the FirstCard marketing campaign an identity, we developed a logo and graphic elements to help build familiarity with our program. Just like the Visa and MasterCard logos, students know they can use our Ecash wherever they see the sign.
  • Share marketing messages and graphic identity with the campus
    community
    We identified the various customer groups within our campus community and evaluated options on how to reach each of thekey groups.
  • Publish a graphic standards manual for publications, ads, and the web
    We knew that consistency in the look of our marketing materials was critical to long term success. With the assistance of our campus publications office, we developed a style manual providing guidelines on the use of our official colors, name, logo, etc.
  • Offer user-friendly templates and guidelines
    We created a series of templates and sample publications to make it easier to maintain the consistent look and message.
  • Differentiate a new card program or features from your previous ID.
    When we began the plans for our new card program rollout we realized that we needed to completely differentiate the new card from the old. This was essential to get our campus populations excited about the new offering and remove any existing “baggage” that might have carried over from previous programs.
  • Beware of an inadequate or non-existent budget for marketing.
    While we were fortunate to have a marketing budget to work with, it was not large. We found resources on campus that enabled us to do big things on a small budget. With a little research, we found that our campus resources were virtually endless.
  • Spend marketing dollars wisely.
    When designing your marketing materials, keep in mind that the information contained in your new brochure or video will change. With the ever-changing advancements in card technology, your marketing tools can become easily outdated. We leave non-crucial information that is likely to change out of our materials and we avoid excessively large print runs.

As the old saying goes, time is the most precious resource because once it is gone you can never get it back. This saying holds true in marketing too. Make your card program’s marketing someone’s responsibility and give that person adequate time to succeed. At UNCG, we have used a limited marketing budget to make great impacts on our campus. The FirstCard program has been extremely well received by our campus populations and our staff takes great pride in our image on campus.

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