It’s not so much what that next big thing is that matters. It’s how you use it.
As a higher ed marketer who works primarily in the digital marketing space, a very common question I get is “What’s the next big thing?”
And it’s a good question.
Technology today is changing at such a rapid pace.
More importantly, rapidly changing technologies are shaping how future generations are growing up.
It’s shaping their preferred communication channels, tastes, sensibilities, and even the way they understand their world.
However, knowing what technology is coming up next is not as helpful of a question as how can we use the next big thing to move the needle forward?
For this bigger idea, my podcast co-host, Troy Singer, and I brought in a friend to speak on this subject.
Plus, he explains the ideal way to approach content marketing.
Go Back to Marketing Principles
While technology and methods change constantly, marketing principles never change.
People keep asking the question, “What is the next big thing?” I’ve been in marketing for close to 25 years now, and it’s gone through different transitions like push technologies, portals, and social media.
The answer to what’s the next big thing is less important than how we’re going to use the next big thing.
We always return to the principles of marketing, and how will the next big thing address those principles.
To successfully leverage new technologies, you’ve got to discover how the new technology can support unchanging marketing principles.
- Know your audience
- Create content that answers their questions
- Focus on your unique selling proposition not your features
- Go to where you’re audience is already hanging out
Of course, this list of principles isn’t exhaustive. But it’s a good start.
Think of Your Audience First
Next in the conversation, John brought our attention back to our audiences.
The “next big thing” might be user generated content. It might be personalization. But at the end of the day, you should be thinking about what the audience is and what they need.
Preparing for the “next big thing” [is all about] going back to the marketing principles. What is the advantage of “that next big thing”?
Look at it from an audience perspective. What they want to do is participate in your brand, right? They want to have a voice. They have an investment they’ve made, especially in higher ed.
If you’re talking about prospective or current students – certainly with alumni and donors – they want to share the experience of the brand. So what does that mean? It means a two-way communication flow. It means people being participatory in a process to be able to understand that.
For John, the “next big things” that come up in higher ed marketing should be used to help your audiences participate in your education brand.
To me, this means that we should look for how the new big thing can help create school spirit.
In other words, how can it help your marketing audience feel like they are a part of your institution’s story?
Secondly, how can your audience use this next big thing to tell you what they like, what questions they have, and what they don’t like?
There will always be a “next big thing.”
Neither John nor I could tell you what that thing will be (although we do have a good idea of what it might be!).
But we can tell you with absolute confidence that it will only work if you can find a way to get back to tried and true marketing principles.
Discover more when you listen to the podcast!
Like all of our blog post reviews of The Higher Ed Marketer podcasts, there’s so much more to learn in the podcasts themselves.
Listen to our interview with John Drevs to get even more insights into:
- Why marketing principles are fundamental to leveraging the next big thing
- Lessons from some of the next big things from the past
- Where content marketing is headed in higher ed
- Resources for keeping up with the next big thing
Don’t want to miss a future episode?
Subscribe to The Higher Ed Marketer podcast today!
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