Thursday, February 25, 2010

Why? A critical question before using new media.

Why? A simple question that is rarely considered when jumping into something new. It's a simple question, yet the answer can be very telling and more important, will give you direction to your use of (or choice NOT to use) a new medium for prospecting.

Why use Twitter?
Why use Facebook?
Why use direct mail?
Why use billboards?

The answer to these will dictate how to use each medium AND will guide you to create tracking/performance strategies to show that the medium that you select is effective and meeting your needs. How can you determine if your use of a given media choice is effective if you don't know why you are using it? What do you hope to get from your use and most importantly, how can you track whether or not your use is effective?

Let's look at an example. The President of your institution announces "This Twitter thing is huge, we need to use Twitter to reach new prospects!". Not an uncommon event where the word for action comes down from on high. Yet, even though Twitter IS huge, can it be used for his intended purpose? I would state, without hesitation, that the answer is no. Twitter has no way of identifying people who want a degree or who want to return to school to finish their degree. Twitter is a highly effective way of communicating with people who ARE interested in what you are selling, but is a very poor tool for raw recruitment. The question has to be asked, WHY?

Everyone at the institution needs to understand the answer to the question "WHY?"! Use this question to do the following:

  1. Determine what you want to accomplish.
  2. Evaluate how a given medium can help you meet that goal.
  3. If your goal can't be met OR measured, move to another medium.
  4. Moving forward create and implement tracking methods to determine if your goals are being met.
  5. Have everyone involved buy into the goals that you hope to accomplish and on the measurements that will be used to reach those goals.
  6. Be prepared that if the goals aren't met, abandon this medium (for the given use only) and try something else.

The greatest failure in most systems is not asking Why? It's determining the answer to this question that will drive it's success or failure.

Looking back at the President's edict to use Twitter, ask them Why? Ask them what they want/think Twitter will do for them or their institution. Then, go do your research and see if it's possible to get more followers than Ashton Kutchner!

I picked up this idea at the STAMATS Adult Student Conference I'm attending as a sponsor. for more information, don't hesitate to contact David Fant, Owner Market Mapping plus LLC

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