Friday 18 November 2011

To Market! To Market! Academia in the Marketing Age

The 80's were supposed to be the decade of marketing and PR. Ah! Amateurs! They thought that doing a little bit of ads on the telly an on the newspapers was enough...

These days I seem to be spending most of my time organising marketing activities, advertising activities we can use for marketing, talking to people about marketing, writing advertising material, using all possible social networks to share all of the above and now blogging about it (meta-marketing?).

One of the most important duties of a Head of Teaching is, it appears, ensure that there are enough students around to justify the existence of a teaching programme and the job of colleagues. Quite scary, it you think of it. I'm not complaining, mind you, only reporting the fact and reflecting on it.

In the past we (Centre for Computing in the Humanities -- now Department of Digital Humanities -- at King's College London) have not been very good in letting people know what we were up to, in particular from a teaching point of view. We had thought (or so is my reading of the situation, as I was not involved in this thinkings) that our outstanding record of research would have been enough to attract students. We were wrong, so wrong. Students are not aware or not interested in research, as it happens, they are interested in knowing that there is some teaching going on and that they can gain a valuable qualification out of it. Funny that! So, now this trend has to change and here is the list of the initiatives I have undertaken these days:

  • New marketing printed materials is being developed.We will start with foldable leaflets, then we will see
  • A video will be produced early next year: I will need to have my hair done for the interview!
  • Three virtual open days will be organised for potential MAs and PhD students
  • An event on "Become a Digital Humanities PhD student" has been organised for the 1st of December
  • The PhD seminar has been moved from our gloomy Seminar Room into the Anatomy Theatre Museum and Opened up to the public. Next week Seminar will be the first of the new Era!
  • A lot of contacts are going on with King's Agents in Asia and in the US
  • Our 2011-12 Students have organised a Facebook group from where they broadcast all our initiatives
  • Social Media, in particular Facebook and Twitter are intensively used (by me, mostly) to spread the word about our activities
Will I be successful? Will our MA programme survive the wild cuts operated by the less illuminated cabinet Englad has seen since WWII? Stay tuned and you will have an answer!


  1. Well done, Elena. And you could bring me over to trick prospect students into joining the department by feeding them nice food?

  2. *grin* yes please, loads of chocolate!

  3. You're so efficient, I might well sign up on your PhD programme one day ;)
    It reminds me of the efforts at the CEU (Central European University). I follow their "marketing" activities through their Facebook updates, that's quite impressive.