President Teresa Amott has brought in a consulting firm, the Art and Science Group, to help the college develop effective marketing strategies.
Amott has worked with this group in the past and she is aware of their expertise and is convinced it will help Knox “flourish.”
“They … work with colleges and universities to help them market themselves to prospective students and to generally provide advice on strategy to colleges and universities, and they work with a lot of small liberal colleges,” Amott said.
As Amott mentioned, along with Associate Director of Web and New Media Services Sean Riedel and Director of Advancement Communications and Editor of Knox Magazine Megan Scott, working with consultants is a very usual process for colleges to go through every ten years or so.
“They can help us understand how to present Knox’s strengths in the most compelling way,” Amott said. “For a long time, our applications were growing, but then we hit a plateau, and I would like to understand that. We need to have a larger applicant pool in order to have enough good students to fill our class.”
This firm allows Knox to see an outside perspective of the college and allows the college to fix flaws that might be hindering admission.
“This group works with a variety of schools; it’s nice to have their eyes. [They have] a lot of experience seeing that broader view of the market,” Scott said.
“What is important is that these firms do not change you; they don’t turn you into something different. They change how you market your strengths very effectively; you have to be in a very competitive environment for good students,” Amott said.
“[These outside eyes] are specifically set to [find] what is unique to what [Knox has] to offer versus what someone else has to offer,” Riedel said. “We know what we think is great about Knox, but what they have to say is kind of neat to hear.”
“I think there are a lot of things that Knox has to offer that aren’t that obvious, like clinical sociology or Green Oaks or other things that make it more unique, and I think the Art and Science Group will help that,” senior Greg Noth said.
In addition, as both Riedel and Amott pointed out, this firm will help portray the institution in a positive light through marketing in order for people to know exactly what Knox is and to reduce mismatches. This firm will help create a best fit through improved marketing.
“Maybe sending short video interviews, or maybe not; maybe our students are very academically focused, so maybe knowing what the courses are, is very important,” Amott said. “Maybe we would not waste money sending the wrong things.”
“In an age of environmental awareness, how much printing we need to do[should be considered] versus [getting] the information people are really seeking. If they really want to drill down the catalog, we got it online. Is it really necessary to print the catalog?” Riedel said.
“They have already concluded step one, which involved a bunch of interviews of students,” Noth said.
After taking this first step, the communications department got right on the job in order to begin implementing changes that will help Knox grow.
“We worked together to create new profiles. We didn’t have an authentic voice. This is something that we can do right now. A group of us created 15 new student profiles that are Q&A-based. It has made a difference, based on views,” Scott said.
Even though this might be a long process, the staff and students seem to be eager to take it on and see how it will positively impact Knox.
“This is new: the opportunity to take this on as a huge project for the entire communications branch of the college. We are going to be there from the beginning. It’s a great opportunity to participate in very meaningful ways, so we are looking forward to it,” Riedel said.
“We are excited to hear what they have to say,” Scott said.