How the rule of two works for education marketers

How the Rule of Two works for university marketers


Them, or us. Traditional, or contemporary. Specialist, or generalist.

Red, or blue.

Interestingly, this Rule of Two also bends to marketing challenges.

If you, like many university marketers are wrestling a balance between reputational campaigns and recruitment needs, before you expend too much energy and frustration on a project, step back from “brand” and “advertising” and spend your time identifying what the real marketing problem is.

There are usually only two possibilities.

1:         People know who you are but don’t want what you’re offering.

2:         You have a great and unique offer, but people don’t know who you are.


If you have a great and unique offer, but people don’t know who you are, you have an awareness issue.

This needs an advertising solution.

You need to reach your target audience with frequency and repetition over time. Awareness comes from consistency. Consistency of message, consistency of look, consistency of attitude. It does require sufficient resources. But, if the Executive want results…

Use all media. Get your name out there. Re-launch. Use installations or guerrilla tactics. Make sure you have the systems and processes in place to handle enquiries. Nothing turns a good product into a bad brand like bad service.


If people know who you are but don’t want what you’re offering, you have a reputation issue.

This needs a brand solution.

You must either change who you’re talking to or change what you offer.

Before you say anything that hopes to convince people to reconsider you, you must, must, must be able to prove you’ve changed Change your product, change your people, change your environment, change your processes, change something tangible.

Changing a reputation is a product of time and action. A big action can change a reputation quickly. A lot of smaller actions can change reputation over time.

Again, consistency is the key.

Once you have made a reputational change, reinforce it with similar actions.

Over and over and over again.

The Rule of Two. It breaks down your challenge into an easy to understand opportunity for the Executive, the broader institution and your team.

It gives you the education marketer a focus for your brand, and something for everyone to focus on for the coming year.