Why should Senior Management invest in an alumni network? This is a common question that often receives a fairly qualitative rather than quantitative anwer. I don’t know if you are like me, but I like to be able to give a definitive response to these kind of questions and so when I was reminded recently of the three levels of a product, it got me thinking about how this could be applied to the products of a University, say an MBA programme.
It was mentioned to me (although I can find no hard evidence to prove this) that as a rule 80% of investment into a product is in the core & actual product which yeilds 20% of the impact and conversely, 20% of investment goes into the augmented product that in turn yeilds 80% of the impact.
If there is any truth to this, then before you is a very straightforward and logical reason why Deans should invest in an alumni network – you can’t get much better than an 80% return on a 20% investment!
For years, marketing has been associated with very bottom-line, monetary, transactional processes. As my colleague Dilip Mutum posted in his blog back in 2009, there has long been an assumption that Marketing is the same as Sales.
This is no longer the case. As Dilip says, the perception of marketing has moved on tremendously over these last few decades, and more recently with the advent of social media.
In comparison, alumni associations have focused on providing the feel-good post-sales experience and emotional connection with the School/University and have often been accused of being all about the parties and socialising.
Just as Marketing has shifted its position, so Alumni Associations seem to be waking up to the need to be more structured and constructive for the School/University as a whole – establishing metrics for proving a return on the investment and exploring how to impact on areas of activity outside of the established alumni arena.
In this altered economic environment, now more than ever, there is a need for the marketing profession and alumni associations to learn from one another – taking the best of both worlds and creating a new culture of relational engagement and collaborative development.