Following my previous post about chief marketing officer (“CMO”) positions in higher education, I conducted a quick search on three popular higher education job websites for CMO listings: The Chronicle of Higher Education, HigherEdJobs, and Inside Higher Ed.
I did not find many CMO opportunities, limiting my ability to conclude anything substantial from my search. One CMO opportunity was clearly described as a position responsible for communications and promotions within a particular unit of a larger university. Another CMO position reported directly to the head of the institution and involved strategic and institution-wide responsibility. A part of the job advertisement included “fostering institutional trust,” a phrase that implies knowing target student populations and serving those populations better than competitors.
Broadening the search beyond the CMO title to include positions as vice president or director did not reveal many senior-level marketing positions. One institution may still be struggling to define the role for its marketing officer, with a position responsible for institution-wide marketing reporting to the associate vice president for development with a dotted line to the vice president for public affairs. I wonder where academic affairs, student affairs, or enrollment management fit into that role.
Even marketing positions that report directly to the president focus primarily on communications and public relations.
However, marketing positions that encompass the entire marketing mix do exist, such as the associate vice president position at Northwood University. In addition to communication and public relations, the position responsibilities include pricing, monitoring student retention, and analyzing competitors.
This is not a rigorous study, but a glance into a snapshot in time. It seems to confirm two findings that I have already written. First, marketing is not well defined in higher education despite wider acceptance in business. Second, institutions are making their individual adaptations to their environments.
A variety of opportunities exist for marketing practitioners, and the more marketing professionals that enter higher education, the better we can serve our institutions.