The College and University Public Relations Association of PA (CUPRAP) conference this year drew 159 PR/marketing/Web folks from four states. Here are some observations that may be a snapshot of higher ed marketing in general.
-For years, CUPRAP was composed primarily of middle aged white males. The last few years it’s almost evenly males and females.
– This year the majority were in their 20s and 30s. Only a handful were in their 50s and 60s.
-Ninety-eight percent were white.
-No one besides me is podcasting.
-No one, including me, twitters.
-A couple folks are producing and posting videos.
-The PR people in decision-making positions are still trying to figure out how to convince the administration that a mention in The New York Times is losing relevance and importance.
-Nearly everyone is familiar with Web 2.0. Most have not done much with it because they’re still tied up with producing print publications, writing traditional media news releases and stomping out the usual little fires.
-I was the only attendee with a digital audio recorder. I recorded three presenters.
-I was the only one there with a camcorder. I recorded an awards ceremony.
-I took my still camera but never pulled it from my hardware bag.
PR people are struggling to keep up with the huge changes in communications. They are still pressured produce home town releases, Dean’s Lists, check passing pictures, etc.
-Publications people are feeling more secure than they did a few years ago.
-Web folks are tired and excited.
-PR and Web people are working more closely with each other. Web folks welcome the more user friendly Content Management Systems which enable them to turn content responsibilities over to departments, freeing them up to experiment and explore. And this is a very good thing.
-PR folks need to move more quickly into the Web 2.0 phase because time and change are moving faster.
-Administrations, trustees and others need to be educated on the importance of the new media. Newspapers are still important, but in a different way. Our brand is reinforced not by a mention in The Chronicle but by our Google rankings, Facebook, Del.ic.ious, blogs, videos, etc.
-Not all conversations are produced by us, but by an increasingly active world around us. A growing audience of students, parents, alumni and others are contributing to the definition of who we are.
Note: If I’m off on any of this, let me know.