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  • On : Dec 12, 2016

Running head: Researching methods of marketing a college organization










Marketing a college organization

Andrew Jacob Lee

ENG 3050

This paper is an investigative exposé on the correct way to market a college organization. With the advent of technology in today’s society, there are many different ways to grab people’s attention. I will focus on the best way to grab the attention of a potential group member for a college organization. This will be done by combining scientific research on marketing with field research on successful organizations that have marketed themselves in the past.




At Wayne State University there are a plethora of potential student organizations to join. How do you find one? And more importantly, how do these organizations find you? Marketing an organization is vital to increase membership, but this is rarely discussed in the confines of a non-profit student organization. To me, increasing membership of a student organization is just as important as any other organization. So I decided to dive into the this disconnect and investigate the best way for a young student organization to expand their reach. For any new student organization, it is important to market yourself, not only because you can increase membership, but also because you can more people potentially join your organization that could bring more value. For example, I recently started an organization at Wayne State called the Entrepreneur Society. If I market the Society better, I may be able to reach people that could bring more to the table than we currently have. This could be a business person, or just someone who knows the ins and outs of what we are trying to accomplish. This person is generally not going to just come to us. They need to be reached by us in a way that facilitates a relationship between us. The way to market a group is to persuade people to spend their time with it. I used a secondary source to research the best way to do this, using the book “Influence” by Robert Cialdini. There are a lot of principles in this book that I learned from the author that can be taken into account when you want to drive membership to a club. The first deals with the principle of reciprocity. There are 6 principles that Cialdini deals with in the book, which are listed in this infographic.


I will deal with the principle of reciprocity in the context we are working with. It is important to give value if you want someone to give you value. As Cialdini puts it,

“A well-known principle of human behavior says that when we ask someone to do us a favor we will be more successful if we provide a reason. People simply like to have reasons for what they do.”

With this in mind, we can give potential participants something valuable and expect them to give us something as well. Them giving us something could be them giving us their attention or even membership in the group. Now, let’s deal with what value we can give to our potential members. One form of value is posting cool and relevant social media content. This is a very popular form of marketing in today’s world. Especially to young people in college that use a lot of technology.

Objectives of Research

Through my research, I am trying to figure out the most efficient way to market an organization, based on what is effective, and what has been done before. I will look at how current organizations are marketing themselves, and experiment with new methods. This blend will allow me to get a really good reading on the forecast for how marketing effects a group’s membership.


My method for obtaining research data will be testing different marketing techniques. Among these will be internet marketing techniques, real life marketing techniques, and also surveying marketing techniques used by groups before me. In order to correctly judge how well a technique works, I will have to do extensive field testing to make sure that my results are not skewed.


6 student organization were chosen from a student directory. These student organizations are representative of all the Wayne State Organization, and this gives us a decent sample size of all the Wayne State Student Organizations.


I interviewed each individual student organization and asked them a battery of questions about their marketing tactics.

Procedure Subjects were interviewed individually. Some were interviewed over the phone; some were interviewed in real life.





The results that I found were that most organizations do not really market at all. And the ones that do, have a higher membership level than the ones that do not. The only organization that did any marketing online was the Wayne State Optimist Club. They utilized social media to brand themselves, while the rest only had phone numbers. I created a Facebook page for the Entrepreneur Society and gained a member.


The one organization utilized social media to brand themselves succeeded, while the rest only had phone numbers. Because of this, the Wayne State Optimist club is very successful and has a lot of members, along with active participation. I utilized this in my own findings by creating a Facebook page for the Wayne State Entrepreneur Society. I experimented to see if a social media page could drive more people to the club and entice them by adding value in the form of content I post. It worked because I posted an article on the Facebook page that I showed to someone, that in turn led them to ask me about the Society itself, and they were soon sold on the idea.


We can take a lot of conclusions from this. The first is that you need to have valuable content to grab people’s attention. This doesn’t always have to be an exciting video or article; it can be anything. It could be a reminder of an event coming up. Then, you have to have a landing page to refer interested people to when they want to see more about you. That way there’s a centralized place where you can view all the info they need and more. From our results we can conclude the online marketing is a good way to promote your group or organization.



Cialdini, Robert B. (2007) Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. New York: Collins,. Print.

Fromm, Jeff, and Christie Garton (2013) Marketing to Millennials: Reach the Largest and Most Influential Generation of Consumers Ever. New York: AMACOM, American Management Association, Print.

[Digital image]. (2014, July 1). Retrieved from https://www.jeremysaid.com/blog/how-to-apply-cialdinis-six-principles-of-influence-for-cro/

 APAgc2680 (2) (1)