Compared to CMU’s main campus advertising expenditures, CMU’s Global Campus is an advertising behemoth.
Both CMU’s Global Campus and main campus marketing spending increased in 2012-13, but while main campus fell shy of $1 million, with $923,108.70 in spending and production costs, Global Campus remained far above the mark, increasing from $1.72 million of Michigan spending for 2011-12 to $1.98 million of Michigan spending for 2012-13.
The increase in 2012-13 spending was due to a rebranding effort, as Global Campus changed their title from CMU off-campus to its current name in late 2011, according to Carol Bale, director of marketing for CMU’s Global Campus.
The expenditures for 2013-14, while still higher than main-campus marketing, are back down to $1.2 million this year.
Global Campus has consistently outspent the main campus in marketing expenditures despite accounting for just 8,763 students in spring 2013, compared to 18,867 on-campus students. In 2010-11, when Global Campus marketing expenditures broke the million-dollar mark, spending $1.3 million in Michigan marketing, main campus marketing expenditures only accounted for $41,721.
CMU’s main campus marketing budget has been allocated as high as $1.4 million in the past five years, and currently stands at $1.1 million, but it has consistently spent only a portion of that, averaging $364,115 in the last five years.
In comparison, according to Bale, Global Campus spends their entire budget.
“We spend the entire budget every year,” Bale said. “We can easily spend our entire budget.”
The Global Campus does not only market in Michigan. Including promotion of programs throughout the country, Canada and Mexico, marketing expenditures for Global Campus lands roughly at $4 million, Bale said.
According to Bale, Global Campus targets a separate audience from main campus, focusing on the age range of 24-45. Reaching that target audience often requires a heavier reliance on marketing.
“They are often looking to get a master’s degree to a doctorate’s degree, or do better in their job, get a promotion, become a senior manager,” Bale said. “There is a lot of competition when it comes to institutions offering those services.”
While Global Campus has spent much more than main campus on marketing in the past five years, their spending pales in comparison to similar programs. CMU spent $276,700 on broadcast media in metro Detroit, or nearly 5 percent of the total amount marketed for universities in 2010-11.
In comparison, Walsh College spent $951,800, Michigan State University spent $877,000 and Oakland University spent $775,200.
“We are one of the lowest expenditures on the market,” Bale said. “When you have a flat budget, you have to be very careful with what you purchase.”
Main campus is looking to expand its marketing efforts into Illinois within the near future, according to Steven Johnson, vice president for Enrollment and Student Services. However, Global Campus, which already advertises nationally , is not looking to expand its reach, Bale said.
University President George Ross said expanding out-of-state recruitment efforts is important for diversifying the university.
“Part of the things we’re talking about as part of an enrollment management strategy is to diversify our student body with more out-of-state students so we’re not so heavily weighted,” he said during a meeting with Central Michigan Life’s editorial staff. “We will always be a predominately Michigan-enrolled based university, but at 95-percent (Michigan students) we need to change that a little bit.”
While main campus looks forward to a steady or increased marketing budget within the upcoming years, Bale said Global Campus does not have the ability to forecast the budget ahead of time, because it is set by the administration at the beginning of every fiscal year.
“We only go year by year,” Bale said. “I never know what we have until the fiscal year starts.”