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Marketing 2.0 for MBA Admissions: Embracing Social Media

Clear Admit alumnus Alex Brown has recently authored a new white paper on “engagement marketing,” or how admission officers at top MBA programs can harness social media to connect with prospective applicants. Brown, an internet marketing and social media consultant, served on the Clear Admit admissions consulting staff for several years after his tenure as an admissions officer at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.  He continues to serve as a regular advisor to Clear Admit.

Brown’s new white paper, “Engagement Marketing Revisited,” builds on the framework he presented in a 2006 white paper for how to develop marketing programs using audience-generated content in concert with traditional marketer-generated content. In this most recent paper, Brown examines newer social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr, which have become more widely embraced in the past three years and are changing the rules by which admissions officers must communicate with prospective applicants.

Using the MBA applicant marketplace as his case study, Brown examines what he calls the three circles of marketing, comprised of an inner circle of traditional marketing, an outer circle he calls “free marketing” and a middle circle he refers to as “engagement marketing.”

Traditional marketing, controlled by the marketer, includes marketer-created content, such as school admissions websites and promotional brochures. Free marketing, meanwhile, is made up of content about a school generated by students and others outside the control of the marketer, according to Brown. And engagement marketing lies at the intersection of the two, representing “opportunities for marketers to engage the outer circle and participate in and develop conversations,” he writes.

Brown goes on to unpack each of these ideas and to explore how MBA admissions offices can use the changing landscape of social media for their own marketing purposes. In a step-by-step analysis, he examines each of the newest social media platforms and offers concrete suggestions for how schools can establish a voice and take part in the evolving conversation with prospective MBA applicants.

Clear Admit’s own use of social media factors prominently into Brown’s case study. Through our Clear Admit Wiki, which hosts interview reports from prospective applicants, and our listing of active MBA bloggers and tweeters, Clear Admit has become a main hub for conversation among prospective applicants and current students about top MBA programs. 

Whether you are an MBA admissions officer looking for ways to expand your marketing capabilities or a prospective marketing student curious about social media’s role, you’ll likely find Brown’s paper of significant interest. To view it in its entirety, click here.

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