University Alumni Marketing – A Story of Untapped Potential


No one in business could deny the power of good customer reviews from previous clients – and the education industry is no exception.  ‘Previous customer’ in this setting means your alumni and these could become the most powerful advocates for your institution.  However, an Engagement Strategies Group survey in the US found that 8 out of 10 alumni wouldn’t donate to their Alma Mater. This was because they felt disconnected from the university following graduation and that the institution hadn’t done enough to rebuild those bridges. 

So how can you foster a great relationship with your graduates and what benefits will this have for attracting prospective students in the long run? 

Fostering strong relationships with graduates is something that every university needs to improve upon. The benefits are vast, from potential monetary donations to showcasing the worthwhileness of your degrees to prospective new students.

Build Bridges

So how can these connections be made? There are a variety of ways universities can engage with former students. Email surveys and newsletters, custom alumni-targeted content, and social media channels are all effective ways of maintaining a healthy graduate community.

For many graduates, they will look back on their university years with fondness as some of their best times. Tapping into that nostalgic element and all of the resulting emotions is the perfect way to encourage alumni to engage with the institution.

You Reap What You Sow

But what is the point of putting all of this effort into reaching out to university alumni? Firstly there is the obvious benefit of alumni donations.  But going beyond this, one key area that could profit hugely from alumni interaction is student recruitment. 

There is no better marketing than proof of success, and graduates who have benefitted from their time at your institution and gone on to forge strong careers are the best example of the success that a university can bring.

As much as most universities dislike taking the view, students are more and more beginning to see themselves as paying customers. They are investing – in their eyes – a huge amount of money into a paid service and they expect a worthwhile return on it. This factor has a huge impact on which degree course they ultimately choose – they want to know that once they’ve invested 3 years and many thousands of pounds, there are future prospects waiting ahead for them.

Show Where You Can Go

This is especially important for universities sitting lower in the UK rankings. Keeping in touch with graduates who go on to own their own business, release a successful music album, or get a competitive job posting at a top company gives the university access to a huge amount of marketing potential. Being able to prove that your university provides prospects through personal success stories will be more convincing and attractive to prospective students than merely offering them a statistic.

Inviting these alumni to the university to produce content, highlighting how their time at your institution was integral in the success they’ve now achieved, is an excellent addition to any university marketing campaign. Put them in front of a camera to talk about their memories, or just take a few pictures of them together with their old buddies. The amount of effort required is variable.

Here at Touchpoint, we can help put all of these concepts and ideas into action. Get in touch to find out how alumni marketing might work for your university.