In my time as a vendor (for those that didn’t know I used to work for a higher education vendor), I consistently saw colleges not do enough marketing. Colleges would take stabs at mostly meaningless branding, without leads or bought leads without branding. What are they thinking?
The most often used excuse I heard was not enough budget, but I contend that schools need to be run more like a business. This is exactly what the “for profits” are doing at this point, they are being run like a business.
I think that some non-traditionals think they are “beyond” or above marketing. However, the facts are clear and that there is a serious population decline with high school students, and a serious decline in faith-based students. Where is the college revenues going to come from if their student population continues to decline?
The thing to remember about marketing and branding your university is that it is not an overnight process. I would consider having an firm come in (Noel Levitz, etc) and letting them make a recommendation. It is very unwise to take a stab at branding for a year, without having some data to back it up.
Now, there are are more ways than ever to market your college or university, and business for that matter. You have the social media outlets to engage your consumers, and battle any negative publicity. Also, you have the traditional online directories and print opportunities. Consider using a combination of all of the above, however you need to do more marketing!