Universities spent an average of £579,035 on marketing in 2012 compared with £498,549 in 2009, research from specialist marketing recruiter EMR has found.
The research found that marketing spend per applicant has risen to £25, up from £19 in 2009.
Simon Bassett, managing director of EMR, said: “University fees almost trebled with the new £9,000 cap on tuition, so the importance of marketing has increased hugely. The value that higher education offers is now firmly under the microscope and it is down to marketers to make the universities’ case. However, simply increasing marketing spend isn’t the answer. How universities spend their money is arguably more important.
“The challenge for those that do need to market themselves is to be creative and use their heritage while reaching new people through alternative channels. For example, social media has been used effectively by a number of private education providers for a while now to engage with prospective students, and it can present a new face to an established institution, targeting their audience’s communication sweet-spot.”
A quarter of marketers polled said that existing reputation is more important than proactive marketing for universities, with Oxford and Cambridge both having no advertising budget.
This comes on the same day as it was announced that Paula Barrow, previously Levi Strauss Europe marketing manager, has taken the role of director of marketing at the University of Salford.