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Merit releases new features that make it easier for all university departments to own part of the marketing process

New platform enhancements enable university staff to submit stories of department and student successes, directly connect brand with key audiences

As colleges and universities across America strive for new ways to articulate their value to important audiences , Merit, whose online platform serves hundreds of higher education institutions and millions of students, today announced a series of new offerings that make it easier for all university departments to become directly involved in marketing their institutions by telling stories of student success.

The newest updates to the Merit platform include a feature that allows marketing officers to quickly and easily canvass colleagues throughout their institutions for current stories about the accomplishments of students in various departments or programs. By using Merit to directly submit noteworthy achievements of their students, faculty and staff members from anywhere on campus can participate in developing compelling marketing content that’s important to their particular departments. Merit then enables campus marketing professionals to edit and share those submitted stories with a wide range of precisely targeted audiences, including prospective donors, influential legislators, high schools, students’ hometown media outlets, and potential employers.  Additional updates to Merit include strategic marketing calendars that simplify the process of establishing marketing content timelines, and enhancements to each institution’s online Merit page that showcases student achievements.

More than 250 colleges and universities already use Merit to scale outreach to stakeholders and to tell the stories of their institutions by highlighting the achievements of every student enrolled. Student stories are personalized and published to each student’s online Merit page, and also distributed directly to Merit’s built-in network of guidance counselors, principals, legislators, and news media relevant to every student.

“Marketing in higher education is evolving at an exciting pace, as we are seeing more universities hiring CMOs and exploring new strategies for creating compelling brand positions and targeting those to specific, relevant audiences,” said Colin Mathews, founder and president of Merit. “The job of today’s university marketer is to ensure that those carefully crafted brand positions come to life for students, parents, donors, faculty, alumni, government leaders, and so many other key audiences, and that requires telling the whole story of the university from the perspective of every department and the students they serve.”

“Carthage College must reach a variety of audiences with messages that clearly define and leverage our strengths, creating an awareness and understanding of what makes a Carthage education and experience distinctive,” said Molly Polk, vice president for communications at Carthage College. “That means telling as many stories as we can that showcase the exceptional work happening across campus every day, and the difference it makes for individual students. But, like many colleges, we struggle with how to involve everyone on campus in telling a collective and powerful story. Merit makes it easy for us to engage staff and faculty from all areas in helping us identify and develop student stories, and then automates our ability to distribute that content to a large and relevant audience.” Polk said.

“Telling the stories of student success is at the heart of our strategic marketing efforts,” said Barbara Moffat, vice president for marketing and external affairs at Western New England University. “Merit gives us a great way to share students’ accomplishments in a way that allows the University to build relationships, support student retention, and increase our competitive advantage in a more efficient and effective manner.”

The marketing improvements are among several platform advances rolled out by Merit this year, including process enhancements for university sports information directors and government affairs specialists. Merit also recently announced the rollout of free Merit accounts for more than 28,000 high schools, enabling them to see, share and promote the everyday outcomes of each of their alumni at colleges and universities throughout the U.S. The free high school Merit accounts include regular, real-time updates added by colleges and universities about each school’s alumni; a directory of every college in the Merit network with analytical tools to discover alumni based on their interests and accomplishments; a customizable public Merit page for each high school that they can use as a landing page for students, families, and friends to discover stories about alumni; and more.