Whether we are study abroad offices, faculty, 3rd party providers or consultants, we have an interest in marketing the study abroad experience. Clearly, we think it has value.
I have presented about some of the missteps in short term study abroad programming – and one of the top 5 was the lack of creativity in marketing. Simply put: We forget to think like the students. Yes, they’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube/Vimeo. But where ELSE are they?
They’re at 8tracks.com – and so am I! Check out my first study abroad/international music mix:
8tracks.com is a music website that allows you to create your own music mixes. You create a profile, add your photo and link to your website and then you can create music mixes from your own (legally purchased) music collection. You pick your tracks, upload them to the site, describe them with a tag like “world music”,” chill”, “instrumental”, “study”, etc and then you make your mix “live.” I created my first mix this weekend – selecting music from different cultures (American, Germany, Algeria, England, Egypt, Jamaica, Ireland and Native American.) I described the mix by artist but also mentioned that it is great mix for those interested in study abroad. People will select my mix through a category search, but they can also search study abroad and find my mix. Regardless of how they find my mix, they find Melibee Global.
Back when I first wrote this post in 2011, I searched study abroad on 8tracks.com and two mixes quickly appeared. Both were loaded, not surprisingly, by students. One had studied abroad and shared her ipod mix, the other is preparing to study abroad this fall in Rome and describes her mix as music she knows she will be listening to when she steps off the plane in Italy. Today, there are a 67 free mixes that are tagged study abroad.
You can also embed your mix into your website (as I did above), which allows students to listen to enticing music while perusing over the facts and figures of your study abroad program.
8tracks.com has over 8 million visitors per month – and the number is growing.
We know that music is very tied to memories. We hear a song, we think of a place, person or experience. Songs “get stuck” in our heads for hours. Music is a very powerful marketing tool and we should be thinking about how often our students are walking across campus listening to ipods. If we’re thinking like our students and marketing our programs well, they’ll be listening to our program specific mixes. If you have a program in Spain – create a mix of songs by the Gipsy Kings and Alejandro Sanz. If you want to have students connect with your program in Kenya – create a mix that includes Kenge Kenge and Suzanna Owiyo. And if you’re promoting your program in Brazil, you must include music by the legendary Caetano Veloso .
Just hearing Caetano Veloso makes me want to jump on a plane and return to Brazil. I was particularly inspired to visit Brazil after hearing him perform in the U.S. with some Brazilian friends. At that performance, I could feel Brazil all around me. When I listen to my own mix on 8tracks.com, I am inspired to pack my bags again, especially while grooving to DiDi by Cheb Khaled!
Hmmm, might be time to get the luggage out. I guess that marketing DOES work!