Chancellor Mark A. Mone convened the Marketing Study Group in January 2023 and asked it to examine UWM’s current marketing structure and operations. The group issued its report in May 2023. The chancellor accepted the report’s recommendations and released the group in July 2023.

Key Findings

Resource Allocation: UWM has invested significant resources in marketing and communications, with many positions and a substantial budget spent on advertising and marketing services. However, these resources have been thinly spread across the university, leading to diminished impact.

Chargeback Model Obstacles: The Division of Marketing & Communications charges units for its services, making these services cost-prohibitive for many units. This model has led to dissatisfaction among many units.

Unsustainable Workloads: Marketing and communications staff across the university expressed a significant concern about feeling stretched to the breaking point by their workloads, with over 87% of university marketers and 91% of Marketing & Communications (MarComm) staff indicating that their workloads had increased, in many cases significantly, during their time at UWM.

Key Recommendations

Data-Driven Resource Allocation: UWM should use data-driven decision-making to allocate resources effectively to maximize their value for the university. This involves prioritizing projects with the most potential benefit and aligning them with campus priorities.

Alternatives to Chargeback Model: UWM should actively pursue alternatives to the chargeback model to make marketing and communications services more accessible and equitable across units.

Strategic Marketing Plan: UWM should develop a university-wide strategic marketing plan with policies, guidelines, and processes to support it. The plan should clearly convey university priorities, define roles and responsibilities, and set measurable goals for marketing efforts.

Specialized Staff Support: Each college and division should have support from staff highly skilled in writing/communications, social media strategy, and web content strategy and management. This aims to ensure specialized expertise is available across the university.

Professional Development: UWM should provide marketing and communications staff with opportunities for professional development, including specialty-specific training and resources. This helps staff grow and sharpen their skills.

University-Wide Training: The Division of Marketing & Communications should offer annual marketing and communications workshops for faculty and staff across the university to ensure everyone can effectively represent UWM and understand its brand and messaging.

Standardize Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Create a set of standard KPIs for measuring marketing outcomes and incorporate them into the university’s strategic marketing plan.

These recommendations are aimed at addressing the identified issues and improving the efficiency, effectiveness, and equity of UWM’s marketing and communications efforts. Additional detailed recommendations specific to each area within marketing and communications are provided in the subgroup reports within the full report.

Research Methods

The Marketing Study Group based its conclusions and recommendations on data gathered through a wide variety of means:

Member Reports: Members of the study group provided reports on the state of marketing in their respective units, sharing insights and feedback based on their direct experiences and knowledge.

Surveys: Several surveys were conducted. The audiences included the University Marketing Committee; division heads, deans, department chairs; staff in the Division of Marketing & Communications; and all faculty and staff. These surveys collected valuable input, perceptions, and opinions on marketing and communications at UWM.

Consultant Reports: The group reviewed reports from marketing consultants with expertise in higher education to gain insights and best practices from external experts.

Data Analysis: The group examined data from various sources, including organizational charts, HR data related to marketing and communications staffing, and historical data on marketing and communications projects. This data analysis informed their understanding of the current state of marketing and communications at UWM.

Subgroup Analysis: The study group divided into four subgroups, each focused on specific areas of marketing and communications: Content Creation, Marketing Strategy & Advertising, Social Media, and Web. These subgroups provided in-depth analysis and specific recommendations for their respective areas.

Comparative Analysis: The group conducted comparative research, such as benchmarking against peer institutions, to understand how other universities handle marketing and communications. This work included interviews with the marketing leads at several peer institutions.