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CommuteCon 2017

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Getting out the Message: Marketing Techniques for the Non-Marketer

Mary Fischer
Manager, Sustainability Programs
Brandeis University

Session Description

Commuter program managers and administrators sometimes struggle to market their initiatives, especially when faced with financial or human resource limitations. In other cases, initiatives are led by enthusiastic volunteers who value sustainable commuting principles but don’t have the marketing training or experience to follow through. Mary Fischer of Brandeis University shared some helpful tips at CommuteCon 2017 to help bridge these types of gaps.

Here are some of her suggestions:

  • Work an effective, succinct but descriptive two-sentence summary of the program into communications and marketing materials. Be specific. For example, instead of “We’re launching a new commuter program,” try “We’re launching state-of-the-art transportation management software, like a community-based Uber.”
  • Have a one-page summary ready to distribute to people who ask for information. Create a simple, clear layout and try to incorporate graphics to ease digestion of information.
  • There are many free or inexpensive graphics platforms that can help marketers generate eye-catching materials. Take advantage of them to produce targeted materials, like one-pagers, and use them to create “how-to” summaries regarding aspects of the commuter program.
  • Leverage your existing communications channels to expand your reach. Raise awareness on a person-to-person level in meetings and committees, add the program to existing digital communications initiatives, and try to get in the local news.
  • Emphasize commuter benefits in marketing materials. For example, at Brandeis, Fischer often emphasizes cost savings and reduced stress, both of which are major concerns to undergraduate and graduate students.
  • Take advantage of free email marketing services like Mail Chimp. These services offer advanced features that make it easier to conduct mass email marketing campaigns and track your results.

Fischer runs what she calls a “one-person shop,” and has used these techniques to great success in her role as the manager of sustainability programs at Brandeis. She has overseen the development and implementation of a wide range of commuter programs, including the successful Commute Green campus-based ride-sharing service.