Universities in England and Wales are struggling to hit their student recruitment numbers this year thanks to the hike in tuition fees.
Lots of universities are panicking and Peter Cunningham of education marketing and student recruitment consultancy 11tenGroup is predicting a couple of universities will go to the wall..
In the hope of enticing students, quite a number of universities are slashing their entry requirements while others are ploughing hard earned funds into expensive last-minute advertising.
I'm reliably informed that one university threw away £300,000 on tail-end newspaper adverts that did not generate one new student!
I suspect more than a few university marketing directors will be facing the high jump by the end of clearing.
Fortunately, other universities have managed to hit their recruitment targets. The question is why have some succeeded while others have failed.
There are lots of reasons but I suspect that some of our most respected seats of learning are struggling because they reckoned their brands were strong enough to attract students in sufficient numbers without investing in ongoing marketing. Big mistake!
Meanwhile, some less established universities have already secured their numbers because they have been reaching out to students and parents throughout the year.
They have invested in ongoing PR, advertising, social media outreach and video marketing. As a result, they have been discovered by savvy students who actually want to sign up for courses that will deliver a well-paid job at the end of their studies.
The moral of the story is an obvious one - investing in marketing pays dividends and the more effort, time and cash that's invested, the greater the degree of success.