Summer 1986 // Volume 24 // Number 2 // Forum // 2FRM1

Previous Article Issue Contents Previous Article

Marketing Extension - Being Prepared


Karen E. Craig
Associate Dean for Extension
Consumer and Family Sciences and Assistant Director, CES
Purdue University-West Lafayette

With all the talk about marketing Extension today, it seems appropriate to remind ourselves that it occurs daily in discussions and casual conversations about our educational programs.

An article in the June, 1985, Purdue Alumnus magazine noted that interviews are similar to marketing Extension programs. In interviews, we try either to sell ourselves or decide if the person being interviewed is what we want to buy or support. In marketing Extension, we want to convince the public and users that we have a good product (education) they should want to support.

Both interviewing and marketing require selling and present opportunities for exploring our own and others' needs. The best way to excel is to prepare. Not being prepared indicates a lack of interest or knowledge about what we're doing.

Asking yourself the following questions, paraphrased from the "Helping To Win in an Interview Situation," can prepare you to conduct intelligent, effective discussions about Extension:

  1. How would you describe the program?
  2. How is "success" defined for the program?
  3. What are the goals for the program?
  4. Which is more important to the program - the number of people served or the type of educational program provided?
  5. What's the greatest weakness of the program, and what's its greatest strength?
  6. What does the program do that shows initiative?
  7. As administrator of the program, which would you rather do: design it, evaluate it, or manage the other people associated with the program?
  8. What do you know about the person to whom you're to talk? How can the program relate to him/her?
  9. What makes you think the program would be useful to the person you're talking to?

In the job interview, the employer judges the individual being interviewed. As a public employee with an Extension program, judgments are being made about each of us as we represent Extension programs. Anyone we speak to is a possible reviewer.

Good information on both sides facilitates understanding. In addition to being prepared to answer questions, why not ask questions of others? Take advantage of the opportunity to find out everything you can about who they are, what they need, and what they want. The answers you get should be useful to you in making further plans for the program.

Don't be afraid to be confident. If you feel good about your program, be sure to tell people about it. Each time you speak to someone is a marketing opportunity. Although being ready all the time may be demanding, the opportunity is too good to pass up.