Fall 1988 // Volume 26 // Number 3 // Tools of the Trade // 3TOT1

Previous Article Issue Contents

What's Being Said About Marketing?


Paul Lee
Marketing Leader
Minnesota Extension Service
University of Minnesota-St. Paul

Although no single, complete resource for marketing Extension and its programs exists, several good ones are available to give guidance in developing marketing programs and tools. Some resources are strategic - outlining the overall direction of an organization to respond to its markets and opportunities. Others are tactical - outlining specific action steps needed to take advantage of marketing opportunities.

Three of the sources available to Extension marketing practitioners include Kotler and Fox's Strategic Marketing for Educational Institutions,1 Boldt's Creative Marketing,2 and Colorado State University Cooperative Extension's Targeting Audiences and Using Creative Media Approaches.3

Kotler and Fox's book is appropriate for directors of marketing and other top administrators. While it's a more general work, it can easily be adapted to marketing Extension programs. It draws heavily from the strategic planning process. Kotler and Fox's work deals primarily with setting up processes for capturing information to make strategic marketing decisions.

This resource is helpful in identifying internal factors (strengths and weaknesses) and external factors (opportunities and threats), and how educational organizations can develop marketing strategies. This book is a must tool for those with marketing responsibility to plan long-range activities to realize marketing goals. Kotler has done previous work in general marketing literature and marketing for nonprofit organizations.

The other two resources are more tactical in nature, and are directly related to Extension. They're resources that help develop actions to complete marketing goals identified in strategic marketing processes. Creative Marketing is a textbook approach to the promotion and public relations aspects of marketing. It's appropriate for individuals in Extension with responsibilities in these areas. In this publication - and the subsequent Cornell Cooperative Extension Marketing Manual, Boldt presents three marketing dimensions: marketing the organization, marketing the education programs, and relationship marketing. The strengths of Creative Marketing and the Marketing Manual are the tools they provide that are appropriate for use at both the state and county levels.

Colorado State University's Targeting Audiences is an impressive work in targeting programs (and messages) to selected audiences. It's appropriate for individuals with responsibility for making decisions about matching programs (products) with audiences. It includes an excellent 80-page section on targeting older Americans. It also explores creation and dissemination of messages to targeted audiences. Included throughout the book and in five appendices are five steps in targeting audiences: (1) identify target audiences according to mission and goals; (2) select geographic areas; (3) prepare demographic profiles; (4) include lifestyle, psychographic, and behavioral profiles; and (5) identify life events and health status of audience. Targeting Audiences also provides marketing tools appropriate for state and local operations.

In addition to these three books, Topor has contributed to marketing both with an Extension emphasis4 and a general emphasis.5

With increased emphasis on marketing Extension in the 80s, a complete resource would be desirable. However, until that resource is available, those listed here are good for Extension marketing practitioners.


1. Philip Kotler and Karen F. A. Fox, Strategic Marketing for Educational Institutions (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall,1985).

2. Bill Boldt, Creative Marketing (Ithaca, New York: Cornell Cooperative Extension Service, 1986).

3. Targeting Audiences and Using Creative Media Approaches (Fort Collins: Colorado State University, Cooperative Extension, 1985).

4. Marketing Cooperative Extension: A Practical Guide for County Board Members, Coordinators, Program Leaders, Agents, and Volunteers (Ithaca, New York: Cornell Cooperative Extension, 1983).

5. Marketing Higher Education: A Practical Guide (Washington, D. C.: Council for Advancement and Support of Education, 1983) and Your Personal Guide to Marketing a Nonprofit Organization (Washington, D. C.: Council for Advancement and Support of Education, 1988).