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Marketing Guide

Do you have a promotion or a marketing need and you're not sure where to start? We’ve compiled this quick reference guide to help you get started. Follow these key points to help you make sense of your marketing needs. If you have additional questions please feel free to contact the Communications Department.

Develop a Plan

Start by answering the 5 W’s:

  • Who? Who is my audience? Are they prospective students? Current students? What age group?
  • What? What do I want to say to them?
  • When? When do I want my message to go out?
  • Where? Where will my material be seen or distributed?
  • Why? Why should anyone attend? What benefit will they gain by attending/joining/participating?

Once you’ve answered these questions, decide on the best way to communicate your points. Will a poster be more effective than a brochure? A press release faster than a direct mail piece? If you are uncertain contact us. We can help you answer these questions.

Start Early

As a general rule, your materials should be on display three weeks before the start of your event. Consideration must be given for the time the graphic designers and printers will need to produce materials.

Sample Schedule based on a 10 week turn-a-round


Event: Faculty-Specific Speakers Series

Materials Required:

  • 1 Poster on campus
  • 4 E-mail Advertisements
  • 1 Press Release

Production Schedule:

  • May 1: Day of event
  • April 27: 4th E-mail ad sent out
  • April 20: 3rd E-mail ad sent out
  • April 13: 2nd E-mail ad sent out
  • April 10: Posters distributed for placement
  • April 6: 1st E-mail ad sent out
    • April 3: Poster art sent to printer
    • April 1: Final approval of poster art between client and designer
    • March 30: Proof 3 final edits from client to designer
    • March 26: Proof 3 of poster to client
    • March 20: Proof 2 edits from client to designer
    • March 16: Proof 2 of poster to client
    • March 10 : Proof 1 edits from client to designer
    • March 4 : Proof 1 of poster to client
  • February 25:
    • Job request submission via online job request
    • Materials supplied for poster design and production
    • Materials supplied for press release

Decide on a Budget

Your budget will determine what you can and cannot do. Be creative, perhaps a direct mail postcard drawing people to your website will be more cost effective than a glossy colour brochure. Press releases are also a great way to spread the word when your budget is a concern, or consider sharing costs with another department or faculty with similar objectives. And, don’t forget about the many free community calendars available--check with the Chamber of Commerce. Local papers and publications often provide free listings for local events, in print and/or online.

Identify Your Target Audience

Who would be interested in your event/promotion/class?

For example, starting a blog or designing an ad to be placed on Facebook would be better suited to attract a young audience. Newsprint or radio might appeal more to an older demographic. The closer you are to defining your audience the more successful you’ll be at attracting their attention.

Once you identify your audience, focus on media that appeal to that demographic. Consider the use of language in your messaging and guage it to your audience:

  • Students
  • Faculty
  • Academic conference participants
  • Local community members
  • International community members

Consider the subject matter of your event and the interests of your audience.

  • environmentally aware
  • physically active
  • research specific interests
  • cultural diversity

What to say

People are more likely to read your poster, mailer, ad, or blog if your headline is compelling and your copy flows.

Keep it simple.

With so many other messages vying for audience attention, your promotional material has to fight hard to get noticed. The best way to break through the clutter is to keep it simple; avoid saying it all at once. Pick and choose your words and place them strategically.

Consider your medium.

A poster should be easy to read at a glance and from a distance. Try using compelling headlines and high impact imagery; a simple and direct who, what, when, and where approach could be the most effective. Draw your audience to the website, it's a cost-effective way to provide people with further information and event details.

Less is more.

When in doubt, leave it out. There is something to be said about this editorial adage. It also makes a good rule when considering your copy for promotional materials. Every word counts and should hold value.

Achieve good design.

Good design is the result of a combined balance of copy, image and placement. We’re here to help you find that balance. However, at times you’ll be designing your own material. For those times keep the following points in mind:

  • Keep your design clean and uncluttered
  • Focus on one main element
  • Provide visual breathing room (i.e. white space)
  • Use text thoughtfully, and in most cases, sparingly

Refer to the visual library on the Communications website to gather ideas on how to use your department or faculty tab, copy suggestions, and to access our photo library.

Tell them often.

Look around. Be creative. There are many ways in which you can let people know about your event. You’ll need to tell them more than once. Repeat your message often and in different ways.


  • Email ads
  • Blogs
  • Newsletters
  • Newspaper ads
  • Newspaper / event listings
  • Radio
  • Word-of-mouth
  • Press releases
  • Posters
  • Direct mail
  • Sandwich boards
  • Table top cards
  • Postcards
  • Website
  • Web links