Date of Award

2022

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Education (Ph.D)

Department

Administrative and Instructional Leadership

First Advisor

Catherine C. DiMartino

Second Advisor

Ceceilia Parnther

Third Advisor

Stephen Kotok

Abstract

Marketing strategy involves selecting a target market and determining the desired product positioning to attract the desired customers (Silk, 2006). Recently, community colleges have seen a decrease in student enrollment. In some cases, this was brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic; in other cases budget constraints have posed challenges to community colleges and their recruitment marketing efforts. Successful advertising involves a marketing strategy where the student is considered the customer (Guilbault, 2017) and creative “edvertising” (DiMartino & Jessen, 2018) campaigns entice students to select one college above other competitors. With a growing Latinx population in the United States, college recruitment must involve building connections with the Latinx community and establishing trust between Latinx students and the institution. This case study explored communications and marketing strategies of a New York Community College (NYCC), located in Lower Manhattan, used to recruit Latinx students and the relationship between student perception and the institution’s marketing practices addressing the needs of Latinx students. Using theoretical frameworks and concepts that included the PESTLE Analysis (Aguilar, 1967), Sensemaking Theory (Weick, 1995), and Community Cultural Wealth (Yosso, 2005), this case study was supported by literature that examined marketing practices administered by U.S. and international organizations, research focused on the first-generation, Latinx college student experience, customer-based marketing and the effects on college recruitment marketing during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study involved data collection through an analysis of digital and printed marketing materials, interviews with current first-generation Latinx NYCC students, current and former NYCC administrators and current NYCC staff from the areas of marketing, admissions and a student cohort program. Analysis of the data revealed three key findings. First, that outside influences including family, financial constraints and cultural pressures are not addressed or represented in NYCC’s communications and marketing efforts. Second, there are conflicting visions and strategies among NYCC staff and administration causing a lack of cohesion in messaging and marketing efforts to recruit students to NYCC. Third, a mix in perceptions and sensemaking from first-generation Latinx students who are receiving NYCC’s communications and marketing through various channels, causing a disconnect between the college’s marketing and the student customer’s expectations.

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