Michael Platt is CEO of Ad Venture Interactive and Founder of Plattform Advertising, a leading marketing firm servicing the proprietary college market.

KCH: You’ve worked closely with the proprietary school sector for more than two decades. What’s the most interesting change you’ve seen in the proprietary sector during this time?

Actually, the most interesting change is under way right now, and that’s the recognition of career colleges’ legitimacy by the naysayers, and their adoption of many of our practices, strategies and philosophies. Wanted or not, there’s always been that rivalry between traditional colleges and universities, and career education-based institutions. In the 80s and 90s – and even still to this day, in some places – career colleges were looked down upon. We were tagged with the “for-profit” label that many of our colleagues at four-year institutions perpetuate, which in itself is a derogatory term. But sometime in the early 2000s, our schools began to surpass our “more esteemed” competitors in two related realms: the first is online education. MichaelPlatt_20060720_0007BWe became big proponents of distance education and now our institutions are leaps and bounds ahead in regard to technology. And, the second realm was making education more convenient. Career colleges were the first to adapt their curricula and program availability to the busy schedules of their students. Now we are the leaders in many avenues mostly because our schools can make decisions fast and they don’t need to cut through line and after line of red tape. These continue to be our biggest advantages.

KCH: You’ve recently launched the online publication “Career College Central.” What features does the publication include?

Foremost, what we feature is news. Before Career College Central came along, there were no other news mediums that offered unbiased reporting on what’s happening in our sector. Also, there were no news agencies collecting the news of the day from other publications and making it available to executives in our sector. In addition, each issue of the magazine features analysis of current trends, interviews with prominent executives, research on topics relevant to college directors, and wisdom from leading experts in all areas of career education. We also have fun with the news. We make it interesting. We make it relevant. I suppose those details could be listed as features, too.

KCH: By which organizations in the higher education market have you been particularly impressed?

Well, it’s hard not to be impressed by Apollo Group and its first billion dollar quarter. They’ve been a leader in our industry for so long and done some amazing things for giving career education a good name. But then again, so many other institutions are thriving: Education Management Corporation, Corinthian Colleges, all the way to most of the smaller individually owned schools. I think the focus on the dollar is important, but no one really mentions the story behind that, which are the thousands of Americans represented by those amounts who have changed their lives. They are coming to our schools because they are convenient, provide real outcomes, and help people find jobs that are in demand. It’s a golden period for career education and we’re more energized than ever by their success.

2 thoughts on “Michael Platt: Leading Proprietary College Marketing

  1. Many things have changed in the last 20 years I have been a list broker: social media, videos, blogging or internet marketing but direct mail continues to be a staple used in the academia industry to generate enrollments. For many, it is the single most significant budget line item. This has not changed even in these economic times. My schools continue to move forward with agressive strategic marketing plans for the balance of 2009 through 2010.

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  2. Mr. Platt,

    I agree with your statements. I teach at a traditional liberal arts college and even though I believe critical thinking is a key component I do firmly believe in any form of career training. I believe losing that aspect from our system has hurt our country. The only critical thinking that was done in the last eight years was how to manipulate the stock market with derivatives until it crashed and almost sunk the country and the world.
    I do believe that medical schools and law schools and engineering schools plus education courses are career courses. It is just that the workers use their minds instead of their hands or specific equipment. Regardless of the tools we all need to know what we are doing based on a theoretical approach. A systems engineer has to visualize the solution before they set up the network, so does an electrician, plumber or whomever.
    The real problem facing these institutions today is that they did hold back on the online bandwagon and now are playing catch up. To that end I have developed a product for use by any and all educational institutions.
    Please visit my blog patrickaievoli.wordpress.com and see the description. If possible can you add it to your blogroll as well. Here is the site as well http://www.theCampusCenter.com

    Here is the entry for your review.

    Overview
    The future of academia is online, clear and simple. F2F is always necessary but it needs to be blended with online. The Internet was created to share information, mainly between academics. Today it has been commercialized beyond belief and needs to get back to its roots.

    Online learning is here to stay. It is the future of academia. As the technology advances academia needs to work with these advances and not against them. By working with this technology through combining student portals, e-Learning and content appropriate e-Commerce academia can find the funding it needs to survive.

    Today academia needs funding at all levels. Tuition has topped out, endowments have been hurt by the current fiscal crisis and fundraising is at a standstill. Educational institutions are in desperate need of new alternative revenue streams. I am an academic and I saw this coming ten years ago. So I started to develop a company called DigiEd Incorporated, it produces free, no cost product to provide alternative revenue streams at no cost to academic/literary institutions and alleviate some IT and LMS demands.

    theCampusCenter.com is a multi-dimensional SaaS/Web delivered environment. It is a no cost, safe, customizable academic student portal that features eight different streams of revenue sharing for academic institutions; Ad revenue, Promotional spots, Affiliate sales, Affinity sections, Content distribution, In text advertising, Micro site sponsorships and Market research. theCampusCenter.com affords those revenue streams through a simple model based on open source code and non-proprietary backend.

    It has numerous uses. It acts as a social network that is major centric for students around the world. It has a research center that contains validated, peer-reviewed links that aid students in doing their research while also diminishing the time it takes to find relevant, qualified research. Students and faculty can also contribute research links by submitting them to our peer-reviewed board of editors.

    There are class forums and study forums that can be customized for each class. We have portal capabilities that can also be customized to look and feel like any school. You can do your research in our Research Center, add to MyLinks and then add to MyNotes. You can add audio and video clips to MyMedia. Once you’re finished collecting your data you can then create your paper in MyPapers – research notes, citations, links, audio, images, video, whatever you need and save it to your profile and send it via email to your professor.

    We provide up to the minute news, sports, games, entertainment and RSS feeds. You can also chat with friends in MyChat or just check your Weather. We have a section for you to post your Resume and a Job Search area for you to find or post a job.
    Also we have a full Amazon powered College Store for all your needs. Anything Amazon.com carries we have as well. And every time you order from our store it helps your school create donations, scholarships and much needed revenue to help keep costs in line with these tough economic times.
    We reward students for using the site with a point system that is redeemable at many vendors and retailers. All this and it helps in revenue generation for the institutions that use it.
    Please use the site and see how it can be customized it for your school or institution so they can start benefiting from the revenue sharing.
    Everything is here for your daily needs as a student or faculty. It is just finding the right source that is usually tough. We make it easier, quicker and more reliable.
    Search Less. Find More. – theCampusCenter.com
    Patrick Aievoli, Founder – patrick@theCampuscenter.com

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