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Six Reasons Why Higher Education Marketers Should Use a Marketing Maturity Model

Six Reasons Why Higher Education Marketers Should Use a Marketing Maturity Model

Jaime Hunt

Metal lattice framework with an opening in the middle showing a blue sky

Leading a marketing communications team through transformative change is typically a multi-year, multi-faceted endeavor—one that can often seem daunting. Compounding the challenge of limited budgets and overwhelmed staff lies a familiar foe: resistance to change. Many articles delve into why our teams might want to stick with what they know, but a common culprit is a lack of understanding of the shared vision and an inability to see a path to the end goal. True forward momentum is often lost to this resistance. For some universities, that lack of momentum could mean the difference between struggling to survive and thriving.

As marketing leaders consider how to overcome these challenges and establish a path to a brighter future, one solution to consider is implementing a marketing maturity model. 


A marketing maturity model is a structured framework used to assess and measure the effectiveness and sophistication of your department’s marketing capabilities and strategies. Typically, a marketing maturity model consists of several levels or stages, each representing a higher level of maturity in terms of marketing practices, processes, and strategies. As an organization progresses through these stages, they adopt more advanced and strategic approaches to marketing. 

A marketing maturity model’s ultimate goal is to guide the journey toward achieving better alignment with strategic objectives, more effective use of resources, increased use of data, and higher overall marketing performance.

As you consider whether a marketing maturity matrix is the right solution for your team, consider these six benefits.

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Assessment and Benchmarking

A maturity model offers a framework to assess the current state of your marketing efforts and highlight your organization’s strengths and weaknesses. As you advance through future stages, you can benchmark your progress and celebrate successes.

Strategic Alignment

A maturity model can facilitate alignment between marcom efforts and your institution’s overall strategic goals by helping your team understand how their activities contribute to broader objectives. It also allows you to frankly assess alignment across decentralized teams.

Resource Allocation

Rarely does a higher education marketer feel that their allocated resources are sufficient to achieve desired goals. With limited resources, effective allocation is absolutely crucial. A maturity model can aid in identifying where resources should be invested for maximum impact. 

Continuous Improvement

A maturity model encourages a culture of continuous improvement by promoting a cyclical process of evaluation, planning, implementation, and measurement.

Stakeholder Communication

A maturity model provides a straightforward way to communicate the progress of marketing efforts to various stakeholders, including senior administration, faculty, and your board. Demonstrating advancement along the maturity model can boost confidence in your marketing team’s capabilities—and potentially allow you to make a case for additional resources.

Professional Development

As your team works through the different stages of a maturity model, they gain valuable experience and skills. This benefits your university’s marketing efforts and contributes to your team’s professional development—something that boosts morale and builds confidence. 

A marketing maturity model might be the ideal solution for savvy marketing leaders looking to move continuous improvement off the back burner. This highly customizable strategic tool empowers higher education marketers to systematically assess, plan, execute, and optimize their marketing efforts while fostering growth, alignment, and adaptability. The end game: more effective and impactful marketing strategies that serve your university better.

About the Author

Jaime Hunt is the VP for University Communications and Chief Marketing Officer at Old Dominion University. Find her on LinkedIn or X (Twitter).

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