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College Marketing vs. Reality

Have you ever watched the American Movie Classics series Mad Men? It's about a Madison Avenue ad agency in the Sixties. What's interesting about the show, other than the superb acting and soap opera plots, is the inside look at how marketing works. The agency creates ads and, more importantly, images for their clients, who make products ranging from laxatives to rubber gloves (not that those two products are related).

Since we delve into the realm of higher education here (which is also a product), I was struck by the title of an article on Forbes Web site, entitled The Three Biggest Lies in College Admission, by Steve Cohen. This started me to thinking about an old Total Quality Management (remember that?) maxim, which stated "Perception is reality," meaning that if you think it's true, then it really is. The article also started me to thinking about the connections between colleges and marketing and perception, not to mention reality. Well, actually, Cohen proposes his perception of college reality in his article.

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