“If you want someone to lead the production of banners and bookmarks, I’m not the right person for you”

This is how I closed my interview presentation for the (Executive) Director of Marketing position at Nottingham Trent University. Risky? Yes. Did I get the job?


Marketing is far more powerful when it’s viewed as a valuable strategic enabler. View any Vice Chancellor’s objectives and I can guarantee that a well-defined marketing and communications strategy would support or deliver 80% of those goals. And I’m on a mission to demonstrate this; the true value of strategic marketing to advance Higher Education.

After 20 years in Higher Education marketing, communications, widening participation admissions and student recruitment at seven very different universities, I’ve honed the skill of pinpointing the core problem and making the complex simple. Boosting student enrolments significantly at every institution, I’ve led large, dynamic teams and developed brand strategies that integrate the full spectrum of channels and stakeholders. I’m a Chartered Marketer and Fellow of the CIM, was honoured to lead my team to win the Times Higher (THE) Marketing Team of the Year 2017 and was key to NTU enrolling the largest number of new undergraduate students in the UK (2018 and 2019).

So, why Higher Education? At 17 years old I was a typical ‘widening participation’ student from Middlesbrough in the North East of England. I had no role models, a pre-defined life path and was supported by a single parent earning a minimum wage. Then I went to university – just because I was considered bright and my teachers said it would be a good idea. My university experience changed my life. I know it sounds cheesy, but it really did. Put simply, I want more people like me to experience the life-changing potential offered by Higher Education.

Do you share my passion to advance Higher Education and advance access for all? Do you agree that proper marketing is about more than communications and colour palettes? Do you need executive-level support to identify the direction and bring others on the journey? Do you need to reposition your institution and need some advice on how that can be achieved? Enquire now. I’d be delighted to discuss how I can help*.

Penny Eccles BSc (Hons) MBA DipM FCIM (Chartered Marketer)

*No banners or bookmarks included.