15 Ways Marketing Can Impact Fraternal Risk, Health, and Safety


by Matt Mattson

O.K. quick brainstorm. I've written about this before, but I believe strongly that there are better ways to reduce the risk of fraternities and sororities and increase the health and safety of fraternities and sororities other than policy, education of current members, rules, and regulations. I ain't hatin' on that stuff... I just think we need to be creative.

Why should we be creative? People are dying. Enough said.

So, let's think of some real ways that smarter MARKETING can help keep our chapters safer and our members healthier. People always roll their eyes at me when I say "Marketing Matters!" I'm telling you though, it can. 

I brainstormed these 15 ideas on an airplane the other night in exactly 13 minutes. That's how long it took me to write this whole thing. I'm guessing if we took some more time together, we could come up with LOTS of other innovative things to try. 

Here we go. 15 ways to use marketing to reduce risk and create healthy, safe, thriving fraternity/sorority chapters.

1. Let's implement professional marketing campaigns aimed at high school students that tell a different story about Greek Life, and set positive expectations about what it means to be a fraternity man or sorority woman.

2. Let's partner with the sports programs at feeder high schools and have our members deliver powerful hazing prevention education to those students.

3. Let's provide a "How To Avoid Bad Chapters" guide and training to every potential member.

4. Let's produce a series of videos for parents about how to have conversations with their students about hazing, alcohol, and drugs.

5. Let's do highly targeted marketing campaigns to fill our fraternity/sorority prospect pools with objectively lower-risk students (aim at less-risky populations with marketing that speaks to them).

6. Let's actively and loudly identify the safest chapters (by administration and peer review) on our campus through our marketing materials and mediums.

7. Let's conduct a marketing campaign that seeks students who specifically want to create a safer, more sober, more dignity-filled campus, and ask them to infiltrate our chapters.

8. Let's host leads-generation events specifically for small target audience groups on our campus that we would consider lower-risk groups. 

9. Let's invite parents to conduct interviews with chapter leaders - especially social chairs and new member educators - as a "round" of the recruitment process.

10. Let's create videos showing what a safe, healthy, but fun new member experience / first semester should be, and let prospects know before they join about the red flags that would indicate they're involved with criminal hazing activities.

11. Let's incorporate tools like Phired Up's iValU into our marketing materials so that we're not just "promoting" our organizations, we're also "preparing" our PNMs to be educated buyers.

12. Let's produce videos, live social media events, or actual live events for high school students to talk about how to build a safe college experience (that includes Greek Life).

13. Let's do social media campaigns that actually show (maybe humorously) what hazing looks like and why it can go really wrong.

14. Let's create a compelling narrative about your community, council, chapter, or the big ideas of "Fraternity" and "Sorority" that make them sound like something more than a "buddy club." Part of the reason people join with risky intentions is that they think we're nothing more than "drunk buddies." Let's sell them something more than that.

15. Let's make public a set of criteria for selection that makes it clear we're not looking for people who just want to get drunk and get spanked and hook up in unsafe ways. Let's make clear who we aren't inviting to participate in recruitment. 

Bonus: Let's keep marketing as councils and campus communities to our newest members during their first semester. Keep sending them centralized messaging about what they should be expecting from their new member experience. They just invested in a product, and they should expect excellent customer service that keeps them safe and happy.

O.K., that was 16 quick ideas. What do you have? E-mail me at Matt@InnovaGreek.com.

I've been telling everyone I talk to lately that I believe the "pre-member experience" is the best leverage point we have to reducing risk in our chapters. Why try to re-educate our established members who have many of their behaviors already ingrained. Why not pre-educate the people haven't even joined yet? Let's change the buyer pool so that they demand a better product.