Although comparatively new, the multi-billion dollar Enrollment Management industry is susceptible to the same problems as the mature corporate marketing industry. One key differentiator between the two industries does exist: schools were not built to make money, they were built to provide an academic service. Building and maintaining a reputation within the academic community is of the utmost importance; some institutions have spent decades and even centuries building and refining a brand. What’s more, in some cases, the brand—academic integrity, excellence—is more important than the profitability of an institution.
This difference makes the task of marketing on behalf of schools particularly difficult. Fortunately, sophisticated marketing methodologies exist that allow enrollment marketers to reach prospective students without sacrificing the “brand” integrity that academic institutions have spent so long building.
Avoiding Market Saturation
Direct Response Enrollment Marketing is a simple multi-step process that initiates contact with prospective students in a meticulous and quantifiable manner. Direct Response Enrollment Marketing uses two primary channels for attracting prospective students: Online and DRTV.
The process works as follows:
1. Marketing materials are distributed across multiple channels.
2. In response to the materials, prospective students call in or fill out a form online.
3. Prior to each call—in order to facilitate successful calls—EM software feeds student information to the contact center representative regarding the advertisement(
4. Following each inbound or outbound phone call, the Academic Advisors enter information regarding the interest level of the prospective student into the Enrollment Management Software.
5. The Enrollment Management software immediately informs media planning and buying teams which campaigns need more allocation, and which need to be cut.
In comparison with other advertising methodologies, Direct Response Enrollment Marketing is capable of determining which channels and portals offer the highest conversion rates, almost immediately after the campaign is launched. This adds value to the marketing process of colleges and universities in two ways:
1. Schools can cut-out inefficient marketing campaigns immediately, thus saving money for channels that generate more applications and enrollments
2. Schools avoid market saturation. Because colleges and universities know precisely which channels offer the highest rates of return, they do not have to disseminate their marketing materials across channels that may be inappropriate. Placing materials only where they are likely to be viewed by interested students reduces redundancy, and avoids desensitization.
Improving Lead Quality
Lead quality refers to the amount of revenue that a given lead can generate for an advertiser. There is no universal method for measuring the quality of a lead, but some industry benchmarks exist that measure the likelihood that a lead will result in revenue.
In a recent study, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) found that using content to generate education leads—i.e. “Sign up for a free course catalogue!” makes for the highest quality lead.
In order to improve lead quality—or the amount of revenue that each lead is capable of generating—it is important to eliminate “bad leads” or leads that do not generate revenue.
Savvy marketers have determined that leveraging rich content adds another layer of “filtering”
Leveraging content improves the quality of leads and increases revenue on the front end, while reducing wasted man-hours on the back end—academic advisors spend less time sorting out the good from the bad, and more time converting good leads into revenue.