In the dynamic world of higher ed recruitment, enrollment leaders struggle to solve complex problems because they rely too heavily on traditional technologies and strategies. This is not to say traditional methods are not helpful, but today’s enrollment management landscape is simply not the same as it was a decade ago.
As an enrollment leader, you face significant challenges every day, like:
- How to grow your incoming class.
- How to provide Disney-type campus visit experiences.
- How to deal with continued challenges caused by the pandemic.
- How to cope with budget woes.
- And how to recruit a shrinking prospective student population.
Since change in higher education is typically slow, too many enrollment leaders try to solve these complex challenges as if they were merely part of the typical educational landscape. They are not. And there is little leeway when it comes to enrollment for a college campus.
How do you solve complex problems in this challenging landscape? Here are three things you must be doing.
1. Get Your Data and Automation Act Together
If you think the recruitment space was moving toward digital at a moderate pace before the pandemic, welcome to warp speed! The need for relevant, current and focused data to trigger action is more important than ever. And the data are out there. You gather it from outreach activities such as email, text conversations, on-campus visits, digital advertising, phone calls and more. But when not structured for measurement nor complemented with automation, the data are inconsistent and hard to act on — resulting in unnecessary spending to reach students who have no intention of enrolling while checking off a box saying, “We reached out to that student.”
CRMs can help capture data over periods of time, but they are not flexible or inclusive enough to gather data that enrollment leaders need “in the moment.” Also, CRMs do not automate actions, content and communications based on the data they house.
The business world began to solve for this issue by introducing marketing automation platforms somewhere around 2006 – 2008, and it’s now time for higher ed to begin adopting such tools. The likes of HubSpot, Marketo and Pardot have been an integral part of all robust sales and marketing organizations, allowing them to aggregate, interpret and act on the right data, at the right time. This type of solution is now available and customized for higher ed recruitment.
2. Be Visible, Transparent and Aligned
Today’s enrollment climate requires several decision makers, working at every level of your institution and across many departments and areas of expertise. Each department has its own responsibilities, but it’s in everyone’s best interest to invest in your enrollment strategies and outcomes.
It is incumbent upon you, the enrollment leader, to share key data with different groups within the institution, and to ensure alignment across departments. The institution on a whole must be aligned for enrollment success.
When you are visible, transparent and aligned with other key departments and stakeholders, they have the opportunity to make informed decisions and take constructive actions that will positively impact enrollment.
3. “Plans are nothing, but planning is everything”
There are strategic enrollment plans, annual recruitment plans, program specific recruitment plans, retention plans, marketing plans … and the list goes on and on. While I would never argue against planning, it’s important to understand that planning is not an event; it’s a process. Changes and adjustments are going to happen in real time … all the time.
But the process can get bogged down and often creates more silos than it knocks down. This goes back to the lack of real-time data and direction that is required to set goals both short term and long term. The visibility of the current plan, informed by current data, allows direction to be provided to the campus constituency.
How to go about it?
Solving complex problems in today’s enrollment management environment requires marketing automation built for student recruitment. It also requires visibility, transparency and alignment across institution’s key stakeholders. And lastly, it requires continuous adjustments to plans, strategies, and campaigns.
Capture Higher Ed provides the first and only marketing automation platform built specifically for higher ed recruitment and marketing. We are also a trusted partner and an extension of your team, giving you the time and data to better coordinate and be visible across different departments at your institution. And our platform and solutions are supported by a team of responsive enrollment marketing pros who will help you pivot and change as necessary, while planning and reporting on every action.
That’s what Capture does every day for our client institutions. Find out more by reaching out to us today.
By Christopher Harris, Ed.D., Senior Enrollment Strategist, Capture Higher Ed