Enrollment and marketing leaders on university campuses are up to their ears in recruitment data. Data from the CRM, data from the registrar’s office, national trend data, historical institutional data, marketing metrics data, subjective data from counselors, faculty and coaches — all just piling up on your desktop.
In fact, according to Statsista, the amount of data captured, copied and consumed globally in 2022 was 97 zettabytes. Yes, zettabytes … and that is only going to increase as more oceans of data become available.
The largest issue we face as enrollment and marketing leaders is not getting the data; it is understanding all the actionable data and using it to identify, convert and enroll more students successfully. Data are housed in several places and come from different marketing and enrollment channels. How do you corral it to create the personalized enrollment journey today’s students and their families expect?
Developing a data narrative for your admissions and marketing teams starts with unifying that data into one place where you can optimize and scale your efforts. This allows you to overcome the data flood and take actions to empower your teams to enroll your class this fall. Let’s look at a few pain points you will have to overcome if you want to make your data actionable.
Developing Data Driven Messages that Resonate
Just because you have access to an overwhelming amount of data doesn’t mean you are creating messages and enrollment plans that resonate with your team, much less those who you are recruiting. You must find a way to standardize the data to ensure that it can be used by your team to create lasting relationships with prospective students. One big mistake that is made is the rush to create messages based upon short-sited data collection.
First things first, we must establish the goals of the data collection and subsequent marketing actions. Without goals, you might as well throw some spaghetti against the wall and see what sticks. Each enrollment and marketing effort should be measured for effectiveness and efficiency.
Is that text your counselors send about paying the deposit driving the flow of deposits or is the timing or message wrong? Past performance measured against current data will tell you. Collecting data in real-time and optimizing your teams work will have a direct influence on the acceptance of your message with prospective students.
Integrating Your Recruitment Data from All Sources
The flow of data never stops. How do you harvest and unify the data to get a true picture of your recruitment and marketing efforts? Google, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and email are just a few of the channels you are using to connect with prospective students and every day you and your team are logging into each platform and probably your CRM to figure out what if any success you are having with your efforts.
The time that is spent is your most precious commodity. You must find a platform that not only brings these pieces together, but one that shows real insights versus a conglomeration of data points. Having a single source of truth when it comes to your data collection and analysis helps you make critical decisions.
Having one marketing technology, or martech, solution as part of your tech stack for enrollment management allows your team to make individual, territorial, and market-wide decisions when it comes to both your messages and the channels you are sending them on. It gives you a comprehensive view of your messaging campaigns and what is driving specific conversions.
The best martech platforms provide not only real-time data and access to dashboards but also come with enrollment and marketing experts who have sat in your seat and know the pressures you feel. Expertise backed with data will help you succeed.
Scaling Up to Increase Outreach
Data management can also scale your efforts, so you can reach the students who may not have been in your enrollment pool. We all know about the enrollment cliff and the shift of demographics that we are experiencing. Many institutions will be forced to expand their enrollment and marketing efforts to find those pockets of students who may be interested in attending their institution.
Your enrollment and marketing analytics can help identify those potential students who might be in a secondary or tertiary market. The purchasing of Search names has become more complicated as admissions requirements have changed student test taking schedules. This is where your marketing data can help identify where you can focus your marketing dollars in creating lookalike social and direct advertising campaigns.
For your admissions team, this could also help identify specific counties, and schools to visit during fall and spring travel seasons. The data can lead to better conversations about specific academic and co-curricular activities while visiting with prospective students on the road.
Summing It All Up
Enrollment management and marketing leaders on campuses nationwide are facing some bumps in the road when it comes to enrollment. Some will continue to thrive, while others will continue to fight to enroll the right numbers of students. In either case, there are not as many students to compete for, so your ability to reach, identify, convert and enroll the right number of students for your campus is going to be harder.
The combination of recruitment data mixed with a great value proposition message will resonate with prospective students. But what many are lacking is not the knowledge of what data they need to succeed; it is a platform where they can manage all the data they have.
Capture Higher Ed does just that for our partner institutions. We use the Behavioral Intelligence Platform which brings marketing automation powered by industry leading predictive models all in a managed service with experts who have served as enrollment leaders on their campuses.
By Christopher Harris, Ed.D., Senior Enrollment Strategist, Capture Higher Ed