digital trends

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The Cutting Edge of Digital Marketing: Three Questions for Grant Sabatier, Vice President & Principal, Digital Strategy

by Brian Coughlin on June 23, 2016 , No comments
  1. How has “big data” changed how search campaigns are managed?

There is now more data available than ever–massive amounts we couldn’t have imagined even a few years ago. There is also a flood of new tools, platforms and ever-improving Google Analytics available to optimize campaigns. But more data in this case does not necessarily yield better campaign results for, say, one particular business school or another. For Eduvantis, it’s about more data with context. We now work with such a critical mass of business schools and management education organizations that we are the first to see trends across the sector. This helps us to not only set benchmarks, but also uncover opportunities for both a specific school and that we can also leverage across our entire business school client base. It’s a form of collective learning – where each individual school can get better because of the learnings we derive from the whole. We’ve created a truly one-of-a-kind database and resource for business schools.

  1. How, specifically, does this help?

The data we have allows us to implement new learnings quickly – through better targeting, bidding, placement, and lead generation strategies. For example, we discovered a really effective targeting profile we used to identify EMBA prospects on LinkedIn and it was so successful that we took that unique profile and were able to leverage that profile for another school in a different competitive market. The campaign quickly started generating almost double the number of new prospect inquiries generated from LinkedIn.

Also, all of the new digital data we are able to gather is telling us more about the prospect, so we have more information which leads to more effective targeting. We are able to uncover what individuals in the market are interested in (search), their career history (LinkedIn), their interests (Facebook), how they engage with the brand (user experience), and what websites they visit. Better targeting leads to better campaign performance.

  1. Where do you see the digital marketing process headed?

Well, it’s the age of growing complexity. Digital marketing has truly become a science and the increasing complexities, increasing cost, and increasing competition make it necessary to have some pretty sophisticated experience in order to generate ROI with your digital budget. Individual schools struggle with this. The level of precision now required to design and run a high performing PPC campaign (not to mention SEO, social, etc.) requires a special skill set – someone who is very detail oriented, highly curious, analytically driven, can manage a lot of data, and can make a lot of complex choices based on deep digital marketing experience. It has truly become a specialized field and our greatest advantage at Eduvantis is that we have merged the necessary technical skills and experience with unique industry data, which makes us better at targeting, reaching prospects, and generating results.

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Brian CoughlinThe Cutting Edge of Digital Marketing: Three Questions for Grant Sabatier, Vice President & Principal, Digital Strategy

Getting Real About Digital Marketing in Higher Education

by Grant Sabatier on November 20, 2014 , No comments

At the American Marketing Association Higher Education conference in Austin last week, many attendees expressed big worries about meeting their enrollment numbers. However, many of the sessions painted what I feel was an overly rosy picture about how digital marketing can increase brand awareness, gain visibility for programs, and engage prospects.

It takes a lot in today’s highly competitive business school environment to use digital to help grow enrollments, rather than what is often loosely termed “brand presence.” There was little data presented at the conference about how an increase in impressions or clicks translates into enrollment growth (which at most institutions is the ultimate goal of digital recruiting efforts). This type of tracking requires a highly calibrated marketing and enrollment funnel that tracks prospects from initial search through to application and matriculation. Below are three observations and ideas that were not part of the conversations we heard at the AMA Higher Ed conference, but are critically important components to leverage digital to strategically drive enrollment growth.

PPC, SEO, and social media are not “strategies,” they are tactics– Based on our experience working in higher education and ongoing market observations, approximately 90% of all of the institutions are doing just that – the same thing. Sure, you need a nice website, strong pay-per-click advertising campaigns, and search engine optimization, but what you really need is a strategy. Most institutions are only competing on the tactical level, thus significantly limiting the opportunity to really leverage the power of an integrated digital marketing strategy.

Digital is not a “magic pill,” but can help you capture market share –Yes, 97% of all prospective students start searching for college, university, and business school programs online, but there are limitations to the impact digital marketing can have on enrollment. First and foremost, you should understand the market demand for your programs – how many people are actually searching for programs like yours, how many choices do they have, and what percentage of the market are you currently capturing? If there isn’t any market demand, or the market demand is shrinking for programs like yours, then digital marketing can’t help grow the market.

Consumers are changing much faster than you can, so you need to respond in real-time– Higher education institutions are notoriously slow which significantly limits the impact they can have through digital efforts. Updating a website page can take weeks, realizing your tracking code isn’t working can take days to discover and often longer to fix, and if your campaigns aren’t managed daily, then you are likely missing valuable marketing opportunities. The power of digital marketing rests in the insights you can derive and respond to in real-time. If you aren’t iterating, adapting, and evolving, it is likely your competition will get ahead of you. There is no end to digital marketing – to truly manage a digital strategy is a substantial internal commitment for an institution. Not only does it take time, it also takes expertise, and a commitment to keep up on how the digital landscape is evolving. This is why Eduvantis Digital offers services to support, enhance, and increasingly act as your internal digital team to help you get – and stay – at the forefront of digital marketing.

The Eduvantis Digital team enjoyed the engaging conversations at the AMA Higher Ed conference and we look forward to continuing the dialogue about how to effectively leverage digital marketing to drive enrollment growth for your programs.

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Grant SabatierGetting Real About Digital Marketing in Higher Education