If there’s one word that describes this year’s AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education, it’s student-centric. This reflects a fundamental shift in the way higher education institutions are starting to approach marketing.
Traditionally, higher education marketers focused on the question, “How do we increase enrollment?” But as changing technology and trends in student behavior drive yield rates down across the board, the new question is, “How do we engage students and meet their expectations so they enroll?”
Here are some key learnings from the conference that offer insight into the evolving landscape of the higher education industry:
1: High school sophomores are on the rise.
High school students are engaging with colleges and universities earlier than ever before, especially during their sophomore year. This creates a unique opportunity to reach students sooner and build a relationship with them throughout their high school career — keeping your school top-of-mind when the time comes to make their college decision.
2. Institutions need to be where the students are.
To connect with students when and where they want to hear from you, higher education institutions need to forget about conventional marketing strategies and start experimenting with additional channels. Utilizing non-traditional channels like live chat, mobile apps, SMS messaging and more can help you get in front of students and meet their expectations.
3. Parents want to be engaged, too.
While marketing efforts should be mainly student-focused, it’s important to not forget about parents. In many cases, parents are actually completing applications for their children, making it essential to engage parents as well as students.
4. Marketing alignment is critical.
With the rise of integrated marketing, ensuring alignment between marketing, communications and digital teams is more important than ever. For many colleges and universities, these teams are buried in the enrollment, finance or advancement offices, without a centralized structure reporting to key decision makers. While there are pros and cons to both centralized and decentralized models, a centralized approach makes it easier to ensure brand consistency, clearly define roles, contain costs and maintain best practices.
Learn more and see how your yield rate stacks up against similar institutions with Fathom’s Yield Rate Analyzer.