SA’s national education practice executes integrated media campaigns on behalf of a wide range of colleges, universities and preparatory schools. We provide unique solutions to enrollment and communications challenges, and launch campaigns for new degree programs, thought leadership initiatives, capital campaigns, name change campaigns and visibility building programs for deans and professors. Whether we are promoting college, graduate, or online programs, we use cutting edge marketing techniques from programmatic digital buying to text message campaigns to hyper-targeted media relations, to rankings improvement campaigns.
Our goal is to surround our prospective audience, whether they are students, parents, education influencers, guidance counselors or the media, with relevant messages about a school that resonates specifically with each audience. Our student iGeneration marketing audits and integrated media campaigns, (geared toward digital natives born with an iPhone in their hands after 1994) reach students who no longer respond to traditional marketing. As the enrollment and communications landscape changes, SA keeps our clients a step ahead through research about what the iGeneration expects in terms of digital marketing, communications and relationship management.
While we’ve learned there are no simple solutions to solving complex enrollment marketing and communications challenges, there are creative, practical and measureable ways to increase applications, impact yield and lessen melt. With all of the work that we do in the education space, it’s no surprise that we have expanded our client base to include other product and service providers in the education space, for whom we develop integrated media, thought leadership and content campaigns to impact visibility and sales.
Some of our services in education include:
- Launching new programs, capital campaigns, buildings, name changes, programs, professors, awards, grants discoveries and intellectual property
- Crafting enrollment marketing campaigns
- Implementing program launches
- Building digital brands and social communities
- Sourcing experts for thought leadership
- Leveraging integrated media and content marketing to generate media coverage
- Creating social media ecosytems for multi campus colleges (college with multiple campus locations)
- Developing and managing online communities
- Creating traditional and digital advertising campaigns
- Implementing crisis communications and management campaigns on the ground and in cyberspace
- Organizing digital and social media audits
- Conducting iGeneration readiness assessments for enrollment marketing
- Creating experiential programs to bring a school to various constituents through mobile marketing, digital streaming, web technology or other methods that take the “campus” experience on the road
- Introducing new educational products, books, content portals and other technologies
- Relaunching institutions through a name change or relocation
College Recruitment and Enrollment Plans are Facing a Disruption.
The next generation of college applicants is unlike any other. Smartphone in hand, this interconnected cohort has caused a serious disruption to the strategic enrollment plans of colleges and universities. Dubbed the “iGeneration” by Stefan Pollack, author of Disrupted and SA’s Worldcom Los Angeles partner, digital natives born after 1994 require information on-demand and distrust brands. They prefer to heed the advice of online “friends” and strangers who share their opinions freely on social media platforms. With declining high school graduation rates, changing demographics, increased price sensitivity, government scrutiny and declining relevancy of programs, how do schools appeal to iGens? Colleges and universities have plenty of data about their prospective students, but are they leveraging that information to not only attract – but enroll students?
A recent study conducted by Worldcom Public Relations Group partners Schneider Associates and The Pollack PR Marketing Group revealed that colleges and universities need to be concerned about marketing to a decreasing crop of prospective students who are significantly more critical of and less responsive to traditional marketing tactics. The two-part study consisted of four qualitative focus groups conducted in Boston, New York and Los Angeles and a quantitative online survey of 130 current or recent college applicants. Data indicated that the college admissions landscape is changing and prospective students are dissatisfied with communication efforts attempted by colleges and universities.
Findings from the focus groups include:
- Participants wished that schools would be more aware of them as individuals rather than numbers, instead of bombarding them with generic letters trying to hook them
- Students liked direct outreach from schools via social media (i.e. when schools tweeted at them)
- Students suggested including pictures and interactive features in emails to make them more engaging and effective
- Students would have liked to see social posts coming from current college students at their schools of interest, perhaps linked to the schools’ social media accounts
- Students valued personalized communications, stating that they felt these interactions could provide them with information that was not widely known and was of particular interest to them as individuals
- Students found repeated emails and letters to be annoying, especially when they contained the same information, or after acceptance when they had decided to go elsewhere
Findings from the survey include:
- 92% of current college applicants stated they used social media at least a little during the application process
- 82% of recent college applicants connected with other enrolled students during the application process
- 60% of recent college applicants felt comfortable contacting schools through social media channels
- 60% of recent college applicants were unaware if their school had a mobile app
- 54% of current college applicants who attended tours wished for more follow up from the schools afterwards
- 43% of recent college applicants said personal contact by schools after their acceptance had influenced their decision of where to enroll
University admissions and communications professionals understand they need to reinvigorate their programs to reach iGens, but the question is, which enrollment strategies should be changed and which should be retained? College enrollment departments are under intense pressure to compete for this next generation of students who represent a decreasing population of applicants. Since the admissions process must continually be fed to ensure four years of revenue, this leaves little time to take a step back, explore how to revamp current strategies and reimagine the enrollment process through the eyes of the prospective student.
Our goal is to not reinvent the wheel, but to find moments in time during each institution’s application, acceptance and enrollment process where we can insert new ideas that accomplish strategic goals. Schneider Associates has deep and successful partnerships with some of the country’s leading colleges and universities.
Schneider Associates partners with institutions of higher learning that want to:
- Achieve yield, decrease melt and reach enrollment goals
- Use social media to increase student engagement
- Increase acceptance rate
- Increase out-of-market/full-pay applicants
- Launch and recruit for new undergraduate or graduate programs
- Improve annual rankings
- Build brand awareness
- Promote thought leadership
- Protect reputation from an issue or crisis
- Launch a new brand
Today, colleges and universities benefit from having critical data that can be used to learn about iGens and millennials who represent the target student demographic. Using this data along with our ability to understand and speak to iGens and crack each school’s unique code for positioning and messaging, we can help achieve the mission to solve critical enrollment and communication challenges.
We’re always launching new education ideas. Contact us to find out how we can help launch yours.