Technology will change the way universities and vocational schools get students
We have been in conversations for many years now with Higher Education Centers and Universities about CRM, educational technology (Edtech), content, and other challenges related to their operational and IT processes. Each center has different needs, but lately in our conversations, they all have been talking about two topics we found worth mentioning here:
1. The use or activation of data to increase enrollment sale.
2. The program approach under the umbrella of Lifelong Learning (LLL).
The classic conversion model of ''word of mouth, form, group visit, individual, enrollment'' is quite outdated since all types of students (undergraduate, postgraduate, alumni, corporate, etc.) seek online and are advised by multiple online sources during their process to choose their study. Universities and educational centers are not comfortable in this field, which requires certain CRM infrastructure and, above all, data-driven marketing.
LLL is a great opportunity for universities and higher education centers. Birth curves in Spain have a very negative effect on degrees and immediately on postgraduate education (in 10 years the number of students reduced to half). However, the longevity of professional life and technological changes trigger the need to learn new skills and transform professionally several times in life. A long-term or continuous training opportunity opens.
This situation requires shorter, professionally compatible and highly focused programs. These programs require an impactful online method that pairs with the learning process. Above all, they must provide a truly memorable and differential face-to-face experience.
Although the opportunity in LLL very much exists, most centers are not prepared: neither technologically, nor at the pedagogical and content level. Those who actually are, present another pain point - they don't build the student journey well. The roots may lie in us coming from an e-learning model that was thought to reduce cost not to have good learning experiences. Therefore, we anticipate it is necessary to review, adapt and reconstruct the learning journey from the students' point of view and not the university's.
The user experience or CX really encompasses the experience within digital campuses and also abroad. Students will increasingly communicate with each other, with the tutors, and the school through learning experience platforms or known as LXP. The challenge here still remains how to differentiate your business, and excel at teaching and online energizing.
Data-driven marketing is necessary to detect and manage sales opportunities, and to create new programs. Not to misinterpret it as an equivalent to having a CRM system, and be done with it.
It's more than that. It is necessary to have a CRM to manage both marketing and sales funnel, but it is also about taking advantage of all the systems where we have interaction with current, potential and alumni students to detect the opportunity of new programs ("jobs to do" in the marketing jargon) and new sales opportunities.
Two reasons why:
1. It is about attracting your “buyer student” and other “buyers to your conversion funnel”: It is not so much the seller that sells, but the buyer that buys. Today the groups of potential students are scattered between 18 and 65 years old, and we also have the opportunity to attract students from almost anywhere in the world. Each age and professional group “leaves traces” in different places and in different ways. In addition to "standard" students, we have professional groups, student parents, and companies. Nowadays, whether your funnel is "old school", or "inbound marketing" or both, you must make sure that internet traffic goes to your funnel:
2. The information is scattered, and it is mostly not in your system, but in your private and social networks, as well as in blogs, forums etc...
To ''activate data'' is not an easy task, it requires source integration, and marketing automation (campus, administration, alumni, web, social networks, etc.). But of course, just taking the step of knowing why those who buy do so, and why those who don't don’t is a big step. In addition, knowing what they see on our website, what they are interested in and what they see from other universities, is also something of great value for our inbound marketing.
Back to basics! It must be clear what our marketing objective is and what role data-driven marketing plays in the marketing plan:
- Publicize your center and your programs.
- Make the potential student understand that they must progress or transform/reorient their professional career.
- Connect these programs as a solution to professional career problems that the potential student knows they have.
- Convince that your center is the best option to solve their deficiencies and to access new professional challenges.
Author: Carles Roca