How much do you really know about your student prospects? When it comes to making marketing decisions for your college or university's recruitment efforts, what role does data play anyway? (To cite that oft-giffed NBC campaign, it's "the more you know.")

The truth is, data-driven higher education marketing is a must-do for a variety of reasons - here are four of them that will make both your success rates and your bottom line happy.


One of the primary ways you can enhance your marketing efforts to prospective students is through personalization. And the more data you have on your prospects, the more likely you'll be able to narrow down your personalization to a level your target end user will find impressive and engagement-worthy. According to Experian, a personalized email tends to yield as much as six times as many actual conversions. Yet, a Gartner research study found that less than 10 percent of major brands feel they're very effective at doing it. Get ahead of the competition - make what you know about your prospects the best way to prove you care about them.


Discoveries that you make in your data-driven marketing efforts will have ripple effects throughout your university's departments. Demographic information you'll find useful for your targeting efforts, such as particularly active regions, socioeconomic situations or even times of year can be valuable to academic and admissions teams alike. What you discover through your data aggregation efforts can position the university marketing team as a leading resource for targeting the best possible prospects for the next admissions trip or the next departmental direct mail piece.


As a professional in the field of marketing, what's the most difficult thing to prove, particularly in a creative campaign? (Did everyone just saying "ROI" into their screens, probably in a somewhat defeated or exhausted tone?) This is an area in which "customer data" can help you. Your administration wants proof that the targeting you're doing and the marketing decisions your making are backed by proven results. Step one is showing that you're making spending choices based on aggregated data. And it's catching fire - Forbes found that 64 percent of marketing executives feel that data-driven marketing is one of the most important ways to stay competitive.


There's no better way to react and respond effectively and efficiently in a rapid-fire manner when it comes to higher education marketing than with student recruit data. When you have a system or CRM built that tracks behaviors and is either automated to respond or can be quickly fine-tuned to even better meet the needs of valuable prospects, your agility improves. When you aggregate data on your student leads, you know enough about them to determine when it's best to serve an ad, from time of day to platform of choice to content that's relevant.

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