2018 Lead Generation & Recruitment Predictions & Tips
Jan 06, 2018
Back in 2016, I wrote ‘Student Retention Tips for 2016’ that still garners a great deal of interest and discussion – so for 2018 I wanted to focus on lead generation and recruitment efforts. Let me know what you think…
The foundation for these “predictions” is that most colleges and universities are trying to get more done with fewer resources (human, financial, technology). Which means the focus is more on “working smarter” rather than tossing more resources at an issue or working harder.
This also includes program and service strategy, pricing strategy, modality strategy – so there isn’t a lot of the more typical “more colleges are going to start using AR/IR/VR in their recruitment efforts” because, to be really honest, that is a huge waste of your resources if you aren’t offering the right programs and services, via the right modality and at the right prices for your target audience.
Alright, off my soap box…here we go…
What do we have and how can we leverage it? For many colleges, collecting and storing data isn’t an issue – doing something with it that drives informed decisions and improved performance is the challenge. In 2018, we expect more institutions to start off here and ask this basic question, so they at least know what they have and start formulating ways to use it to drive greater success.
Once they realize what data they have, and start identifying ways to leverage it, they will also realize they lack some key data – and that will drive actions to gather that additional data. This is going to be extremely important for the adult/post-traditional student audience because so many colleges have designed forms (online and on paper) for traditional students and their parents. Creating ways to ask and capture the information that’s most important for a very different segment is critical.
Market intelligence programs start and evolve.
Typically, when people talk ‘data’, the focus is on internal data and issues – what type of people enroll in and graduate from our programs? Can we identify factors that may be impacting student attrition? Or how can we determine if we’re getting a positive return on our investment into X?
Market intelligence programs are focused on external factors – the competition, the market in terms of potential opportunities or threats emanating from government, economy, environment, society or technology.
We expect market intelligence program will become more formalized so that there is a steady stream of relevant data from quality sources being collected and analyzed, resulting in greater overall success in the near and long-term.
Because this will help drive your program and services strategy, pricing, modality and promotional strategies by answering key questions such as:
- What program should we offer and what should the learning outcomes be for the graduates so that employers are more likely to hire them?
- Should we develop degree programs or certificate/certification programs?
- Should we develop online, classroom, hybrid, competency-based curriculum for these programs?
- What can we do about pricing that provides unique value for our audience when compared to what the competition is doing?
You get the point.
Written plans and processes.
Efficiency and effectiveness will be the mantras for those institutions achieving their goals. And to be efficient and effective, you need a written plan and processes so that everyone knows what they need to do, when, how and why. This will drive management to the plan/process so it’s easier to identify opportunities for improvement.
On this same topic, phrases like “…we’ve always done it this way…” will disappear from many institutions.
Budgets tied to goals, objectives, strategies and tactics.
Many are going to realize that a budget that’s not tied to goals, objectives, strategies and tactics is killing them.
Because they will realize that when staff has things to do but no resources to do it, those things don’t get done properly, if at all.
For more on this subject, check out “Why Colleges Are Failing to Achieve Adult Enrollment Goals”
“Cost control” will kill some colleges.
‘Cost control’ has been tossed around for years but the problem is that it has several different meanings which means a lot of conversations on this topic have bene ineffective, if not damaging.
Cost control is a term that the successful will define as “…making sure our investments are wisely made…” while those less successful will continue to define as “…we don’t have the budget for that…”
The successful use data to make informed decisions, the less successful will ignore data.
Lots of money has been spent on tech in higher education – but in 2018, more institutions will realize that spending all that money on technology but failing to leverage the technology is unacceptable. Therefore, in 2018, the successful institutions will invest a little more in training staff so that the staff can quickly, efficiently leverage all the features/benefits the tech offers.
Community partnerships will drive near and long-term success.
Institutions that work with corporations, government agencies and non-profits to identify opportunities so they can develop and offer programs and services, at the right price via the proper modality and promotion will flourish in 2018.
This new year will be a time of great progress and successes both small and large for those institutions that realize that data-driven decisions will drive better results and that better results lead to a longer, happier, healthier life span.
So, what do you think?
Patrick McGraw is VP of Higher Educaton Marketing Services and has more than 25 years experience in market research, competitive intelligence, business intelligence including database marketing and CRM, strategic planning, brand development and management as well as operations/campaign management. His work has consistently helped his clients and employers develop and implement more efficient ways to attract and retain profitable customers, enter new markets and launch new products. His areas of focus include the education, hospitality, travel and tourism, hi-tech, telecommunications, financial services, and retail industries on both the agency and customer sides.