July 10

5 Reasons to Invest in Data Management


Today’s higher ed marketers cannot afford to overlook the importance of robust data management.

I’ve worked with several institutions that were drowning in vast oceans of data, from enrollment records to alumni engagement statistics.

And believe me when I say that harnessing the power of this data without a proper data management strategy is borderline impossible.

I’ll give you five compelling reasons why marketing teams at colleges and universities should advocate for and invest in effective data management.

1. Tame Your Data With a CRM

A major challenge facing higher ed marketers is not a lack of data but an absence of effective data management strategies.

Without these strategies in place, all that data is like a library full of books with no system of organization. Finding the book you need when you need it would be almost impossible.

Investing in data management can help schools break down data silos and turn their vast amounts of data into meaningful, actionable information.

In short, you can transform your chaotic data library into a streamlined, organized system that’s easy to navigate.

That’s why an essential tool in this process, and one of the first investments you should make, is a good Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.

A CRM can consolidate your workflow, enabling your institution to leverage personalized data in one place, allowing you to…

2. Unlock Actionable Insights About Prospective Students

The best way to attract and retain students is to understand them on a deep level.

When managed effectively, data offers an invaluable window into prospective students’ behaviors, preferences, and motivations.

That’s something J.P. Spagnolo, former VP of Enrollment and Marketing at Capital University, emphasized in our interview on The Higher Ed Marketer podcast:

“In terms of marketing, there are so many different data points that can help you to be more successful in the type of marketing plans that you create, and in the way you utilize the different [communication channels] with outside audiences.

And so whether that’s understanding how your social media is connecting with the audiences out there, what things seem to be working, what things are not working, in terms of looking at the relevant data to it, or whether you’re looking at other things like finding a way to communicate your scholarships, there’s data that can help support that.”

Robust data management practices can help your institution tap into these valuable insights, fostering stronger, more personalized relationships with potential students.

These relationships are the bedrock of your recruitment and retention efforts, enabling your institution to stand out in the increasingly competitive higher education landscape.

3. Empower a “Data-Guided” Approach

So what exactly do I mean by a “data-guided” approach?

I’m referring to this insightful article from our friends at Invoke Learning, a leader in higher ed data analytics.

They argue that “data-driven” schools continue to lose students because they’ve constrained themselves by approaching data one-dimensionally. Rather than use their data to better understand demographic patterns and evolving trends, they tend to make snap decisions based on small sample sizes.

But a data-guided strategy allows marketers to validate their intuition with data.

That leads to more strategic decision-making and better alignment with your institution’s mission and goals.

And those data-guided observations will be worth their weight in gold as we approach the demographic enrollment cliff.

4. Facilitate Collaboration and Accountability

Data management isn’t just about dealing with numbers. It’s about creating a culture of accountability and collaboration.

How so? Well, consider these words from Tim Bohling, Chief Marketing and Graduate Enrollment Officer at the University of Notre Dame – Mendoza College of Business, in our 2022 interview:

“I refer to the dashboard as the single source of the truth.

Everybody’s opinions are welcomed. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, I welcome it all…

But they are not entitled to their own set of data. We have one single source of the truth – a real-time dashboard.

This has been great because it drives tremendous transparency, accountability, and teamwork.”

Through data management, every team member – from marketers to admissions officers – can gain access to a “single source of the truth.”

Moreover, having a unified view of the data ensures everyone is accountable for their decisions, fostering a culture of transparency and continuous improvement.

And by grounding opinions in data and making the impacts of decisions transparent, you cultivate an environment where team members take ownership of their contributions to your institution’s success.

5. Optimize Your Marketing Spend

As school budgets continue to tighten, making every dollar count is more critical than ever.

A solid data management strategy allows you to measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. You can monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) like conversion rates, bounce rates, and click-through rates, to name just a few.

A well-structured data management system can help you optimize your marketing spend by providing real-time insights into what’s working and what’s not.

That means your institution can pivot quickly, doubling down on successful strategies and adjusting or abandoning less effective ones.

With these data-guided observations, your marketing efforts can be more targeted, strategic, and impactful, ensuring resources are focused where they can make the most difference.

So How Are You Feeling About Your School’s Data Management?

Investing in data management can significantly streamline your higher ed marketing team’s efforts.

After all, collecting data these days is easy — it’s everywhere! But compiling it into usable intel can be an insurmountable challenge without a plan.

Are you ready to harness the power of data for your institution? Our experts are on hand to help you navigate the data deluge and optimize your marketing strategies.

Reach out to Caylor Solutions today, and let’s turn your data into actionable insights that drive success.

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