A partnership with a higher ed marketing agency could be the difference maker in the future outlook of your college or university.
How so? Well, let’s check the numbers.
In 2019, American higher ed institutions collectively spent $2.2 billion on marketing, and it’s only accelerated since the start of the pandemic.
And with good reason — a late 2023 Fitch Ratings study revealed that schools that lack “strong brands” are likely to suffer significant student decline as we cross the enrollment cliff.
Now’s the time for your institution to refine its unique selling proposition. Here’s how a collaboration with a higher ed marketing agency can help you do it.
Expand Your Marketing Perspective Beyond Your School’s Walls
When you partner with a higher ed marketing agency, you’re not just hiring a service. You’re accessing a repository of knowledge about what is actively working on other campuses.
A wider perspective can illuminate your own marketing strategies, offering comparative insights and a broader understanding that’s difficult to gauge on an insular level.
Higher ed marketing is not one-size-fits-all. What worked for the competition may not work for you.
But once you’ve defined your target audience, an agency can bring their experience to bear and determine what tactics will work for you using these metrics:
- Case Studies and Benchmarking: Higher ed marketing agencies often bring a vault of case studies that reveal how similar institutions have overcome challenges and achieved their goals.
- Competitive Analysis: They can offer a thorough analysis of competitors, identifying what others in your space are doing well and where there are gaps that your institution can fill. For example, if competitor analysis reveals a gap in digital content marketing among peer institutions, you could seize the opportunity to be the authority in this space.
- Cross-Campus Insights: Agencies work with a variety of educational institutions, allowing them to cross-pollinate ideas. What worked for a larger medical school in terms of student engagement, such as targeted emotive storytelling, could be adapted and scaled down for a smaller college setting.
- Emerging Trends: Staying on top of trends is vital. An agency can help you identify and act on emerging trends, ensuring your institution remains at the cutting edge of innovation.
In short, a higher ed marketing agency will work with you to find the gaps in your enrollment marketing strategy.
A Higher Ed Marketing Agency Will Augment Your In-House Team
Your in-house team is the heartbeat of your institution’s marketing efforts, but even the most talented teams have limits in bandwidth and expertise.
This potential shortfall is where an agency becomes an indispensable ally.
Agencies bring a collection of people with specialized skills that might be underrepresented or absent in your current team. From content strategists to analytics gurus, the agency can fill these gaps efficiently.
An agency partnership also allows for scalable solutions. Especially during peak recruitment seasons or major campaign rollouts, an agency can provide the extra hands needed without the long-term commitment of hiring more staff.
Finally, this collaboration of ideas and techniques not only benefits the immediate project at hand but also contributes to the long-term skill growth of your staff.
Infuse New Ideas and a Fresh Direction
As I write this, OpenAI’s revolutionary AI-infused chatbot ChatGPT is nearing its first birthday, and I’ve dedicated a lot of time to researching and testing quite a few AI tools since its launch.
Don’t worry, marketers — the machines aren’t replacing you. Rather, these tools can exponentially elevate your team’s capabilities, and a higher ed marketing agency with experience using them can help you get to that level.
But innovation isn’t exclusive to AI platforms. Sometimes, you have to think bigger when it comes to fresh solutions, such as:
- Creative Campaigns: Higher ed marketing agencies are adept at spotting cultural shifts in student interests, translating these into campaigns that speak directly to your audience’s values.
- Strategic Refresh: An agency can help you realign your brand and messaging with the evolving expectations of prospective students, alumni, and donors.
- Cross-Platform Integration: In today’s multichannel world, consistency is key. A marketing agency can orchestrate cross-platform initiatives, ensuring your message is coherent on social media, through email campaigns, or other digital platforms.
A Higher Ed Marketing Agency Can Give You Access to Best Practices
When I talk about best practices in higher ed, I don’t mean theoretical concepts. I’m talking about tried-and-true tactics backed by data-informed results:
- Analytics and Data-Informed Decision Making: Agencies bring sophisticated analytics tools and expertise, allowing your institution to make informed decisions based on comprehensive data analysis.
- SEO and Content Marketing: Agencies will implement SEO best practices to increase your institution’s visibility online. By creating high-quality, SEO-optimized content, they can help improve your organic search rankings and attract more prospective students to your site.
- Social Media Expertise: Agencies can help navigate the most relevant platforms and strategies for engaging with your student body, alumni, and potential donors.
A higher ed marketing agency can help ensure that your strategies adhere to the highest industry standards, whether it’s in web design, content creation, or social media outreach.
They stay abreast of the latest guidelines and algorithm updates to keep your marketing efforts compliant and optimized.
Your School Deserves a Fighting Chance
By aligning with a higher ed marketing agency, you’re not just keeping pace with your competitors. You’re adopting a forward-thinking approach that places your institution at the forefront of innovation in higher education marketing.
You gain access to a suite of best practices that can transform your marketing initiatives, ensuring they are effective, efficient, and poised for success.
For colleges and universities looking to elevate their marketing game, a strategic alliance with a higher ed marketing agency can be a game-changer.
We’d love to be that partner to walk into the arena with you. Reach out today, and let’s chat about how the Caylor Solutions team can help you propel your school forward.
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