July 11

Leveraging Curiosity and Innovation in Higher Ed Marketing

Blog

In today’s fast-paced world, innovation in higher ed marketing is an essential trait for a successful marketing team. 

Unfortunately, higher education has been known for its slower pace of adoption and for often resisting change. 

But with approaching headwinds of challenges like the enrollment cliff, the disruption of generative AI, the negative public perception of higher ed, and competition with outside players (Google, Amazon, etc.), it’s more critical than ever to remain innovative.  

That’s why many institutions are turning to partners like Ologie, a higher ed branding agency that helps schools by leveraging their most important asset — curiosity.

Fernando Bergás-Coria Fernando Bergás-Coria, Ologie’s Chief Digital and Media Officer, joins us on The Higher Ed Marketer podcast to share how Ologie is helping schools optimize their marketing efforts through a lens of renewed professional growth and innovation in higher ed marketing strategies. 

Fernando’s journey is as unique as it is inspiring. Born in Argentina and immigrating to Ohio in 1999, he brings a fresh perspective to the table, having not followed the traditional path of higher education himself. 

This unconventional background fuels his innovative approach at Ologie, where he leverages curiosity and entrepreneurial creativity to drive impactful marketing strategies.

Embracing Curiosity for Professional Growth

Curiosity is more than just a trait; it’s a critical driver of professional growth and innovation. 

In our conversation, Fernando emphasizes the importance of being “biased toward action,” a concept he explores in Napoleon Hill’s book Think and Grow Rich.

He believes in making quick decisions, learning from them, and continuously evolving.

But the whole time [the concepts covered in this book] just centered around this idea of doing things and making decisions quickly and then learning from [the results]. 

I’m going to lean on that train. I’m going to lean on the train of being a “bias toward action” person and how much fun that can be when you have the freedom to explore the mistakes that come with it.

In that way, everything became a classroom. Essentially, every experience is an opportunity to learn and grow. 

This mindset has been integral to Fernando’s role at Ologie, fostering a culture of curiosity and innovation.

Integrating AI and New Technologies

One of the key areas Fernando is passionate about is the integration of new technologies, particularly AI, into higher education marketing. 

He acknowledges the initial fear and uncertainty that come with new technologies but stresses the importance of staying curious and experimental.

The way that some of the news about innovative AI technology is delivered (because it’s driven ultimately by clicks and attention) can give you this feeling of [everything is] out of your control. 

[But] the fact [is] that an AI can only learn what is inputted into the systems. 

As long as we are the ones driving that conveyor belt, we can leverage it to become an incredibly powerful tool… or we can use it to make funny photos. 

Right now, I think a lot of the focus is on how to play with it. I am excited about the opportunity of implementing it into work [that has the potential to create errors] so that we can learn from it.

At Ologie, this approach means not just playing with AI but implementing it to create more effective and personalized marketing campaigns. 

Fernando’s enthusiasm for AI is palpable, as he sees it as a tool that can help marketers do more complex and meaningful work.

Personalization and Audience Segmentation

Personalization is at the heart of Fernando’s marketing strategies. 

By leveraging data and audience segmentation, Ologie creates tailored messaging that resonates deeply with prospective students and their families.

[Personalization] is essential and elementary.

Segmentation is going to allow us to have a personalized approach, to speak directly to that prospect or that group [by considering] their preferences [and] pain points. By default, that is going to improve the engagement rates that we’re looking for. 

But [the most important question that segmentation affects] is how do we allocate resources? How do we know where the dollars and minutes should be spent first? 

That’s where a lot of institutions begin to have decision paralysis. All these markets, all these different audiences, all these different opportunities—and then it just got away from you! 

Segmentation allows you a lot of freedom by creating some constraints to work within.

Humanizing Data

A standout concept from our conversation was Fernando’s emphasis on “humanizing data.” 

In an industry often bogged down by numbers and analytics, Fernando advocates for understanding the human stories behind the data.

How do we turn and humanize that data so that we can do something with it? [When we humanize our data, we can] optimize what’s right. Not everything has to be changed every three months just because the schedule says that it should! 

If something is working tremendously, lean into it more. 

None of [our strategic or tactical decisions] are permanent. If we are not open to the idea of all of this working today, failing tomorrow, and us having to change, then I don’t think that we win. 

Humanizing data means that we must go beyond mere analysis and box checking.

Of course, there’s some analysis that needs to happen. 

Yet at the same time, if we just check boxes to prove that we looked at the data and that we tweaked a couple of the dials on what we’re doing, then we’re not really moving the needle.

If we’re not taking that data and then really looking at it from a humanization standpoint, then we will fail to see what the data is telling us about the people behind the data. 

What does that tell us about the students, about the parents, about the audience? What are we going to do with that? 

A lot of us love digging into the data. 

But if all we’re doing is digging into the data and not humanizing it, then we’re missing a great opportunity.

The Importance of Innovation in Higher Ed Marketing

Fernando’s insights remind us of the importance of curiosity and innovation in higher education marketing. 

By embracing new technologies, personalizing messaging, and humanizing data, marketers can create impactful campaigns that resonate with their audiences.

For more insights, listen to the full episode with Fernando Bergás-Coria and explore how curiosity and innovation can transform your higher ed marketing strategies, including:

  • How higher ed red tape stunts new ways of thinking
  • A tactical approach to segmentation and personalization
  • 4 buckets for optimizing enrollment marketing outcomes

Innovating Your Content Marketing Strategy

Need to elevate your higher education marketing efforts with a robust content strategy? 

At Caylor Solutions, we specialize in the creation and distribution of valuable, relevant, and consistent content designed to attract and retain your target audience.

Our Content Strategy and Marketing service is crafted to help your institution stand out in the crowded digital landscape. 

Contact us today to learn more about how our expert team can help you create a content strategy that drives engagement, boosts enrollment, and strengthens your education brand. 


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Featured image by Sergey Nivens via Adobe Stock

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