- More than 3/4 — 77% — of higher ed institutions fall below what is considered successful use of digital analysis tools, which a University Business article laments as a huge missed opportunity, given the ease with which digital marketing efforts can be measured.
- Of the schools aligning strategic goals with institutional goals (64%), only half of these campuses define metrics of success within their primary objectives. And more than half of surveyed institutions report having a defined plan for operational marketing decisions.
- The author says a lack of expertise and time are the biggest obstacles for institutions looking to crate digital marketing processes to help bridge assessment of social media and communications outreach.
Even if digital marketing was a common practice among most colleges and universities in recruitment and development support, the strategies and technologies used for it change so often that approaches could be obsolete by the time marketing teams research and implement them. So it is not surprising that there are gaps between where colleges are in their strategies and where they ought to be, but the survey does add to the conversation of how campuses can be more active in launching and using marketing and analytics tools.
First, it underscores the need for schools to consider digital marketing as a primary resource to reach students and to showcase programs of strength. Wichita State University doubled enrollment in its online degree programs with the strategic use of Google Adwords and key geo-targeted search terms. Nearly all programs, online and on-campus, can use geo-targeting to promote programs which meet regional industry and workforce needs.
But in measuring the effectiveness of marketing and analytics initiatives, colleges should also be conscious of the kinds of data they are looking to mine beyond views and clicks, and perhaps even applications. Is application diversity increasing with certain campaigns? Are certain geographic areas more active with certain campaigns? And how can colleges leverage this kind of engagement with prospective students into partnerships with corporate or industrial outlets? These are the kinds of questions colleges should answer to help in curating the information they gather, and discovering how it can be used beyond institutional research.