Deliver Like Disney: Omni-Channel Marketing for Student Recruitment
Omni-channel marketing can significantly improve student recruitment efforts. In fact, it is becoming increasingly necessary to keep up with the expectations of today’s prospective students.
In this webcast, experts from Liaison discussed how to transform a recruitment strategy into one that delivers, using some of the omni-channel marketing tactics that world-class companies like Disney utilize so effectively.
President, EMP Division
Suzanne Sharp, Ed.D.
Executive Director for Enrollment Management Consulting
Scott Mallen: What is omni-channel marketing? Modern buying decisions are researched and made across a wide variety of platforms and channels: click-through email, websites, a store, digital marketing, text, mail. Add to that all the different social media platforms that allow you to create ongoing relationships with your customers. So you have many channels, and they’re all connected.
How does this relate to higher education marketing? You have prospects. You might be emailing them, inviting them to inquire about your university or sending them various print materials—and it’s all personalized. Using the personalized information that you gained from the email and from their interactions with you, for example, you could offer them a customized microsite through which you’ll invite them to more events and collect more information.
You might have a text conversation or send reminders about an event. You might be doing mobile marketing, targeting a certain geographic area and collecting information on anyone with a cell phone. Maybe you’re also doing search engine optimization or social media marketing. You might have rep interactions. And with all of this, you have to ensure that you’re sending a cohesive and brand-consistent message across all of these different platforms.
What are the keys to omni-channel marketing? For successful campaigns, marketing must be:
- Immediate: Offer an immediate response to a question.
- Relevant: Send a response that’s tailored to the individual inquiry.
- Automated: Leverage automation to ensure that your response can be issued at any time, not just 9-5 on weekdays.
- Trackable: Maximize your efforts by tracking results and responses across each of your many marketing channels.
To be done effectively, all this needs to be centralized onto one platform.
Suzanne Sharp: [When I was in vice president of strategic enrollment management at Stephens College], we had a single system that allowed us to use multiple channels. It became omni-channel outreach. And this was before some of the other channels were readily available.
After putting all of this together, we had a better experience for the customers and better brand recognition, and everything was trackable. The team loved it. They had a lot of fun looking at what was happening so that they could follow up accordingly, and include trackable features.
“Marketing must offer an immediate response to a question, send a response that’s tailored to the individual inquiry, leverage automation so your response can be issued at any time, and track results and responses across your marketing channels.”
The viewbook was our first project. We asked prospective students a question that got their attention: “Do you want to bring a pet to campus?” If they said, “yes,” we proceeded to ask: “Great; what kind of pet do you have?” And then we asked: “What is your pet’s name?” All of that helped us get to know them. Of course, we asked the normal things, including: “Do you want to play a sport?” and “What is your major interest?” But this is what stood out.
For the student who said, “Yes, I want to bring a pet. I want to bring a bird. My bird’s name is Charlie,” that student got a little insert in the viewbook. For the students who said, “no,” we didn’t ask any other questions about pets. In fact, we had a general blurb about Pet Central and a blurb about getting involved on campus. They did not get the pet message. This marketing is customizable for each student. For the viewbook project, each student got a message that grabbed their attention, and they knew that something different was happening at this school.
The proof is in the numbers. In our first year of using the enrollment marketing platform and omni-channel marketing, we saw great results.
In just one year, inquiries were up and apps were up, and, of course, the real telltale sign of success is that deposit students were up as well. So the all-in-one system and omni-channel made a difference.
To watch this web seminar in its entirety, please visit UBmag.me/ws072319