Data-First Marketing Approach

At the peak of its popularity, the New York Times wrote an article on student search. That was 2006. Since then, digital marketing has surpassed buying names as the top marketing strategy.

Google SearchTtrends for 2006-2019

Student Search in Blue vs. Digital Marketing in Red

In other words, buying names and marketing to those names was the strategy of the 2000s, but the 2010s is the era of digital marketing.

Implications of Rising Popularity

One of the biggest struggles in shifting from buying names to a digital strategy is figuring out who you should be marketing to. Previously, admissions would have a list of students and know that was their market. However, spending thousands of dollars buying names doesn’t guarantee those names turn into applicants.

This statement is particularly true with the high number of stealth applicants. 33% of your applications are stealth, and that number is only increasing. It is becoming more difficult to prove ROI in buying names.

Even if you could prove the dollars spent on student search valuable, with the buzz around data protection via GDPR and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), we predict soon you won’t be able to buy names anymore. All this is to say, how you find your market needs to change if it hasn’t already.

The shift is to a data-focused marketing approach.

The Purpose of Data

A data-focused marketing approach means you use it continuously and cyclically. Firstly, it should provide insights into who to target and why. Secondly, it should be used to validate if you are targeting the right group of students for the right reasons. As the data changes, so should your strategy. This part is critical- if you don’t have insights on who to target, you risk wasting spend by targeting the wrong students. It’s about more than knowing you have to update the data; it’s about knowing what data to update.

Important Questions to Ask:

  • Who are you targeting?
  • Why you’re targeting them?
  • Are you creating the right type of content for your target market?

The Future of Marketing

A data-first approach is the future of marketing. This isn’t news. You know you need data, but don’t know what the right type of data is to inform your strategy. Buying the YouVisit Platform gives insights into students from our proprietary data network. With the help of our client success team, we find the right insights to inform your strategy. We have the data and the expertise to help you achieve your recruitment and enrollment goals.