A Porsche with No KeysMusings from TargetX Symposium18

A few weeks ago, my colleague, Sabra Fiala, and I had the pleasure of “working” the Stamats booth at the TargetX Symposium in Nashville. During that time, we were very gratified to see that more and more higher ed marketers are realizing that building demand for colleges and programs begins with awareness (top of funnel) and that it’s the mid- and end of funnel interactions that seal the deal.

At the same time, we felt a very real sense of frustration among the TargetX users at the conference. One woman we spoke with captured it very succinctly, “We have this powerful and expensive new tool, but we’ve really just overlaid our old communications plan over it. We only taking advantage of about 10% of what TargetX can do for us.” Sabra said it with a bit more color, “It’s like having a brand new Porsche parked in the driveway, but not having the keys to take it anywhere!” You can imagine their surprise and delight when we showed them the communications sequence maps we’ve created for clients like Cornell College of Business, D’Youville College, and hundreds of others.

Having a workhorse CRM is only the first step to creating a program to build brand preference, and ultimately enrollment, for your college or university. It can give you the power to turn visitors and inquirers into qualified leads, applicants, and enrolled students, but only if it’s driven by a real demand generation strategy. You’ll need to be able to answer questions such as:

  1. Who are my ideal prospects and how do I find them?
  2. What will motivate my prospects to respond to my outbound messaging?
  3. How to we encourage prospects to give their contact information?
  4. How do we judge when a prospect becomes a qualified lead?
  5. Is one prospect more “important” than another, and how do we know?
  6. What is admissions’ role in the process? When does a marketing qualified lead become an enrollment qualified lead?
  7. What kinds of communications—When? What channel? What medium? What content? — will move a prospective student from point A to point B in the enrollment journey?
  8. How do we deal with first source (aka stealth) applicants?
  9. What kinds of metrics are truly meaningful? How do we track, measure, and analyze results?
  10. How do we build continual improvement into our enrollment communications program, and respond quickly to changing market conditions?

Start by documenting your current inquiry communication flow. There’s a good chance that you’ll see the issues immediately. Transactions vs. nurturing. Redundant messaging. Off-brand tone and manner. Is it any wonder that your funnel is leaking?

If you’re ready to take your CRM out for a real drive, talk to us about building out your lead generation strategy. We’ll give you the keys you need to rev up your yield.

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