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Enrollment Marketing for Higher Education

Recruitment and marketing are something of a chicken-and-egg situation for meeting enrollment goals. We often think of them as working side by side, but the reality is that they are even more dependent upon each other – more like hand in hand.

Recruitment is the building of a one-on-one relationship with prospective students. It is figuring out what the student wants and why they want it. It is about customer service, overcoming obstacles, networking, and an overall engagement with a prospective student. An admissions recruiter has a job that is both art and skill. It is also a difficult job as all sales jobs are, but it is especially difficult because it’s not “sales at any cost.”

Marketing a college is also not easy. Developing a strategy, platform, plan, messaging – not for the novice. And then, when all that work is done there is the task of communicating to targeted audiences, the part of the marketing efforts that the public sees.

In reality, a college can do a great job of recruiting and a poor job of marketing, or the other way around. A college can have a chicken or an egg, and still feel productive. However, no matter how good your marketing is, enrollments will suffer without excellent recruiting. Enrollments will also suffer with excellent recruiting, but poor marketing. So where do the two hands come together?

Dovetailing admissions recruiting with marketing efforts happens in a variety of spaces:

  • Admissions teams that are armed with marketing messages
  • Admissions teams trained to use the marketing language in casual conversations
  • Communications plans built around what the target audience needs
  • Communications flows that address the issues and obstacles inherent in the admissions and enrollment process
  • Marketing that distinguishes the college from competitors
  • Marketing and admissions with an understanding of the other team’s strengths and challenges
  • Marketing and admissions teams that support the other team’s strengths and challenges
  • Social media initiatives from marketing that support groups and individuals admissions identifies

The goal is for the recruiters and the marketing staff to work as one team. One leadership team that makes decisions collaboratively and two staffs that work hand-in-hand to do their parts in making enrollment goals. We all know silos don’t work, but we don’t realize the benefits of a true collaboration. When these groups collaborate and come together with a common goal the college will benefit with enrollments.

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