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Recruiting Intelligence

The Power of List Segmentation Part II: What's Motivation Got To Do With It?

Last week’s blog post kicked off our mini-series on audience segmentation with a discussion on segmentation by demographics, geography and interests. This week we will delve into models for identifying underlying student motivations and how to make use of this data for your international student recruiting.

Psychographic segmentation identifies unique groups of students with shared motivations and desires in order to help you, as a recruiter, discover what drives them to enroll at your institution. Student's don't just show up on your doorstep. They must be motivated to seek out your institution, out of all your competition. 

Here's an interesting audience segment: 50% of Nafsan's think that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will change Higher Education but they don't know how. We aim to fix that! Intead Plus Members will have access to an exclusive webinar about AI and Higher Ed on Thursday, March 28, 2019 at 1 pm. Not an Intead Plus Member and still want in? We might know some people at the door! Drop us an email.

The market segments we discuss below are common to most student groups no matter their geographic origins. Yet, each segment will respond more or less to different influencers, based on what part of the globe they come from.

There are so many ways to parse the data. No wonder so few institutions take the time to implement this granular approach to marketing. You know other industries, including clothing retailers, are doing this stuff with their digital marketing. it's not that hard to do. But it takes time.

Retailers use CRM platforms and employ small teams of people to write copy and develop marketing approaches for each clothing line based on audience segmentation. They commit the resources to meet each audience segment with the right information, at the right time, to help them make an informed decision about a purchase. Although the service your institution provides differs wildly from the offerings of any retailer, the granular level of segmentation is relevant and applicable to your specific academic programs and the audience segments you are approaching for each one. 

Bottom Line: We certainly see parallels with how retailers and universities can communicate their offerings to audience segments and cross sell (students interested in this program also pursued interests in these areas...). What we don’t see is a parallel commitment of resources. Academics are so often strained by budgets and limited resources, but the reality is that those committed to growth and success commit funds to reaching the right audience with the right information.

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The Power of List Segmentation Part I: Are you already doing this?

Creativity is essential in our field, and today we talk about how to apply that creativity to the right leads. In fact, we are going to give you plenty of details over the next few weeks on the power of segmentation as you recruit international students. (ProTip: you may want to share this 3-part series with a few key colleagues responsible for your recruiting - domestic and international.) 

When we talk about segmenting your audience, it is critical that you understand your institution's differentiators. Our recent blog post on getting creative about differentiation really resonated with our readers. Did you catch that one? (Read it here).

Bottom Line: by segmenting your international student leads based on geography, academic interest, TOEFL scores and other demographic information, your creative content will engage in a way that stands out from the competitive crowd.

But wait, there's more!

This post is going to take you into an important set of segmentation processes and parameters. A very important one, lead scoring, will be addressed later in this 3-part series on audience segmentation. You and your team won't want to miss any of these posts.

Come see us present at the TABS Global Symposium on April 28-30 in Newport, RI, and we can talk all about the digital marketing we love so much!

Here's the thing: You are going to need some help to do this kind of work. You need the tools and the skills to make it work effectively. Don't shy away from that. In a competitive market, your enrollment numbers are going to fall if you are not keeping pace or pulling ahead of your peer institutions. You know this. The headlines have been screaming about enrollment declines for the past three years (and then some).

So fire up the CRM platform that gives you the ability to design flexible landing pages quickly and easily. Pull in that person on your team who knows how to write great content to your different segments. And get ready to recognize the person who knows how to manage lists and track results. You'll need them (or us) to make this process hum.

Read on...

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Geotargeting and Retargeting in Digital Marketing

Working in a recruitment office, we’re willing to bet that you have more on your plate than you can handle. But that’s par for the course, right?

We know it can be difficult to find the time to take advantage of all of the opportunities in front of you. This week, we want to give you a quick overview of two targeted marketing concept that can have a positive impact on your international recruitment initiatives – and how you can make the most of the opportunities they present.

It is likely that your institution already employs some form of geotargeting and retargeting in your online advertising campaigns, but how can you ensure that it’s being done effectively for international recruitment? Let’s dig into these terms and how you can use your audience segmentation to strengthen your approach.

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Competition In Edtech Is Off the Charts

Every time we turn around there is another set of edtech companies showing off their wares. At NACAC, NAFSA and the American Marketing Association’s Higher Ed Group, everyone has a tech solution.

We’ve been watching the rise of edtech and loving the growth and the disruption. From offering new ways of delivering educational content to how we confirm that students are absorbing that content, there are beautiful things happening. And the data being collected is going to help us all improve our education outcomes.


There are more than 15,000 companies in some form of edtech position. And by some estimates more than $50B (likely more) has been invested in making them grow. Some of the names are familiar to you and some are new to all of us.

But everything is not rosy here. All too often, the marketing for these companies shout out “Artificial Intelligence” and “Predictive Modeling,” when they are anything but “intelligent” or “predictive.” If you scratch the surface when you meet them at a conference, you’ll find that their “predictive modeling” is simply filtering their list purchases in sophisticated ways. We're thinking their marketing pitch might be better termed “Artificial Modeling.” To wit, they are selling stuff with no substance.

Intead will be doing a series of posts and webinars with industry leaders addressing edtech in the coming year. We’re excited to shine a light on those that are doing incredible things. As always, our Intead Plus members will get the best stuff from us.

Please read on for a nice summary of the wonderful ways edtech will transform the classroom, our employees, and our lives in the years to come.

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How much to pay commission-based student recruiters?

The agent debate ended a number of years ago for most of us. Sure, there are a few stragglers complaining about the unethical practices out there.

Our view: Every industry has unethical characters. Commission-based recruiters, as a group, have more than their fair share. Basic buyer beware precautions are the rule. Careful vetting and management of your recruiters will keep you from getting burned more than once.

Rather than being asked whether commission-based agents are a valid recruitment channel, we are now consistently asked, “What is the going rate?” And the market is shifting.

Intead and AIRC set out to understand as much as we could from both universities and agents in the current market. We published our report late last year and offered up a well-attended webinar.

Want to learn more about what others are paying their agents and how they are managing those relationships? Our most recent research findings and the webinar recording are just a click away.

Read on…

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To Russia, with Love: Russian Student Recruitment on the Rise

If you are following political news in the U.S., it’s hard not to be thinking about Russia these days. So, it’s no wonder that Russia’s role in the international education community is on our minds, too—including the country’s increasing enrollment draw. You’ve seen us post about the drop in new international student enrollment at U.S. institutions, and the increasing competition represented by China and Canada.

So if you are starting to set your sights on recruiting from a select set of African nations (Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, S. Africa), this is an important blog post for you. "Africa," you say? "I thought we were talking about Russia."

It is a globally connected world and we're here to connect the dots for you. Read on and we'll address Russia’s strengthening enrollment numbers and how that is important to your plans to expand your recruitment efforts in Africa ... so, throw a shot of vodka into your Starbucks cup, and let’s dive in.

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3 Essential Budget Questions: A Framework for Planning

Is it moving forward? At the pace you want? Are you getting where you need to go?

If you are like most institutions, the answer is, “no.”

Or at least, the answer is, “Not as fast and at the level of quality I need and want.” So, here’s the most important question: Why not?

Budgeting for Student Recruitment

The season is upon us and whether you are submitting your budget for approval or evaluating the budget requests others submit to you, we thought we might offer some insight for your process.

Business school professors love to apply the latest 4 square analysis that simplifies complex industry quandaries. The marketing texts (Kotler anyone?) are full of flowcharts and other grids to help you make sense of the 4 Ps (Product, Price, Placement and Promotion). And then there is the ever-elusive ROI analysis.

And the best line of all that sums up our most cynical fears: We will beat the excel spreadsheet into submission until it tells us what we want to hear.

Oh, those budgeting meetings and the spreadsheet assumptions. How often do we go back at the end of the year and take a look at what we projected and what we actually achieved before we approve the next project budget?

Not often enough and usually not with enough of a critical eye.

Sometimes, having outside expertise performing an analysis or assessment of your processes and capacity against your strategic goals can really help move an institution forward. Send us a quick email to learn more about what Intead can do to help.

Download Intead’s 3 Essential Budget Questions – a 1-pager that offers a simplified approach to considering any budget request/evaluation. With this framework for evaluating your plans and whether they merit additional investment, you’ll take those complex quandaries down to a basic starting point to help identify where the opportunities for growth really are. We think you’ll want to share this one widely.

Read on to access the downloadable chart...

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Non-Traditional Students, Public Radio, & You

Ahhh, NPR. What can we say: we’re fans. We’re suckers for Ira Glass’s vocal fry, we still listen to re-runs of Car Talk, and Kai Ryssdal's voice on MarketPlace is always reassuring in volatile times. Yes, we own more than one telethon tote bag.

But the public radio stalwart isn’t simply a source of endless commuting distraction. For the past few months, it’s also become one of our go-to’s for insights into the non-traditional student space, a growing market we’re following closely.

Ready for a new favorite resource to stay on top of your enrollment management game?

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Entrepreneurialism & Era 2.0: The Digital Disruption

This week, Intead Director of Marketing Strategy Patricia Tozzi shares her perspective on all things digital. Fresh off her AIRC conference presentation on using Digital Marketing Tactics to Prompt Student Micro conversions and her ICEF presentation on Design Thinking. Oh, did we mention her instructional role in our full day recruitment strategy pre-conference workshop? Right, well, let's let Patricia tell it.

Insights from Our Director of Marketing Strategy

Last week, I was reading an article about blockchain and a quote caught my eye: so many things need to get built. Just do it ...That’s the entrepreneurial ethic: we see a need or opportunity and we just do it. 

The recurring theme throughout the article that resonated for me was not about blockchain or the varying perspectives around the topic, but rather a shift in outlook and attitude that could change the way we communicate and interact with the world in (what I’m calling) "Era 2.0".

As the world shifts and changes, so too does the way we experience and respond to it. If you keep your eyes and ears open to everything that happens around you, trying to spot opportunities and apply new ideas, then you are an entrepreneur at heart, like me. You are watching the world change at a faster rate than ever before, highlighting an ever-increasing dependence on technology. The question is: What does this mean for higher education and how do we leverage it?

I see this “Era 2.0” as an opportunity to improve the way we communicate with our global audience. 

Read on and I'll share my take. I think you'll find some insights worth sharing...

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Our Top 10 Blog Posts of 2018: Chosen By Readers

Well, 2018 has come and gone—and here at Intead, we’re catching our breath after a busy year of developing academic recruitment plans, creating compelling marketing campaigns, helping clients assess their institutional strategies and international web presence...and, of course, dishing up blog insights week after week. 

We have a feeling you’ve all been awfully busy too—maybe even busy enough to miss some of our most popular posts of the year! So, let’s take a look back at which topics drew the most clicks in the past 12 months. Some are focused on nitty-gritty recruitment tips, some on big picture market trends, and some on finding inspiration in trying times. We are sure there will be at least a few topics in here that will make you think of a particular colleague who just might be able to use those insights. So, we've added a handy "Email this Post" button at the bottom of the page, just for those moments. Read on for links to the year’s Top 10 hits.

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Know Your Neighborhood - Fall 2017
Global Alumni Management for U.S. Institutions