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Recruiting Intelligence

Marketing Culture. What’s Yours?

We’ve all heard about how company culture eats company strategy for lunch, yeah?

Last week, we wrote about how folks often confuse strategy and tactics. And we gave a little side eye to those colleagues among us who use the word “strategy” to appear smart and make others feel less than.

The cheat sheet on that one: replace the word “strategy” or “strategic” with “different” or “differentiation” and you’ll be able to get to the nub of the discussion topic quickly. Strategy has everything to do with position in the marketplace, which means how you stand out and leverage your differences against the competition. Tactics are all about the marketing tools and channels you use to make your institution’s valuable differences shine, be heard, and understood.

But in academic marketing (and virtually every other operation we can think of), how we achieve our strategic differentiation, how we meet our institutional goals, has everything to do with the team we have to do the work (the team that creates and delivers the product).

An interesting observation here: academic institutions really are all the same, right? Sure, there is R1 and R2, public and private, not-for-profit and for-profit, 4-year and 2-year, but these categorizations, when you get down to it, are not that significant, at least at the undergraduate level, right? They are all producing the same thing and in the eyes of the consumer, what is really different? They all have the same administrative and academic departments. And the rankings are a sham anyway, right?

Read on for how to counter that sad and ineffective point of view.

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So That’s Your Strategy?

People look smart when they reference strategy. It elevates any discussion to greater importance as soon as the word strategy enters. Often, it gets others in the room thinking, “Right, maybe I’m not thinking about this strategically.” Followed by the thought, “What exactly would a strategic version of this discussion look like?”

The idea of strategy is often misunderstood. I fully admit, it really can be difficult. I can’t tell you how many discussions I’ve been in where people describe their tactical execution plan as the strategy. 

A simple example of why folks get confused, and I’ll use what we know best, the world of marketing: Your marketing strategy to enroll more students requires great marketing content. Content is a tactic you will employ to achieve your strategic goal. Yet, you will need a content strategy to be successful. So, content is not a tactic. It is a strategy, right? No, it is a tactic in this scenario. A tactic that needs its own strategy.

Oy vey.

Our team, of course, lives in the world of marketing strategy, planning, and execution. Today's post shares some insights into how to simplify the discussion and confirm when you are employing a strategy vs. discussing the tactical execution of any given initiative.

Read on and maybe we can shed some light on how to actually be smart in the discussion, not just look smart.

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Measure What Matters: Build an Academic Metrics Dashboard

What are the Top 3 Metric Areas you should be tracking? Does your answer match ours?

Former CEO of HP, Carly Fiorina, once said, “the goal is to turn data into information and information into insight.” This is the essence of analytics. It’s exactly why you are (or should be!) taking the time to track traffic on your website and social media engagement. It is all for that valuable insight that can introduce you to the student leads you want and help you understand their needs/motivations.

We know we might sound like a broken record but analytics are important. And we know how difficult it can be to get started. The good news is that it’s not as complicated as you think.

Come meet us in San Diego this weekend (a quick jaunt to the sun!?!) to learn more about metrics, tactics and other international student recruiting approaches from experts in the field at our upcoming International Student Recruitment Bootcamp. It is all about What Works Where.

Have you seen our speaker list? A range of experts, our conference faculty, will be on hand January 29-31. Today is the LAST DAY to take advantage of regular pricing. Spaces are limited and going fast. REGISTER HERE.

The Bottom Line: The key to successfully tracking analytics is to set up a system that is easy to use and accessible–your dashboard. Just like your car dashboard, a metrics dashboard stores all your “go-to” data in one place. This can help know how your digital marketing is performing. If you take the time to do this regularly, a big IF based on what most of us have time for, you will spend your marketing budget more wisely every year. If nothing else, your bosses will be proud of you for that ;-)

Trying to collect data without setting up a dashboard is like trying to make a recipe you’ve never made before without the ingredients list. You might know where to find one or two of the pieces of data you are looking for, but you need to know how to piece them together to make a tasty meal. Read on for our list of the Top 3 Metrics Areas we think you should be keeping tabs on. This is the kind of data we think should be on your dashboard to support your international student recruitment efforts.

Pro tip: this is one of those posts you’ll want to share with a select few others on your team.

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