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Recruiting Intelligence

6 Key Takeaways for Smart Technology Investments — Free Download

Our advice from a few weeks back: To survive current enrollment and revenue challenges, institutions must stop cutting at some point and invest in growth.

We know you have questions. How do you encourage a culture of innovation? How do you get a slow-moving institution to make smart, growth-focused investments? How do you manage the risks inherent in these investments? And, most importantly, what are the “smart investments” your institution should be making?

We’ve been doing the research and gathering the experts. On November 16th, Intead and iSchoolConnect hosted a webinar Predicting Revenue, Enrollment & Student Success to address these questions and more, with a focus on how investments in data and technology can help generate predictable revenue for your institution and pave the way for transformational growth.

In the webinar, Ben Waxman (CEO, Intead) and Ashish Fernando (CEO, iSchoolConnect) also introduced the new Intead / iSchoolConnect partnership -- a powerful relationship and suite of end-to-end admissions and student success-focused solutions that combine Intead’s wealth of experience in market research and strategic digital communications with iSchoolConnect’s Google-recognized technology services.

The webinar discussion tapped the wisdom and deep experience of:

  • Lisa Adams, MD: Associate Dean for Global Health, Director of the Center for Global Health Equity, Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine
  • Jesus Trujillo Gomez: Strategic Business Executive for Higher Ed at Google Cloud
  • Kerry Salerno: CMO, Babson College
  • Hillary Dostal: Economics Adjunct Professor and Lecturer, Northeastern University and Endicott College

If you missed the webinar, you can watch the recording in full right here. You can also play it in the background while you work, but we like to think our bright, smiling faces bring some added value! : ) 

And if you haven’t got an hour to spare, you’re in luck — a new Key Takeaways PDF download is available for free at the end of this post. These insights shared by our panelists are just too valuable to miss. It is a quick and helpful read.

Read on for webinar highlights and the Key Takeaways download link.

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Is Flexible Incrementalism the Answer to Student Enrollment Growth?

According to Moody’s reports on the financial pain 4-year institutions are facing, higher ed administrators are managing a host of escalating challenges.

What we know: cutting your way to success has never worked for any institution.

What we want: strategic, incremental investments that pay off.

But which ones will lead to predictable enrollment growth and revenue? Oh, and student success?

There is a guiding light, a process to achieving this kind of success.

With technology playing an increasingly critical role in every aspect of our lives, especially now, academic institutions have recognized the need to accelerate the adoption and development of digitally oriented enrollment processes and education delivery. These moves can reverse enrollment declines and support the quality of education that students and families expect. A new partnership between Intead, iSchoolConnect, and Google addresses these needs with a smart, agile, and modular approach.

Framed as a modern and flexible model, incremental investments in technology for marketing and student success can align university leadership, administrators and importantly, faculty. CFOs take note, this is a plan for predictable enrollment and revenue streams.

The team delivering on this approach brings deep skills in marketing, enrollment management, and technology to support academic institutions through transformative initiatives carried out incrementally.

The goal is to produce an enrollment management transformation and a re-imagined approach to student success. Affordable marketing and AI-powered technology investments, each with clear transactional wins (think ROI) that justify the process, move the institution through a series of system improvements and enhancements toward the envisioned state. 

We’ve been here before, and we know that transformation is tough at large institutions. Bold and expensive strokes often fail to build the necessary stakeholder buy-in. The result: limited successes, far less than envisioned. 

Incrementalism recognizes that there are common modules every institution will want to address (recruitment, enrollment management, alumni relations, student and career services, etc.). Each institution is different in how and when each valued area blends into the transformation effort.

Read on to view our latest webinar in which I am joined by Ashish Fernando, iSchoolConnect CEO, and a panel of excellent guest speakers from Dartmouth, Babson, Northeastern, and Google to discuss how this new approach can pave the way to predictable, affordable, and transformative enrollment results. 

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The End of False Promises

Tracking the macro indicators of market growth and decline is where we were at the start of our journey more than a decade ago. The Intead team defined the global market opportunity for student enrollment in ways we felt others were not seeing. And we published our findings and ideas.

While we in higher education are no strangers to global enrollment shocks, there’s no getting around the reality that the year 2020 and the seismic health, political, and economic shifts have challenged our collective efforts to achieve institutional growth. The student enrollment declines being reported are very real and so many of us are feeling them and anticipating more declines in the near term.

Just this week IIE and the National Student Clearinghouse are providing new data showing how the student market has changed for the worse. These numbers are absolutely worth watching and it all makes for good headlines.

Yet, the team here has moved far beyond those headlines and numbers you are seeing. As we approach each new client engagement, we are focused on where specifically the opportunities lie. Which micro demographic? Age range? Region? Academic program interest? Which market differentiators will be attractive and where? Specifically. Globally and locally.

A wealth of data available to make really smart decisions

Today, there is so much data to analyze to help define the real market opportunities for each institution. Given the harsh market conditions, decisions today will determine which institutions will thrive going forward. In some cases, it is about which ones will simply maintain, forget about thrive. Many are trying to predict the future and with investment in the right tools, that is possible.

"Really?" You ask. "Yes," we reply.

The reality: Your bottom line is more important than ever. Your budget? Smaller than ever. Your enrollment goals? More challenging than ever. Your students? Struggling to succeed.

With so much of this past year being entirely unpredictable, a little confidence in the future would be truly welcome.

Luckily, there is an achievable path forward to predictable and sustainable enrollment growth. We’re talking long-term transformational growth here — those “Aha!” moments that transform your institutional practices and reality for years to come. Interested?

Today we are talking to all of you big picture thinkers.

Enter: Predictive analytics.

We know what some of you may be thinking. Long a buzzword in higher education, predictive analytics strategies often come with a “proceed with caution” label and (valid) concerns about budget, staffing, and implementation.

But we’re here to change all that with our new eBook — The End of False Promises: A Guide to Real Predictive Analytics Success.

In this newest Intead publication, we discuss predictive analytics, past, present, and future, including our vision for a manageable, affordable path to incorporating data- and Artificial Intelligence-powered (AI) solutions throughout the student journey at your institution.

To bring this new reality of actionable predictive analytics services to life, we have partnered with iSchoolConnect, a growing leader in advanced EdTech artificial intelligence (AI) tools, to create a new model for marketing, communications, and analytics for academia. Bonus: as one of the world’s few official Google Cloud partners, this new tie-up has access to data insights and resources others only dream of!

The successful approach we are talking about relies on flexible, incremental investments that produce clear returns. With a trusted partner guiding your institution forward on this journey, the transactional successes add up to transform your entire system for enrollment management and student success.

Read on for a quick-hit predictive analytics crash course and to download your free copy of the new eBook. Plus, a closer look at the new Intead + iSchoolConnect approach.

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Webinar: Predicting Revenue, Enrollment & Student Success

There's one important thing institutions should do to reverse enrollment declines. Most won’t do it.

What you need to succeed: the knowledge that each incremental investment provides a near-term win, a return on investment, while advancing your institution towards a transformative state for long-term growth. 

On Monday, November 16th at 12pm (EST), we will be joined by an amazing line up of experts to discuss how predictive analytics and flexible, modular investments in technology can transform both enrollment management and student success.

With so many institutions experiencing enrollment declines and budgetary challenges, strategic investments are essential. No institution has ever cut its way to success. 

Join us for this intriguing discussion about predictive analytics powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI). Following our webinar, attendees will receive an advance copy of our newest eBook on how to customize this modular approach for your institution. And we will be making a big announcement about how Intead is changing, significantly, to take advantage of the opportunities we see ahead.

Register Now

During the webinar, I will be joined by my co-host, Ashish Fernando, CEO of iSchoolConnect, and together we will get some amazing strategic insights from:

  • Lisa Adams, MD: Associate Dean for Global Health, Director of the Center for Global Health Equity, Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine
  • Jesus Trujillo Gomez: Strategic Business Executive for Higher Ed at Google Cloud
  • Kerry Salerno: CMO, Babson College
  • Hillary Dostal: Economics Adjunct Professor and Lecturer, Northeastern University and Endicott College
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The More Things Change…The More We Need to Figure Out

So, ICE tells all the online international students in the U.S. to go home and Harvard tells all students to go online for Fall 2020 (without lowering tuition). That’s quite a news day.

From day to day, the landscape continues to shift, sometimes dramatically.

If you’ve missed the past few months of Recruiting Intelligence posts because you’ve had other pressing priorities (we get it), then you may want to take a scroll through it all.

Read on for a quick summary of all the things we all need to figure out. (Spoiler alert: we've already figured out a lot of them).

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Getting Smart about Edtech: Learning Management and Social Learning Platforms


OK, let's stay focused people!

So there are a few bad eggs out there doing admissions really, really wrong. You are not doing it wrong. We are not doing it wrong. We've got work to do, so let's ignore the headlines and get back to doing our jobs.

Just a few weeks back, we wrote about the growth and growing competition in the world of “edtech:” a broad term for the array of technologies designed to enhance learning, streamline the administration of educational programs, and improve student outcomes (find the post HERE). 

Current thinking divides the area of edtech into 8 segments and we will be discussing each of them in more depth this year. Our next Can't Miss Event is a webinar on Artificial Intelligence and its relationship to Machine Learning and Predictive Modeling. What does all this mean for international and domestic student recruitment and retention? 

Join Ben and Ashish Fernando, CEO of iSchoolConnect for an exclusive Intead Plus webinar on March 28 at 1 PM EDT: Artificial Intelligence for Higher Ed Explained.

We’ll be sharing valuable data about online behavior and technology trends, as well as case studies that will help you understand the role AI can play in optimizing your own student recruitment and retention plans. 

Register for the Webinar

Let's put it this way: It's a heck of a lot more than filtered lists and chat bots. And we are afraid that many others in the field are not thinking broadly enough about how this all works and what it truly involved. And of course, the consideration of what is affordable for the value.

Join us live—or if you can’t make it, heads up that Intead Plus subscribers will have exclusive access to the webinar recording (trust us: this is one you’ll want to refer back to and share with colleagues).

In our blog today, we are not about artificial intelligence. Instead we are focusing on edtech’s potential for better connecting students to resources and each other. Ensuring that students can easily connect with enriching materials and their fellow learners is a pretty basic goal of every educational institution...and yet, one that can be surprisingly difficult to do efficiently and well. And while technology can’t solve every problem...it sure can help a lot.

Read on for our review of 2 primary buckets of helpful edtech tools: learning management and social learning. What do these terms mean? How can they be helpful? And if your institution is already using these kinds of edtech tools, how can you know if they’re working?

Good questions—let’s get going.

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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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