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Recruiting Intelligence

Recruiting Intel Digest: The Most Useful Stuff from Q2 2022

…and that’s a wrap for Q2 ‘22. While personally there were a few bumps along the way (thanks Covid for yanking #NAFSA2022 out from under me!), overall, the industry’s mood is decidedly improved over this time last year. Cautiously so, anyway.

Recent news we are following says that language programs are starting to recover from huge pandemic losses. Middle Eastern adults/executives are showing up first. As we know, language programs often act as canaries in the coal mine falling or rising in advance of fuller degree/certificate programs.

We bet you likely didn’t catch all of our posts this spring, admissions season being what it is – busy. Not to worry, we’ve compiled a few we think you won’t want to miss. Read on for our quarterly recap of the most valuable news from Q2 2022 and the Intead resources available to you.

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Rinse and Repeat is Not the Answer

Every CFO’s dilemma: how much discounting do we have to do to fill our classes?

But before you get there, it is the Enrollment Management team’s job to answer a few other questions:

  1. To whom do we market? (this takes us from suspect to application)
  2. Whom do we accept? (this takes us from applicant to accepted pool)
  3. And now we turn to the CFO and financial aid team to answer, “How much do we award them?” (this takes us from accepted to tuition-paying)

The Intead team is hyper-focused on question number 1 in ways that others in the student marketing world seem to miss or oversimplify. Zip code and IPEDS analyses will tell you that there are roughly 250K families in the US able to afford tuition bills of $30K or more. And that pool is shrinking as the Chronicle of Higher Ed and industry analysts consistently remind us. The fear of 2025 is growing!

Private institutions have faced, and will continue to face, a world of trouble in the years ahead. If you are not clear about what makes your institution highly valuable to your target audience (and no, the answer is not, “we provide a personalized level of attention to our students”), then your classrooms and dorms are going to look sparser. Those doubles you converted to triples will be double again.

And for other institutions, those with lower price points, there are significant headwinds in terms of how students and parents are evaluating your value as well. Competition will continue to grow.

We'll be talking about all of this at #NAFSA2022 in Denver in just 5 weeks. Please be in touch to set up a meeting or join us for one of our four interactive NAFSA presentations where we are honored to share the dais with our colleagues from Benedict College, San Diego State University, Clark University, Northeastern University, CIEE, ICEF, and GNET.  

With this post we share our concern, and it should be yours as well, that the marketing agencies offering enrollment/recruitment services for so many institutions are taking their marketing plans from their most recent client and applying them to the next one that comes in the door.

Literally, some of them are simply slapping your logo on the marketing plan they delivered to the client that came before you and selling it to you as something unique and fresh. They are that cynical about their own work and what you are doing on your campus.🙄

Read on for tips on how to frame the pertinent questions and approach the answers for your institution. While the framework has common elements for all, the resulting marketing plan must be different based on your specific institution type, location, ranking and academic strengths, tuition, culture, etc.

Your student enrollment marketing must focus on what makes you, you.

We’re here to say very loudly: rinse and repeat is not the answer.

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Recruiting Intel Digest: The Most Useful Stuff from Q1 2022

The first quarter of 2022 dealt its fair share of surprises, and then some. The pandemic loosened its grip (for the time being). Northern Europe was thrust into a war. These events are deeply personal and deeply tied to our everyday work in higher education. And then there were the everyday surprises courtesy of another enrollment and budget planning season. Still, the world kept turning and we kept acting on the opportunities we see for improvement in everything we are able to touch.

In the midst of all this, you may have missed a few of our top posts. No matter! We’re here to point you in the right direction. Read on for our quarterly recap of the most valuable stuff from Q1 2022 and the Intead resources available to you.

And, if you’ll be attending the NAFSA 2022 in Denver (May 31-June 3), be in touch so we can set aside time for a coffee and exchange of ideas. We’ll have 4 NAFSA presentations all covering different aspects of global recruiting. One of them has been selected by NAFSA for live-stream to give more folks access to the amazing panel that includes Benedict College, Clark University, and CIEE. More on that in the coming weeks.

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Recruiting Intel Digest: The Most Useful Stuff from Q4 2021

Wrapping up 2021 was no easy feat. We’ve seen student enrollment numbers fall, rise, and flatten with the evolving worldwide pandemic that is COVID-19. More than a few in our field are burned out and trying hard to muster the energy to figure out how to bring their students the best experience possible.

We’re right there with you, wherever you are. Time to turn our focus to what we’ve learned from our recent experiences. Settle in for a Q4 wrap up of the info that can help you shape your 2022-23 plans. From strategy to tactics like chatbots and student recruitment platforms we know all of this will be up your ally.

Read on for our quarterly recap of Intead resources available to you — Q4, all in one place.
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Competitor Analysis: Quick Insights Available

Every enrollment VP is fighting for students who will add value to their institution. Domestic is heading for the 2025 cliff while international is beginning to rebound from the pandemic travel restrictions. 

What better way to win market share than to tell the story that differentiates your institution? This week, for those of you not already familiar, we introduce you to Jon Boeckenstedt and a tool he’s created that can help you see quickly how your institution stacks up to your competition. Jon’s work consistently brings data insights and knowledge of the field to help institutions make better enrollment management decisions.

On the international side of things, be sure to register for the AIRC conference coming up in December where we will be presenting two valuable learning opportunities alongside colleagues from Northeastern University, Fordham Law School, and San Diego State University. Early bird rates are still on the table! See link below. And see you in Miami!

Read on to dive into the amazingly fast competitor insights you can gather and how you might use them to put the best version of your institution’s story out there. 

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A View from My Seat: SIO Edition

Today, we start a new occasional series with our Recruiting Intelligence Blog calling on the expertise of our colleagues in the field and sharing their views with you. Many of you know our first “View from My Seat” writer and worked with him in his former role as Vice President for Global Engagement at the American Council on Education. Brad Farnsworth now runs Fox Hollow Advisory helping institutions develop and execute international strategy.

We are thrilled to share his counsel to SIOs as universities around the world continue to grapple with how the pandemic has changed their approach to global partnerships, student services, student enrollment, and overall academic business models.

Be sure to sign up for our AIRC-hosted webinar with Technion Israel Institute of Technology presenting “Shifting Student Perspectives: Digital Marketing Now” — Free to AIRC members and $45 for non-members. Register HERE. (If your institution is not an AIRC memberhit us up for a code and we'll see about getting you past the velvet ropes.)

Read on for Brad’s counterintuitive recommendations for all of our SIO colleagues.

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Recruiting Intel Digest: The Most Useful Stuff from Q3 2021

No quiet summer here--things have only sped up this quarter as institutions recalibrated their approaches to the ongoing hurdles and opportunities of the pandemic. With innovative thinking and disciplined strategy, your colleagues are tackling the big issues of the fall and considering how to adapt for spring and fall 2022. Today’s post points you to some of the high-performance best practices we’ve shared over the past 3 months to help during these times of uncertainty. 

So, grab a cup of coffee and before you finish it, we know you’ll be sharing links from this Q3 2021 wrap up with your enrollment team and colleagues with the power to make positive change for students around the world.

Read on for our quarterly recap of Intead resources available to you — all in one place. Plus, a preview of what’s coming next. But first:

PARTICIPATE AND LEARN: Opportunities up stay current and up your game:

  • October 5, NAFSA All-Region Summit Session: UMBC and Intead present “0-60 Internationalization” — Register HERE.
  • October 12, AIRC hosted Webinar: Technion Israel Institute of Technology and Intead present “Shifting Student Perspectives: Digital Marketing Now” — Free to AIRC members and $45 for non-members. Register HERE. (If your institution is not an AIRC member, hit us up for a code and we'll see about getting you past the velvet ropes.)
  • IIENetworker fall issue publishes Intead’s 2021 market research on Indian and Chinese student mobility. See below for a link to the magazine full of insights.
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Hey Academic Marketers: Did Apple just bite into your audience?

You’ve got to hand it to Apple – everyone’s paying attention to their iOS 14.5 update. At least, those of us in marketing.

This typically benign move (yawn…another update) has Facebook screaming, “Alert: The sky is falling!” In our experience, most marketers have had their Chicken Little moments over the years. Some more than others. Remember when the movie industry thought VCRs were going to decimate their revenue stream? Or how about Y2K?

But what exactly is it that’s got everyone crying foul (er, fowl)? In short, data. Or, lack thereof.

The new update aims to add transparency to user data tracking. All App Store apps are now required to ask users for permission to access the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA), a unique tracking code for mobile devices. So, each time an iPhone user downloads an app from the Apple Store, they must actively opt-in to be tracked. If they don’t, the policy prohibits certain data collection and sharing. Apple is positioning the move as protecting the consumer.

Early word from Flurry has it that 94% are opting out. That number is a big deal to businesses who’ve come to rely on this data to optimize, target, and report on tracking pixels, the bits of code that detail user behavior. It’s certainly a big deal to Facebook and Google and to those of us who rely on their insights.

Truthfully, prior to this iOS change, iPhone users already had the ability to opt-out of IDFA, but this move by Apple prompts and forces a user decision and almost everyone is opting out.

While the change only affects Apple’s mobile audience (leaving desktop and Android users alone), that’s still 1 billion active iPhones worldwide, one-fifth of which are in the US. (iOS has notable but significantly less presence in key international student recruiting markets with 44% market share in Saudi Arabia, 36% in Vietnam, 27% in South Korea, 22% in China, 13% in Brazil, 8% in Nigeria, and just 3% in India, per Statcounter GlobalStats.)

As this policy takes hold, academic marketers will have much less insight into the iOS users who are clicking on apps. That inhibits the ability to micro-target, which is a problem.

To know for sure the significance of the iOS update on your campaigns, institutions should compare the percent of traffic that engages through mobile, then the percentage of those who use iOS. This is all readily available through your Google Analytics. The higher the number, the greater the impact the iOS update will have on you. Your lead generation efforts will be affected, but we imagine less so than say e-commerce businesses (think Amazon, Etsy, Target, Best Buy, etc.).

Of course, this isn’t just about privacy. It’s also about money. The big tech players are competing with one another for your ad spend. Remember, Google makes over 80% of its money on advertising, as does Facebook. They want to maintain control. Can we blame them? (Yes, of course we can, and do. Nevertheless…).

And that’s the bigger picture. Marketers who feel like the sky is falling feel that way because they are losing some control over the crux of their campaigns: their audience and their ability to define and target them. The risk the Apple update poses to your institution is your diminishing ability to reach desired audiences accurately and affordably through paid digital channels – primarily in the US. 

So, while the sky may not be falling, do read on to learn how your academic marketing team should respond…

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LATAM Recruiting Series: Insights on Mexico

Our 2021 Latin America international student recruiting series has offered insight into the opportunities in Brazil, Colombia, and Ecuador. Now: Mexico.

Mexican student enrollment in US institutions grew significantly over the last 4 decades. A rising middle class has driven this desire and ability to afford education abroad. In 2020 the number studying in the US stood at roughly 14,350. That figure represents about 50% of all Mexican outbound student mobility.

Not so long ago, during the 2016 US presidential election (remember that?), our market research found that a whopping 80% of Mexican students in our survey told us they would be less inclined to study in the US if Trump won the presidency. A stunning number by all counts. However, we noted at the time that we believed this was an expression of distaste, and that 80% of students would not actually act on these feelings. 

Our science and art of market research proved accurate. A drop in US student enrollment from Mexico did follow the Trump presidency but nothing as dramatic as 80%. Still, it hurt many institutions and stifled opportunity for many students. We suggested that the real drop would likely be closer to 10% during the Trump presidency and in fact, the number of Mexican students enrolling in US institutions dropped by 8% in 2017 and then another 3% in 2018. These drops occurred despite an education initiative in Mexico during that time that set a goal of encouraging 100,000 Mexican students to seek a foreign education.

During this period there were notable increases in Mexican student mobility to Canada and Germany. However, the numbers were still relatively small in these countries. Read on for deeper marketing insights as you consider your international student recruitment strategy for Mexico. 

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LATAM Recruiting Series: Insights on Ecuador

If you haven’t had an opportunity to read our recent LATAM recruiting series posts, check out Brazil and Colombia. Today in our series, a look at Ecuador. Not the typical place for universities to invest in international student recruiting, but a valuable consideration as you think about diversifying your source countries.

The US and Ecuador maintain consistent and strong economic ties. On July 1, 2021, Ecuador received 1 million COVID-19 vaccines from the US, with another shipment due to arrive three weeks later. With a population of almost 18 million people, Ecuador’s vaccination rate is close to 25% for the first of two COVID-19 doses. 

According to the most recent SEVIS data from March 2021, the US had 3,025 active students from Ecuador. Of these students, 41% are seeking an undergraduate degree. Currently, student visa processing for requests to study in the US are experiencing the same frustrating backlogs and delays as other parts of the world. Getting recruiting processes back to pre-COVID smooth is going to take quite a bit of time.

With that as an introduction, let’s take a look at Ecuador and the top five student influencers for studying in the US.

Read on for our recruiting insights and a handy (and cool) COVID-19 vaccination rate tracking tool from Reuters — you’ll want to check this as you plan your global recruitment travel as funding and travel restrictions permit. 

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