Capture Blog

How Do You Know What’s Working in Your Student Recruitment?

It’s a time for intense, data-driven naval gazing for most colleges and universities across the country. May 1 — National Decision Day — has come and gone, and institutions are scouring their data and asking critical questions about the just-completed recruitment cycle.

Questions like, what did we do that worked? How can we repeat it? How can we adjust it? How can we improve it? Should we emphasize this kind of marketing channel or that kind of channel? Should we do more travel? Should we participate in more fairs? Should we do more social media marketing?

“I know, those are lots of questions,” says Thom Golden, vice president of Data Science at Capture Higher Ed. “I’m fascinated by the way higher education enrollment management answers [them].

“How can we assess recruitment success beyond just: ‘did we make our class or not?’ ”

During Episode 11 of Capture’s data science podcast The WeightList, Golden and co-host Brad Weiner, director of Data Science at Capture, talk about the important days and weeks when enrollment planners are assessing the just-completed recruitment cycle — when they are evaluating the effectiveness of their recruitment across a variety of related and interlocking tactics.

“This is the time when you’re getting the results — the feedback echo of data has now come back around,” Thom says.

According to the data scientists, the tools currently being used by colleges and universities to examine that feedback echo “are fairly rudimentary and potentially, politely misguided,” Brad says.

Where does higher education get it wrong? For starters, it focuses too much on, well, the starters.

“What you see, yet again, are name-selling organizations dominating the mind space, or dominating the thinking here,” Thom explains. There is too much attention paid to the first source: Where an institution first heard about a prospective student or first came to know him or her. “We’re very first-touch, first-source centric.”

To discuss possible solutions to this problem, Thom and Brad decided to look to online retail marketing — specifically multi-channel marketing attribution. Listen to the rest of their discussion, as they walk through how marketing attribution has evolved in the online retailing and marketing space and what strategic enrollment management can learn from it.

By Kevin Hyde, Content Writer, Capture Higher Ed

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