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New Research Released: Mythbusting Enrollment Marketing

Today, colleges and universities seek to recruit students of all ages. But teens — the “traditional” undergraduates — are still an important target for college marketers and admission professionals. And it’s important for them to know the best channels for boosting visibility among prospective teen students and how they perceive and use recruitment communications materials during their admission journey.

That’s a key question that Mythbusting Enrollment Marketing, new research from our great friends at the digital agency, mStoner, Inc., sought to uncover. The survey asked teens to share their frank opinions of tactics colleges and universities use to reach and engage them, and asked Higher Education marketing and admission professionals about their perceptions of how teens use the resources in a college’s marketing mix. More than 800 college professionals and 1,700 high school students responded to this survey. While this research is US focused it is applicable to Universities and Colleges worldwide.

These are important questions: with numerous audiences to serve (prospective students, parents, alumni, and more), marketing and admission officers are consistently tasked with striking a balance between investing in what is measurable and demonstrates a return on investment, while continuing to trust legacy communication channels that have been leveraged by the admissions department for decades.

Some key findings from the "Mythbusting Enrollment Marketing" research include:

  • Seven out of 10 teens report they do not consult mainstream college rankings, such as U.S. News and World Report. However, nearly all surveyed professionals believe teens rely on rankings when researching colleges.
  • Seventy-eight percent of teens say they are most influenced by a campus visit; 62 percent say they're most influenced by a college's website.
  • Sixty-seven percent of teens recall seeing digital ads from a college. However, retargeting ads have little to no impact on perception of the college for 57 percent of teens.
  • Fifty-six percent of teens indicate that receiving a text from a college representative would positively impact their view of the institution, yet 82 percent of teens have never received texts from colleges.

In general, results revealed that college admission and marketing professionals have a fairly good understanding overall of teen reactions to our marketing tactics. One interesting gap, though, was in how much teens value personal and face-to-face outreach; college staff tend to overestimate the impact social media has on their recruitment efforts while underemphasizing the value of face-to-face communications. The college website is a primary influence of a teen’s opinion about an institution: the other top influences on a teen's opinion of an institution result from interacting with people. Teens still really value a campus visit and real-life conversation with an admissions officer.

Download the free white paper (and bonus content!) today.

Author: Michael Stoner, president and co-founder, mStoner, Inc.

Tagged: research, enrollment marketing

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