Tackling Higher Ed Digital Marketing Challenges
by Carol Clements on April 09, 2014
I am pleased to introduce our first international business partner on the blog. Headquartered in Montreal, Canada, Higher Education Marketing (HEM) offers digital marketing services to higher education institutions, including analytics, search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click marketing, social media marketing, website design, and branding.
We wanted to get their perspective on today’s marketing challenges in higher education, so I asked HEM CEO Philippe Taza (pictured) a few questions about his company’s business:
[CC] What are the top challenges faced by your higher education customers?
[PT] Regardless of an institution’s geographical location, the two most common challenges are insufficient resources for marketing budget and personnel, and limited staff expertise in emerging digital marketing strategies and tactics. This is where HEM adds real value; we not only help our customers to reach their goals, but we share our expertise with them so that they can maintain results in the long term.
[CC] What is one major challenge your team has faced in higher education marketing?
[PT] As previously stated, many colleges and universities have limited experience with putting together and implementing a comprehensive digital marketing program. They are usually very successful with their traditional marketing efforts, but are challenged by the ever expanding range and complexity of digital strategy and tactics. Things like keeping up with Google’s changing criteria in search, keeping rising PPC-generated lead costs in check, and getting analytics reports organized correctly are really hard to do.
This was the case with one of HEM and OmniUpdate’s mutual clients, John Cabot University (JCU), in Rome, Italy. HEM originally met JCU at the 2013 OmniUpdate User Training Conference, where we got to know each other and learned a bit about each other's businesses. Subsequently, we were invited to help them refine their digital campaign tactics and implementation strategy. They are now seeing real value from this effort in terms of increased lead generation, student registrations, and ROI on their marketing budgets.
[CC] How have you helped your clients work through this challenge?
[PT] Data is our ally. We have an analytics-driven approach to all of our digital marketing activities and we provide this framework to our clients. In fact, we were pleased to present the basics of the JCU plan and accomplishments at the 2014 OmniUpdate User Training Conference. That presentation is available to members of the OmniUpdate Community Network (OCN) or by contacting us directly.
The bottom line is that all client marketing activities are tracked, measured, and reported on using this framework, enabling all stakeholders to clearly see what is working and what is not. Monthly meetings are held with clients to carefully review our progress toward predefined goals and to identify and take advantage of new opportunities as they present themselves. This process highlights to our clients how to quantitatively evaluate their marketing performance and to more effectively leverage digital marketing opportunities. New strategy and tactics are introduced, as appropriate, in regular reviews.
For example, going forward we plan to take full advantage of the new analytics gadget available in version 10 of OmniUpdate’s OU Campus web content management system for mutual clients with OmniUpdate. Through the gadget, individual contributors will be able to see graphically displayed visitor data about their specific pages. This easy introduction and access to analytics will help users to better understand the impact of their content and design on visitor behavior and will be a nice enhancement to the other types of analytics-driven marketing already being done.
[CC] What advice would you give to institutions who want to further develop and improve
their digital marketing strategy?
[PT] It sounds simplistic, but the key to developing an effective online strategy is to clearly identify your business objectives first. Once everyone reaches agreement, which at times is difficult to do, you then select and implement the best tactics and tools to deliver on those objectives. Your website, blogs, content strategy, analytics, SEO, pay-per-click advertising, social media, lead generation, and so forth are all part of a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. They must be aligned to support your institution’s objectives and regularly tracked to help you continuously improve your results.
We thank Philippe for participating and offering helpful insight. For more information about HEM, visit their website at www.higher-education-marketing.com.