EducationDynamics and EDUInsight.com Trendspotters Predict Colleges and Universities will Place a Greater Focus on Catering to Underserved Student Populations in 2008

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Increasing competition for students among for-profits, traditional schools and online learning programs will result in more aggressive recruitment and retention efforts targeting underserved student populations in 2008. Forecasting emerging trends among higher education marketers for 2008, EducationDynamics and EDUInsight.com trendspotters say that above all, institutions will place a greater emphasis on marketing to underserved populations, particularly minorities and single mothers.

In general, best practices in student prospecting, enrollment, and retention will align with themes of diversity, globalization and an increased investment in online initiatives.

Increasing competition for students among for-profits, traditional schools and online learning programs will result in more aggressive recruiting and retention efforts targeting underserved student populations, according to Mark Shay, chief academic liaison at EducationDynamics and creator of EDUInsight.com. Forecasting emerging trends among higher education marketers for 2008, EducationDynamics and EDUInsight.com trendspotters say that above all, institutions will place a greater emphasis on marketing to underserved populations, particularly minorities and single mothers.

"The new year will incite an emergence of programs that provide easy access to a vast array of educational resources, and allow institutions to advertise to a diverse audience and recruit from a number of different constituencies," says Shay. "In general, best practices in student prospecting, enrollment, and retention will align with themes of diversity, globalization and an increased investment in online initiatives."

According to EducationDynamics and EDUInsight.com, additional trends expected to emerge in 2008 are as follows:

  •         The more sophisticated marketers in the education space will focus their efforts on conversion and retention. Sophisticated marketers have already implemented online marketing initiatives and reaped the benefits of more promising inquiries. That said, the biggest challenge difficulty facing student marketing professionals is converting leads to enrollments. To improve rates of enrollment, institutions will increasingly implement technology solutions, most likely in the form of customized online academic and social networks, to captivate prospective students throughout the student lifecycle.

  •      Institutions with less marketing savvy will invest more in online marketing. Traditionally, higher education has been slow to invest in online marketing, but according to a recent survey conducted by EducationDynamics, nearly half of respondents said they intend to increase their commitment to online marketing in the coming year. While 42 percent of respondents credited online lead generation for the majority of their qualified leads, 65 percent invested less than 20 percent of their budgets in online marketing. Allocating more marketing resources toward online lead generation marks a shift in paradigm from the traditional vehicles of student recruitment, and will allow institutions to garner more qualified leads.

  •      Universities will continue to expand their use of video and social networking to attract and retain students. Video advertising will emerge as a popular way to connect with and engage prospects, and it will help schools explain their value in a way that is more in depth and personal. On the social networking front, these types of communities have proved to be extremely popular and effective in engaging and retaining students. Customized online academic and social networking that commences before or during orientation and has the capability to track student involvement and dissatisfaction will be integral to institutions' retention efforts.

  •      Campuses will become increasingly internationalized and global learning will emerge as a key consideration. Students are expressing increased interest in studying abroad because the experience can serve as an incredible resume booster. Students want to get an edge in the increasingly globalized marketplace by garnering international experience through educational opportunities. Institutions are leveraging these motivators by actively promoting global mobility on both sides. Not only do institutions want to cultivate globally competent citizens by sending students abroad, but recruiting international students adds diversity and international presence that enhances the campus and the community at large.

To learn more or to participate in the national dialogue on student recruitment, retention and online learning, visit http://www.EDUInsight.com.

About EducationDynamics
EducationDynamics, a portfolio company of Halyard Capital, is a leading interactive marketing and information services company focused on helping higher education institutions find, enroll and retain students. Through some of the most visible education websites, including EarnMyDegree.com, eLearners.com, GradSchools.com, and StudyAbroad.com, as well as its Internet marketing services team, EducationDynamics is one of the leading providers of qualified leads for colleges and universities. The company offers a full suite of web-delivered products and services to manage a school's relationship with students across their entire lifecycle from acquisition to alumni. For more information about EducationDynamics, please visit http://www.educationdynamics.com.

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