Advanced Marketing Analytics in Higher Education
There’s no question in recent years that the development of better analytical tools and approaches has given business leaders significant, new decision-making firepower. Yet, while advanced analytics can provide the ability for a College or University to increase growth and marketing return on investment, organizations seem almost paralyzed by the choices and resources needed to understand the opportunities in front of them.
The various activities and audiences that marketing dollars typically support an organization, and the variety of investment time horizons, calls for a sophisticated approach to managing and utilizing data. In our experience, the best way for leaders to improve marketing effectiveness is to integrate MROI in a way that takes advantage of the best options of each.
The benefits can be huge: our review of more than 100 diverse client engagements over the past decade, across regions and institution type (non-profit, for-profit), found that an integrated analytical approach can free up some 15 to 20 percent of marketing spending.
Analytics-Based Growth Strategy
A company’s marketing strategy should be grounded based on analytical options. Without a strategy anchor, we find companies often allocate marketing dollars based largely on the previous year’s budget or on what degree program, campus location or advertising medium fared well in recent quarters. Those approaches can devolve into “contests” that reward the nicest proposal or the person that shouts the loudest rather than the area that actually needs the most growth or to defend its current position.
A more useful approach measures options based on their strategic return, economic value, and payback window. Evaluating options using scores provides a consistent view for comparison, and these measurements can be combined with known preconditions such as baseline spending, thresholds for certain media, and/or prior commitments and minimums.
The other prerequisite in shaping an effective MROI is to understand your target students’ buying behavior. This behavior has changed so dramatically in the past five years that old ways of thinking about the consumer—such as the inquiry origination philosophy—generally don’t apply. Where the funnel approach prioritized generating as much brand awareness as possible, the consumer decision journey recognizes that the buying process is more dynamic and that consumer behavior is subject to many different moments of influence. It is important to leverage the origination type with the contact strategy in order to generate the highest yield.