5 Ways to Bridge the Gap Between Marketing and Admissions

When a school is facing enrollment challenges, one of the first things I ask is this: “How cohesive are your marketing and admissions departments?”

Sometimes the answer is, “We’re not sure,” and other times the gap is evident to all parties. While the value and necessity of both departments is crystal clear, there is often a lack of understanding around how their synergy correlates directly with the school’s success.

In today’s digital-marketing driven world, it is more critical than ever for marketing and admissions to be united as one team with the same goals and message

In fact, I prefer for the admissions and marketing responsibilities to be united together in one department. Recently, in my work with one school, we discovered that by having marketing under the development department, there often was a disconnect with the needs of admissions. My recommendation was to move this marketing responsibility to the admissions department.

Wondering how you can get there? These tips have helped numerous private schools boost their enrollment and achieve their goals by bridging the gap between marketing and admissions.

  1. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.
    If your marketing and admissions teams have no real face-time, that is a great first clue that you have room for improvement. Bringing together key players from both teams allows for strong connections, better understanding, and collective best thinking when planning upcoming campaigns. Ideally, it is best to have a weekly meeting with the enrollment and marketing team to discuss results, initiatives and priorities.
  2. Map Out the Entire Buyer Journey
    I cannot emphasize enough the importance of understanding your buyer journey. If you’re not familiar with this term, it refers to the process of research and decision making that prospective parents go through before they enroll. Know how they’re finding you, how they’re using your website, which content is most helpful, and how your marketing and admissions teams can make tweaks to be more effective. When you understand the journey of your prospective parents, you will be able to focus on implementing the strategies at the right time in the process.
  3. Let the Data Do the Talking
    With marketing and admissions working together, there will be no shortage of ideas on the table. I encourage you to begin tracking data regularly (not just at the conclusion of a campaign) and letting those insights inform next steps. It always amazes me that some admissions offices still don’t track the essential funnel data. Whether you’re looking at market research or performance on your own website, decisions informed by real-time data are most likely to yield results. This data should be reviewed in the weekly team meeting.
  4. Clearly Define Goals & Processes
    Start by clearly defining goals for the upcoming year and rallying around them together. While marketing and admissions may have different day-to-day responsibilities, the overarching goals should be the same. Those goals may be achieved by new digital lead-generation tools, lead nurturing (follow up) campaigns, and other techniques.At the foundation, it is critical to have an enrollment goal in place that is comprised of goals for retention of current students and the recruitment of new students. For example, I often ask which department is responsible for lead generation during a site visit. The key is that both admissions and marketing are responsible. However, the marketing department needs to drive this effort to generate leads so that admissions can nurture the prospective parents through the process.
  5. Invest in Training
    With so many new digital marketing opportunities, it is more important than ever to invest in professional development. When marketing and admissions teams have opportunities to train together, they can learn about current trends, bridge knowledge gaps, and prevent frustration that may arise from different backgrounds.On Saturday, October 13, Brendan Schneider will host his VirCon6. This is a virtual online training opportunity for school admissions and marketing leaders. Your team should register now to take advantage of the nine workshops lead by experts in this field.

Customized Consulting for Marketing and Admissions Staff

Could your school benefit from a cultural change that unifies marketing and admissions to better achieve enrollment goals? Enrollment Catalyst can help with goal setting, accountability, strategy, and beyond. Get started today.

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