Data-Driven Marketing in Education

Data-driven marketing is leading the way in improving effectiveness of campaigns.

Education Marketers are under more pressure to deliver measurable ROI (return on investment) today than they were just a few years ago. What’s more, a recent State of Inbound survey shows that ‘proving the ROI of marketing activities’ is the number one challenge marketers are facing.

Gone are the days where marketers can rely on gut instincts and personal preferences in order to make decisions. In the future, data – not opinion – will inform marketers every step of the way. The use of A/B testing to inform and improve marketing campaign performance is becoming the norm.

With the advent of marketing analytics software, which can measure website visits and CTA clicks and conversion rates and more, the art of marketing has been transformed into a science. To maximise engagement and, ultimately, drive more business, marketers need to scientifically analyse what’s working and what isn’t.

The first step: Make some observations.

Monitor the metrics that are important to your business and report on those metrics regularly. For example:

•    New Marketing Qualified Leads – How many of your prospective parent leads are ready to be passed along to your enrolments team? Where did these leads come from (e.g. organic search, direct traffic, social media, etc.)?

•    Contact Lifecycle Funnel – How are your contacts distributed throughout your funnel? (i.e. What percentage are prospective parent leads? What percentage have attended are school visit? What percentage are waitlisted? Enrolled?)

•    Contacts by Conversion – How many website contacts are converting on your most popular pages? What types of conversions are most common for each page (e.g. contact to lead, lead to marketing qualified lead)?

Once you’ve developed some benchmarks, or a baseline of how your marketing machine is operating, you can start asking questions, such as: ‘Why is this metric always so low on this day?’ or, ‘What caused this huge increase in this metric? (And how can we repeat it?)’.

From there, you can start forming – and testing – some hypotheses.

Ultimately, the more you can learn about who your prospective parents are, and how your marketing/sales funnel is performing, the better you’ll be at predicting which of your new leads will have a high likelihood of becoming customers.

The tricky part, of course, is bringing together all of the relevant data and crunching the numbers.

Three Common Data Mistakes

1: Don’t let data be your only decision maker.
Data is very easy to manipulate and misunderstand, even for the most skilled analysts. Your data should support your assumptions and hypotheses, which requires critical, human interpretation. Make sure you have questions you are looking to answer with your data analysis, and use a keen eye to perform your assessment.

2: Make sure you know what your data means.
It’s one thing to collect a ton of information on your constituents, but if you don’t know what to do with your data or what it means to your marketing and communication efforts, it won’t do you any good. If you have not hired someone or found someone internally that is data literate, we highly recommend that you do so. Without an understanding of data, it will be useless to your efforts.

3: Sometimes, too much data is no good.
Yes, data can help you, but data can also hurt you. If you have too much data to sift through and no clear understanding of what you’re looking for, you can get lost in the weeds and waste time and money. Make sure you have a clear purpose for collecting and analysing data and limit the scope of your project to not complicate your efforts.

Data-driven marketing has been most successful for attracting, finding, and engaging future parents. Education Marketers are coming to grips with the gold mine of data out there and now using it to deliver more relevant, personalised campaigns. More targeted campaigns will ensure Education Marketers focus their efforts and budgets on those students most likely to convert to enrolments, and then tailor their messaging throughout the entire customer journey.

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