EMP Summit 2015: Elevate. Empower. Enroll.

More than 60 admissions professionals from 24 schools joined the Liaison team to discuss higher education marketing strategies and see new enrollment software features at the 2015 EMP Summit in Poughkeepsie, New York in late July.

Here are some highlights. Click each header to view the full presentation:

The ROI of sales and marketing.

Dave Black, vice president of consulting and market research at Paskill Stapleton & Lord, a higher education enrollment consulting firm, shared his ideas on how to get the most out of Liaison’s Enrollment Marketing Platform.

  • Don’t underestimate the techniques of sales and marketing professionals and their ability to reach prospective students. It can be done with dignity and finesse.
  • Make sure you’re using all the capabilities EMP offers to build relationships with prospective students and their families.
  • Use the personal information you collect with EMP to create more personal messages that will resonate with students. And make sure you capture the information you get from students with EMP—so everyone gets smarter.
  • Finally, use your time wisely; review your recruitment process periodically to make sure you’re being as effective as possible.

Understanding your audiences.

Kate Dunn, director of business development at InfoTrends, focused on the changing dynamic between sellers and buyers—you and the audiences you’re trying to reach.

  • Today’s students know what they want and whether your institution will meet their needs.
  • Most students have already done their research before they even contact an admissions rep.
  • Parents are deeply involved in the decision making process–so counselors need to consider all audiences when making their case.
  • Sellers need to convince people to buy. Instead of leading with your solution, use insight to lead to your solution. Students will recognize the difference.

EMP Power Users—the theory.

Suzanne Sharp, executive director of enrollment management consulting at Liaison, outlined what an EMP power user looked like. A power user:

  • Uses every facet of the EMP system as a powerful tool to integrate people, process, and strategy.
  • Acts as a champion and evangelist to make sure everyone buys into the system.
  • Develops his or her own best practices for maximizing the value of EMP.

Suzanne also introduced a power user grading system that attendees used to rate their performance and discover new ways to use EMP.

EMP Power Users—the practice.

Keith Mock, vice president of enrollment at Faulkner University, who has spent time on the front lines putting Suzanne’s theories into practice, spoke about his experience as an EMP power user—and how he has used EMP to help his university improve enrollment results. He demonstrated:

  • How Faulkner engages students and parents to drive students to apply and deposit with unique Presidential Drive to Apply campaigns and special PURL pages that only accepted students can see.
  • How EMP helped his counselors keep on top of their tasks through triggered to-dos and reports.
  • How faculty and athletic coaches can use EMP to communicate with prospective students.

Can Private Social Networks improve yield rates?

According to Franklin Pierce University‘s Steve Hennessey, assistant director of admissions, and Braelan O’Toole, assistant director of admissions, the answer is an emphatic yes. Here are some reasons why:

  • Users of EMP’s Private Social Networks had much lower withdrawal rates than those who never used the network.
  • Franklin Pierce used its Private Social Network to connect prospective students to current students if they had questions. Communicating with peers through an interactive platform kept them engaged and motivated.
  • But Private Social Networks shouldn’t replace other social media on campus. Create complementary strategies to keep engagement high and yield strong.

Examining the data.

Emma Burton, director of strategic enrollment consulting at Liaison, along with Lindsey Guidotti and Josh Monica, strategic enrollment consultants at Liaison, walked through the aggregated data we’ve collected from EMP clients with an eye toward best practices.

  • Launch campaigns across multiple channels—not just email. Print increases response rates and can be a great follow-up to an email. Include links to personalized microsites.
  • In campaigns, keep your email headlines short and personalized for them to be successful.
  • Make sure to always nurture the parents at each stage of the funnel.
  • Finally, they stressed the importance of relevancy in all campaigns with more photos and less text. Today’s students want the facts, not the fluff.

Are you still marketing to Millennials? Get ready for Generation Z.

Scott Mallen, president of CRM Solutions at Liaison, examined the newest generation of college students—those born after 1995. The takeaway? ‘Generation Z’ is whole new ballgame.

  • Gen Z are more aware of the world and have learned from the mistakes of their older siblings.
  • Gen Z is much more aggressive, motivated, and they are driven to go to college and to graduate (because they want to – not because they have to).
  • If you want to reach Gen Z, you’ll need to communicate differently. This generation was raised with tablets and smart phones. Communication needs to be quick, to the point, and very interactive (tip: if you haven’t already, bring video into your marketing mix).

And speaking of video…

Andrew Mallen, director of CRM solutions at Liaison, talked to us about the future of technology in college admissions.

  • Video chat is used in a variety of ways in admissions—from remote interviews with prospective students to live event streaming.
  • Augmented Reality is fast becoming the new normal and soon Viewbooks will be much more interactive and compelling, bringing your campus to life for students not on campus.
  • Virtual reality technology will take students beyond the Viewbook and into a truly immersive experience. Welcome to the metaverse!

Of course, back here in the real world, communication can still be a challenge.

Drew Bancroft, creative director at Liaison, discussed social media and its benefits for your institution, but counseled attendees to pay close attention to every channel you’re using.

  • Ensure that your brand stays on message across all channels and that your message is consistent.
  • Keep interactions lively. It’s a turn-off to prospective students to see social properties that are stagnant and neglected.
  • Be tactful. Don’t be that guy—er, institution, whose tweets spell trouble.
  • To manage social correctly, have dedicated staff to oversee what’s being sent and make sure it stays professional.

The EMP team also handed out four awards to honor clients’ creative work at Thursday evening’s dinner: Trinity Baptist College and Lubbock Christian University won the Most Innovative Campaign Award for their youth group and event on-demand campaigns, respectively. Franklin Pierce University won the 5 Year Award for being a great longstanding client.

For those of you who were unable to join us and would like to learn more, we’d be happy to answer any questions you might have or provide more information about EMP. Please contact us.[/fusion_text][/fullwidth]