Graduate Marketing: The Value of the Right Partner

Carnegie Higher Ed Nov 23, 2020 Carnegie Higher Ed Persona The Visionary Frontrunner

Before partnering with Carnegie Dartlet, Marian University had been working with a local marketing agency in which we were one of the only higher education clients. When marketing for Marian’s graduate programs became my responsibility, I started evaluating all our options for building awareness and enrollment for our programs in a way that made sense for our needs and budget. I knew we needed to prioritize choosing an agency specific to higher education that could bring outside expertise and a big-picture knowledge of the industry to the table. We looked at the types of schools Carnegie Dartlet was working with and the results they had seen, along with the level of research that went into proposals and early discussions—and we knew Carnegie Dartlet was the partner Marian needed. We’re thrilled that this fall—even in the midst of the challenges of the pandemic—Marian saw record enrollment numbers University-wide and for our graduate and online programs specifically.

Strategies and direction

Early in our partnership, Marian ran layered digital campaigns with a focus on paid social and PPC while also incorporating Carnegie Clarity TM  to better engage our audiences through web personalization and custom interactions. We work with Carnegie Dartlet to promote the following programs:

  • Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Master of Arts in Teaching
  • Master of Science in Counseling
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice/Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Arts in Educational Leadership
  • Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences
  • Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership
  • Online Applied Behavior Analysis

Recently, we’ve implemented Gmail ads and LinkedIn InMail, which have already been generating strong leads for our programs. From a strategy and implementation standpoint, Carnegie Dartlet has been able to really zero in on who Marian is, who we need to target, and the best ways to do that. As just one example, for the past few years, we’ve struggled to meet our enrollment goals specific to the Counseling program. Carnegie Dartlet made some strong adjustments to strategically highlight that program earlier in the enrollment cycle, and this fall, we hit our enrollment cap for the first time.

Staying nimble and flexible

With Carnegie Dartlet, we love that we can go from budget year to budget year with flexibility instead of being locked into a long-term contract. In 2020, we’ve implemented some strategic short-term campaigns, and Carnegie Dartlet has given us data-driven recommendations to guide our approach. Having a partner that’s willing and able to be agile when we need to adapt has been so helpful. We’ve looked at and talked with other companies with minimum buy-ins, and we appreciate that Carnegie Dartlet is able to be nimble and flexible with our budget.

A partner that gets it

In this industry, we talk a lot about it being a “passion” thing. Having a digital advertising partner that “gets” and shares our passion for higher education makes us that much more confident about the campaigns we’re running and the expertise the team brings to the table. From general industry knowledge to specific insights about keywords we should target to strategies that might work well for us, our Carnegie Dartlet team is aware of what’s going on in the market and how we can continually improve. That back and forth and the ability to work through decisions together has been huge for Marian.
Kyle Hattenburg is the Director of Enrollment Management for the College of Osteopathic Medicine and Director of Graduate and Online Admission at Marian University.

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