I have a friend who’s a financial advisor, and over dinner recently, I was asking him how he makes investment decisions for his clients and why I can’t accomplish the same thing on one of those online investment sites. His answer was simple: “All day every day, I’m constantly evaluating the performance of the portfolios for our customer base as a whole, as well as each customer’s individually. So when we make decisions to change anything, it’s based on 2 layers – what we’re seeing as top performing investments across all of our clients, and what is performing best specific to your portfolio.”
Online Marketing within Higher Education should be approached the same way. Let’s say, for example, the company you’re working with for your online marketing strategies also works with other industries, like healthcare, or worse yet, Joe’s Pizza Shop downtown. If those companies are spending their time on campaigns and networks for those other areas, then that’s attention that’s not being given to what will work best for a college or university, or more importantly, your college or university. And, potentially most critical, that’s data and performance information that is not being developed to optimize your campaign.
And while any company can say they are going to dedicate loads of personal attention to your individual campaign, think again of my financial advisor friend. If he was solely making decisions off of the performance of that one client’s portfolio performance, he would be missing opportunities, as well as reacting too late to issues or losses. His ability to leverage the data and performance across all of the programs his company manages means he can be extremely proactive and optimize individual portfolios based on what they’re seeing across other similar client situations.
For Higher Education and Online Marketing, if a company is able to constantly see what sites, networks, geographies, demographics, etc. are performing best, and also align that based on type of school, program, or goal, then that is data that can be applied to individual campaigns along with what their individual measurements are telling them.
So what’s the point in all this? If I’m going to have my money managed for the future, I want it to be with someone who eats, sleeps, and breathes this stuff on a daily basis. And I want the expertise they’re gaining from their entire client base to be applied to my plan.
Here’s my nightmare…
Me: “Apple stock is up over $300 per share in 2 years and it’s never been discussed as something I should consider as part of portfolio.”
Financial Advisor: “Well, it was never in your portfolio so we weren’t measuring or evaluating Apple as part of your mix. But let me tell you, all of our other clients have been riding the Apple wave for 2 years and are making out like bandits!”
Here’s my dream…Rewinding 2 years…
Financial Advisor: “Mark, we’ve been reviewing the upcoming expectations for Apple and its performance in our other clients’ portfolios and are recommending we include it in your plan.”
Me: “Sounds good.”
That’s the type of relationship, insight, expertise, and proactive approach any school should have with whoever is managing and implementing their online marketing strategies. If not, my recommendation, don’t look up how AAPL is doing on the stock exchange. It will only upset you.