My five-year-old son is obsessed with tape measures. If we’re in Home Depot, he begs me to buy him a new one. If we’re at home, he’s constantly measuring the couch, the table, a piece of paper, and most recently, his bicep. And as I found myself asking him, “Why do you feel the need to measure absolutely everything?” I realized he’s doing what so many of my conversations with enrollment and marketing offices are about: measuring everything.
When I ask the schools I work with why they’re doing what they’re doing to market to and recruit prospective students, for every “because it’s what we’ve always done” response I’d get a few years ago, I’m getting 10 “because it works and here’s why” responses today. And the reason for that? Data. And more importantly, timely data. The data that is available today—through a huge variety of sources—is enabling enrollment marketing professionals to see what’s working, while it’s working, and to make adjustments immediately. Plus, it helps to make and justify investment decisions in ways that weren’t possible in the past.
So how do you measure it all and look at things in a way that will tell the right story and take all of your efforts into consideration?
Many schools today are upgrading or asking more of their CRM systems, which is great. To be able to better track first source and any source data for enrollment numbers helps schools determine the resources that are doing what they need to do. This is often where a lot of those “because it’s what we’ve always done” responses start to change. In our world at Carnegie, we love it when schools are able to show us both the number of students that were 1st source results from PC&U magazine, as well as students who demonstrated stronger levels of interest and intent through PC&U.
And how about online initiatives? Click-through rates, view-through rates, conversion pixels, Facebook EdgeRank, SEO results, or engagement on mobile/tablet vs. desktop devices are just a few of the many pieces of measurement available with any online campaigns you may be running. But what tells the best and most comprehensive story? Your own Google Analytics. If consistent review of your Google Analytics isn’t already a part of your regular routine, it should be! With your website being the be-all, end-all for recruitment, how your pages are doing—for admission, majors, financial aid, your application—will tell the story. And the beautiful part is, this can apply to every piece of marketing you’re doing, from billboards to retargeting.
So get to know your measurement opportunities! From CRM systems to Google Analytics, for the geeks in us, this information is fun! And for the five year olds in us, it saves us having to have a heavy yellow tape measure clipped to our belts.