A Personal Note from our
Head of Marketing

You’re probably reading this because as someone who works in higher education, you know that higher education marketers, recruiters, and communications professionals are facing challenges that didn’t exist years ago. As pressures mount, leadership teams are doing everything they can to be as effective as possible while your teaching methods evolve, classrooms mobilize, strategies modernize, and departments continue to adapt.

By now, universities are already used to accomplishing remarkable things with smaller budgets, staff, and support. In higher education, limited resources are nothing new, and schools have become incredibly proficient at succeeding with limited resources.


So what exactly has changed?

Quite simply, your audiences have.


Sure, there are a countless number of obstacles that complicate and exacerbate the current dynamics. But without a doubt, the most significant change is not the marketing tech, fewer alumni giving, the shrinking applicant pools, or the decline in enrollment. Those are simply byproducts of the difference in your audience’s behavior and expectations.


The rules of engagement have changed, the way people communicate has changed and with it, the way you decide to innovate, must change.

The rules of engagement have changed, the way people communicate has changed and with it, the way you decide to innovate, must change.

Whether your focus is on students or alumni, the speed at which institutions can respond, adapt, and evolve to the ever-changing landscape isn’t the same as it was five years ago.


This challenge isn’t unique to higher education. Across industries and buyers, marketers are struggling to keep up with the new standards of a mobile-first, on-demand, omnichannel, personalized experience. Fierce competition, network effects, and a fragmented media landscape have only poured fuel on the fire.

Most schools have already accepted the fact that things will never be the same as before. A select group of top schools isn’t just accepting this — they’re fully embracing it.


Throughout this guide, we’ll walk you through various strategies, tactics, and examples, that some of the leading institutions have begun to leverage to stand out from the crowd.


Changes to come

From 2019 and beyond, the age of disruption will call for a new type of school to emerge: one that prioritizes relationships over rankings, programs over perks, and futures over funds. To do this, departments will need to work smarter, not harder. Campus leadership must fully accept that their audience’s behaviors, habits, and expectations will never be the same. That is one of the first necessary steps you should take to respond effectively. After all, it’s not all that hard to imagine how we found ourselves here.


Considering all the factors that have led to this change, it’s easy to see why things have turned out a certain way (i.e., debt crisis, completion rates, tuition costs, etc.). This is why your students and alumni yearn for more meaningful, authentic, and personalized experiences across their entire journeys.

To do this, departments will need to work smarter, not harder, and leadership must fully accept that their audience’s behaviors, habits, and expectations will never be the same.

At Foleon, we like to view this as a massive opportunity for schools to rise to the occasion, communicate with impact, and share stories that show what makes your school genuinely unique. From your audience’s perspective, the time to re-evaluate your communications plan was three years ago.


Both literally and figuratively, the answer to this challenge is not to do more but to do better. But how exactly?


Prioritize your audience’s needs and see the future of education marketing in the digital age for what it truly is: an opportunity to close the strategic gap. Technological advancements, data-driven insights, and a more agile, collaborative workflow will allow you to connect and engage with more people than ever before.


With change comes progress and growth so take advantage of it. Don’t shy away. For the first time, U.S. institutions have everything they need to drive meaningful change on a truly global scale.

I promise that if you do, there’s no telling what you can accomplish as a team, school and as an institutional brand.


So without further ado, I present to you The University Guide to More Engaging Content.


Cheers,

Dylan Niehoff

Head of Marketing at Foleon

Learn more about today’s digital-first environment and how it impacts the way higher education institutions communicate and create content.